I had a phone conversation with my adviser recently. Now, I'm glad I left Madison to move to The Buff to work on the Diss (and develop a life), but when the academic year starts--even as I start teaching myself--I usually feel a PANG of sadness that I won't be traipsing all over campus lugging my backpack, starting new and interesting classes, and being in the hubbub of it all. Madison's campus is really really really cool, and even though it's a huge school (40,000+ students), I found my little community, nooks, patterns. Life long learner, for sure.
I am fortunate to have the adviser that I do. I have heard many many horror stories about other people in the Diss stage who struggle with many problems with advisers besides their own writing and progress. I do not have that, and am very grateful. What I DO have, however, is a "date" for completion of my Dissertation: April 2010. That timetable feels like an eternity and a snap-of-the-fingers at the same time. I will be turning 39 that May, my son will be 10. It sounds like a good year to wrap this whole sha-bang up and move into my 40s, start another chapter (ha ha), close the decade with one helluva graduation party (Bounce House for adults?).
So, Monday when my son steps onto the bus, I am planning on beginning my Diss schedule. Because I have to. In my mind, if I don't complete this friggin' book by April 2010, I will never be able to face the next decade with any dignity. Having this target date--and telling people about it so they will check up on me (hint, hint)--is very healthy for me. I'm good with tasks. It's just that this one, this Diss, is a challenge like I've had never before. Exciting and scary. Unfathomable and invigorating. Nebulous yet clear.
Anyway, the date looming ahead has reinvigorated my Diss energy. I'm visiting Madison in 3 weeks just to absorb some academic vibes and meet with my adviser and some friends. Some PhD ju-ju, so to say. By then, I will contact all Diss committee members and secure their involvement, revise/finish my Intro chapter (gulp) and rework and add to my Chapter 2. These things will get submitted to my advisor by Oct. 1. My other committee members will get the Intro/Prospectus chapter. Then, it's all up to me. Gulp.
ANYWAY, my son steps on the bus at 8:25 Monday morning. Coffee will be made and office will be organized. The Chair will be ready. I will be ready. 8:30-----showtime. Let the games begin!