Thursday, May 12, 2005


I wasn't able to dial-up until late last night, so I didn't bother blogging. My entry wouldn't have been too exciting anyway... something along the lines of (a) a truck knocked out an emergency pole and a fire hydrant, tying up traffic on my way home (and forcing me to walk out on the street, since there was a very large tow truck on the sidewalk), (b) I did a few more rows of Weasley, the back of which is now at 29 cm, (c) Josie's socks are nearly done, and (d) I hate silly "milestones".

I'll expand on (d), since it's ongoing this morning. Basically, I got a "friendly" e-mail reminder the other day that I should be checking off some milestones for my PhD, since I'm way behind. Background on that: when J first came here, he was never worried about milestones, and kept telling me not to worry... I couldn't convince him this wasn't a good attitude for this university, but he's recently come to this revelation. No, the e-mail wasn't from J... I'm behind enough on my milestones that I got an official e-mail. However, I'm not as behind as my milestones make me appear... most just need a tiny little bit more before they get checked off.

Like the one I was suggested to check off... a "simple" meeting with three or more potential committee members to discuss what would make a nice dissertation. What have I done in this regard? Well, I've met with several people individually, and actually started said dissertation. This meeting isn't really a big deal. What's holding me up with having this meeting? Finding a time where three or more of my committee members can meet simultaneously. Effectively, checking off this milestone doesn't mean that I have a better idea of what my dissertation is... it means I'm a scheduling genius. Now, if I were smart, I'd realize this is a sign that I should find committee members that are easier to track down, but I'd rather have people who have a clue what I'm talking about. That means including a well-known, frequent-travelling professor from the next town over, and a math professor who doesn't read his e-mail, and apparently ignores phone calls too. I'm seriously having second thoughts about the math professor... he's interested in my area, but perhaps one, while less interested, who actually reads his e-mail, would be a better choice. There are several great people in other states/countries who would be perfect for my committee... but I'm *not* going there. Well, the last two (besides my advisor) aren't that hard to get ahold of, but they're also the ones least appropriate for my committee... is this really the meeting I want to have? Well, if I do, it has to be today... because one of them is leaving for an extended period starting Saturday, and tomorrow is the faculty retreat. *sigh* However, the other doesn't seem to have gotten the e-mail I sent last night (after finally managing to talk to the one leaving), and so I guess this meeting isn't going to happen.

And the department wonders why I'm not checking off milestones.

There are several other milestones just like that... I've basically got them done, except for one silly little snag. And summer is not a good time for completing milestones that require contact with professors. *sigh*

If only the end of term hadn't snuck up on me... J and I had been putting off some of these little ones in the hopes I'd have my proposal ready, and could conquer a bunch of these milestones with one fell swoop. The proposal is getting there, but not quite done. J wants it to be my literature review as well, so I've got a bunch of math-heavy papers to finish reading. (I *like* these papers, really I do, but they're slow going.)

So that's where I am this morning. Trying to find a third professor, on the chance we can meet today. Plus trying to finish up my proposal... J thinks if we're dragging the Duke prof over here, it should be for something better than a 3+ person meeting, and suggests we make it an informal proposal meeting. (Aren't I supposed to have all 5 for the proposal? I don't think his plan is going to hold water... the dates the Duke prof gave me don't work for the prof who's leaving soon. And will an "informal proposal" fly with my other committee members? And department? Blargh.)


Pam said...

I remember trying to schedule my defense for my master's dissertation. Chaos! Luckily, one prof bowed out for the greater good and just read it and sent me his comments. Or I may never have graduated!

Wishing you much luck with the scheduling and the rest of the milestones.

noricum said...

Thanks! I could see scheduling meetings for the proposal, orals, and defense are a big deal, but all I want is a stupid little three person meeting! Sheesh. :P