Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Following the logic

I'm a lot calmer about this whole "Revise 'til you drop" process today.  I had the revelation that Dr. Awesome -- and possibly Dr. Chair as well -- are pushing me to keep revising because, from their point of view, that's the only thing that could make sense.

Awesome, who has actually said to me that hir aim is to help me make my diss as good as possible, clearly did some simple math and decided that the schedule that Chair and I had worked out was unnecessarily stingy on pre-defense revision time.  I need to turn in the finished, polished, put-it-on-a-shelf-in-the-library-for-eternity version of my dissertation to Dear Old University by May 7, if I'm to graduate this May.  (And I will!)  Practically speaking, this means that I would have a full month for post-defense revisions even if I didn't defend until the first week of April.  As I gather, my profs generally think that revisions shouldn't take more than a month, if the diss were judged passable in the first place, so Awesome is thinking of the end of March or the beginning of April as the only reasonable time to defend.  Anything earlier, in hir view, would simply cheat me out of time that I could use to make as many improvements to the diss as possible -- after all, why take an unfixed problem to the defense if I already know what I need to do to fix it?

The question, then, is why Chair ever suggested that I should plan to send the defensible draft out to my committee around February 1.  Seriously, WTF?  It's not as though zi has no collegial contact with Awesome; Awesome, in fact, often stops by Chair's office while the latter and I are taking a diss conference, and teases me in a jinx-inducing way by calling me "Dr. Koshary."  (I actually begged hir not to jinx me that way, when zi did it this week.  Yes, superstitions are just one more symptom of dissertation madness.)  They talk to each other all the time, and, deference to the senior department member notwithstanding, it's hard to imagine that Awesome never brought up this matter with Chair.

So what's Chair's deal?  Is zi, as I have occasionally heard muttered by others, simply lazy, and thought that forcing an end to my pre-defense revisions would mean that zi had that much less work to do for a few months?  It's not out of the question, I must say.  But, the more I think about it, the more I suspect that Chair, who may be a trifle lazy but is not inclined to work against hir own interests, actually never meant for me to send the diss in February at all.  Rather, zi judged me (accurately) as suffering in the throes of dissertation madness, and believed that setting a specific date would give me something to hang onto.  Then, once I believed in my maddened state that I had finished revising, Chair could let Awesome break the news to me that I have to keep on working until Awesome thinks I'm ready.

Fiendish in its simplicity, really.

At any rate, I've now accepted the fact that Awesome has no reason to let me stop smithing the dissertation until the end of February at the least.  And once Awesome is satisfied that I'm ready, Chair will be satisfied as well.

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