On my way

Well, I’m on my way back to grad school city for my defense.  I want to crawl in a hole and hide.  Seriously.  I can’t shake the feeling I’m not going to pass and that’s really going to be embarassing since everyone keeps telling me that everyone passes.  Nothing anyone says helps.  I know it’s illogical, but I can’t stop thinking it.

I sent my thesis to my committee and already they have comments.  The intro is not broad enough, they say.  And they want more in the future directions.  Oy.  I feel as though this is not a good sign.  I think the problem is that they are thinking about this thiesis in terms of me having about a year to write it.  But, what they are not considering is that I spent a lot of that time curled up in a ball on my bed.  Depression will do that to you.

So, here I am, nervous, thinking about what to add to my thesis, hoping my defense talk doesn’t suck too much (though I’m going to have a practice talk tomorrow which will hopefully help the talk).  All this last week, I’ve been on the verge of calling up my committee and saying, “Never mind, I can’t do this, sorry.”  I don’t really feel a sense of anxiety, just dread.

Oh, and I just realized I forgot to pack the DNA scarf for my advisor.  Fortunately, Husband is arriving later in the week so I can ask him to bring it!


10 thoughts on “On my way

  1. I had to add a whole section in the intro of my discussion. They are trying to help you write the best thing you can, because their names are on it as well.

    After this week, it will be done, and you will only have little niggly things to deal with. It will be a load off of your back.

    As a once medicated PhD student, stuff suddenly lifted for me when I was done (to be quickly replaced by a job hunt). It will be a release, and you can do it.

    I’ll be thinking of you this week!

  2. I don’t think your committe or advisor would let you schedule a defense if they didn’t think you would make it. They will definitely have changes (I had massive rewrites and a friend had to recalculate a bunch of stats) but overall I think they will be impressed with the effort and supportive of you. We all are!

  3. Girl, I hear you. Curled up on the bed, not writing a word? Check and check. That you have gotten to the defense stage is huge. I know it doesn’t make the defense seem easier to face, but I just want to say that I admire how you’ve persevered.

    I’ve had to put off my defense at least another semester because (surprise!) a lot of depression-related hell got in the way. I still kept writing through this year, but my confusion showed up in my writing (which happened to be about the things I’ve been depressed about). My committee called me on it too. They made comments in the preliminary read of some chapters that made it clear they had rewrite-sized critiques. But they were still supportive of the endeavor overall. Hence their being fine with my taking extra time (a mutual decision). Most importantly, they wouldn’t have let me defend if I’d asked to. I don’t think your advisor would have you go all the way out to campus to tell you they didn’t want to pass you.

    Hang in there. I’m pulling for you from my little corner, for what it’s worth.

  4. Good luck! Everyone I know (and who has defended) has had to revise their thesis. I thought that’s just how it goes? In any case, it seems to me that broadening the Intro and adding more future directions are not the hardest thing to do! It’s not as they think your research is fundamentally flawed or anything…

  5. Probably just adding to the unhelpful comments that people are making,so feel free to ignore, but I remember the dread you are describing. An hour before my defense, I seriously considered just staying in my apartment and not going. It had been a good idea to have my husband be in town (we lived apart at the time) and escort me to the defense or I don’t think I would have actually showed. In retrospect, I am glad it was so hard, because it made me feel like I accomplished something. Everybody says that your committee wouldn’t let you schedule it unless they thought you would pass, and so in some ways, the whole thing will be rather anticlimactic on the day. Some people will be like, well, of course you passed, was there ever really any doubt??? But all this doubt and dread and anxiety and the how-hard-it-all-really-is, even at this very late stage after so much of the hardest work is long behind you, is what makes it so exciting. The bad you are feeling right now will flip into great jubilation!!! GOOOOD LUCK! We are all rooting for you in this last lap! My practical advice for the no fun part of revisions: Take at least a day to celebrate before you dive into revisions, and then try to cram them all in within the two weeks after your defense…and enjoy walking! those medieval velvet robes are a trip 🙂 try to get someone else to iron them for you….

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  8. Defense time! Yahoo.

    They never consider the rolled in a ball time. But they also aren’t thinking about “you had a year” either. To the committee, a thesis is a thesis. They have no real sense of how long it should take to produce a thesis. They’ve seen worse done in longer periods of time and vice versa. From their point of view, the vagaries of student productivity are a deep mystery. They deeply and sincerely don’t care how long it took, only that you are here now.

    If I were you, I would focus on making the thesis what you want it to be. The defense is ephemeral. But your thesis is permanent. Focus on making it something that you can be proud of. Take the committee’s help here.

    It is very impressive that you managed to get yourself here, despite everything.

  9. I will be thinking of you. I have no doubt things will go your way now and over time. Take good care.

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