Friday, November 17, 2006

Write this down: Monday, December 18 at noon

Finally. FINALLY. I have set a date for my thesis defense.

You can write this one in ink on your calendars. “Monday, December 18 at noon.” If you happen to be in the Cleveland area, feel free to drop by. It is a public presentation so hop up on caffeine and bring snacks to keep yourself awake.

“But Lil’ Kate, you said you wanted Friday, December 15. What’s the deal?”

I’ll tell you: getting the important people in my life to agree on a date is like herding kittens.

I floated the idea of the 15th to my parents. They said that or the 14th would work best for them as they can’t take off much time from work. They laid on the guilt pretty thick about choosing a later date, saying they’d miss the presentation, but could make it to help me move. My Mom’s a lapsed Catholic, but she’s retained the guilt-trip-giving talent. *Complete* with choking up.

So, I floated the idea to my committee only to be told that it would be “impossible” to have it on the 15th due to the Holiday Party (now scheduled in the online calendar for 9am-5pm). I countered with “Alright. How about the 14th then?” Half of my committee members got back to me within 15 minutes saying they will be out of town. My committee chair will be out of town the 8-14th so that eliminates moving it up to the 13th.

Shit. We have to try a later date. Now Mom will let the tears flow.

I called her up and she pulled a complete 180 on me. “Oh no, Honey, don’t stress about it. The important thing is that you graduate. We’ll work something out. You just don’t worry about us.” Now the creative problem solving gears start to turn and she and my stepdad start cooking up convoluted schemes involving moving and attending my defense.

Um, excuse me? Who is this? Where am I? All of a sudden you’re flexible and accommodating?

You make me crazy. Make that “crazier” than I already am.

So I float the idea of the 18th to my committee members. Three of them get back to me right away. The fourth – I don’t know what his excuse was. I waited 24 hours to call his office – which he was in, he answered on the first ring – only to have him say the 18th was fine. If you’re sitting at your desk, next to your phone, at your computer, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT’S HOLY, email me back. It literally takes 5 seconds to hit reply, type “Fine” and hit send.

OK. Great. We’re settled. I called up the department administrator and reserved the conference room for 4 hours (about 1.5 hours for my actual talk, and the rest for me meeting with my committee privately).

Now I have to get my title approved by my boss and then I can get the fliers printed up and my paperwork filled out for the Grad Studies office.

In retrospect I’m a little glad that my defense got pushed back a few days because now my boss has changed his mind yet again and I have *more* experiments to do for my paper. I think when I tell him “I feel overwhelmed and I really need to wrap up doing experiments so that I can focus on my thesis,” he thinks I’m overreacting. “You’re a good writer, you’ll be fine,” he says to console me. If I’m such a good writer, why does he rewrite my papers? I’m glad he is complimentary, but he doesn’t take into account that it takes me a long time to get my writing to the “good” stage. It doesn’t come easily to me. I’m way better at editing/revising other people’s work. Hands down.

Anyway, that’s where things stand as of this minute. I’m feeling simultaneously relieved and overwhelmed.

I’d like to go home now and take a nap.

5 Comments:

Blogger mistressbionerd said...

The Big D is seriously making you do more experiments?! Less than a month before you defend?! Why am I surprised, but I still am. Still, Hooray!! I'd actually like to see your defense as I was a part of that group for some time. Not sure if I can swing it with work, but I would like to try. I hope the next few weeks are as stress-free as possible.

7:53 AM  
Blogger Lil Kate said...

I would love to see you there, but I totally understand if you can't swing it with work.

9:20 AM  
Blogger Chris B. said...

I'd like to submit a few titles. You know, just some starting places.

8:52 PM  
Blogger Lil Kate said...

Alright, Chris. What do you have in mind?

5:41 AM  
Blogger Chris B. said...

Nothing of note.

I am -- if you will pardon the reference forward in your blog -- shooting blanks.

1:29 PM  

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