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Coming Up For Air


My school year is OVER!

I had a really big push right at the end there. I spent May lost deep in La Dissertation, but I have emerged with the fourth chapter written. If anyone's still keeping count, this means that I have first drafts for four out of five body chapters. This summer, I'll write the fifth chapter, which means I'll start the next school year with the bulk of the argument written. Fall quarter, I write the introduction and conclusion. Winter quarter, I edit the whole thing. I defend sometime around Spring Break. Which means . . . I could be graduating this time next year! A year from now, I could very well be Dr. Pony! Head for the hills, now!

After finishing my chapter, I prepared a précis of the dissertation for the Marty Seminar. The end of the Marty Seminar is this two-day event that we just finished, in which the Marty Center acquires some Professionals (that is to say, people who are in The Professions, but not necessarily dedicated academics) who have time in their busy lives to listen to graduate students, and we present our dissertation précisises* and we get about half an hour to forty minutes of animated discussion with the Professionals and half of the other Junior Fellows. That was a fun event. My Professionals really liked my project.

La Dissertation has come a long way this year. In addition to now having four chapters, it has an actual shape, and I can tell you what it will look like when it's done and almost what the main argument is. It's exciting, and a little scary. But mostly exciting.

*Or whatever the plural of précis is.


( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 8th, 2012 07:25 am (UTC)
Wow. It's FP! Hello :-)

It's good to hear things have been going so well. Are you tired from working so hard??
Jun. 8th, 2012 11:34 am (UTC)
You bet I'm tired! Got home from school yesterday, had lunch, and flopped down on the sofa to pass out for a few hours. I'm now enjoying a few days of being completely useless before I head out for fieldwork, family, and a wedding.

By the way, Nefarious Plans are afoot that may or may not involve your neck of the woods. Watch this space.
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 8th, 2012 11:36 am (UTC)
Dr. Pony! It's getting so close! I can feel it.

I like the schedule. I think it's realistic, it keeps me from getting caught in the trap of endlessly obsessing about one single chapter, and it gives me a real sense of accomplishment when I finish another bit On Schedule.

Mom Pony tells me I just have a knack for picking projects that people think are interesting. Let's hope I retain this knack going onwards.
Jun. 8th, 2012 10:53 am (UTC)
\o/ Wonderful!

By the way, I wrote a drabble that features some of the lyrics from Green Street.

Jun. 8th, 2012 11:42 am (UTC)
I can just imagine the grin on Merlin's face, that slightly manic one that you get when you're right in the middle of a high-energy singing, and then someone calls Green Street and leads it at a really really good clip. (Does he get his hair curled in later seasons, though? I thought it was straight.)

Also, is Charlottesville near any of your singings?
Jun. 8th, 2012 12:38 pm (UTC)
:) Yes, he definitely had a big smile on his face in this scene.

Sooo, Colin's hair has a bit of curl to it, especially when it's longer. Unfortunately, they crop his hair so short, we never see it like that on the show. This is my fantasy:)

Er, Charlottesville is not very close. It's a two hour drive to Berryville. Slightly longer to get to Vienna. Are you going to be in Charlottesville? Note that we only sing with the Berryville group:D
Jun. 8th, 2012 01:28 pm (UTC)
Actually, it's Little Sister Pony who's moving the Charlottesville -- she'll be getting her Ph.D in nursing at UVA. I'm scoping out singings in the area for when I go to visit her.
Jun. 8th, 2012 01:43 pm (UTC)
Oh! In that case... how do you feel about a two hour drive for a sing? I think there are people who sing in Berryville who come from Charlottesville. Let me know and I can see what I can do to hook you up with a ride. We sing in Berryville on the first Sat of the month, except in Jan, Aug, and April.
Jun. 8th, 2012 01:47 pm (UTC)
I'll let you know. Little Sister Pony moves down there in August, so it'll be sometime after then when I first get a chance to visit.
Jun. 8th, 2012 01:53 pm (UTC)
Ok. Sounds good!
Jun. 8th, 2012 11:21 am (UTC)
Congratulations, FP. You have done so much work and are making such good progress.
Jun. 8th, 2012 11:39 am (UTC)
I think it helps to have a realistic schedule. And also, I got some great advice from one of my friends (she's a linguist; you'd like her) who has a relative who's a medical doctor. He told her: In order to cure disease, the first thing you need to have is the patient. Meaning that you can't edit and shape up a dissertation until there's a first draft to edit. That makes it easy to write like I'm doing, which is to slap down a first draft, acknowledge that it will need editing, and then put it away to be edited later, so that I can go on and write another first draft. Editing is always easier than writing.
Jun. 8th, 2012 11:42 am (UTC)
You go girl! I'm impressed. You are really moving along steadily (which so many people don't do, and thus they never finish) and you are reading at conferences and so forth. You are going to be in such a good position in the job search! And I know seeing the light at the end of the tunnel feels so good.
Jun. 8th, 2012 11:52 am (UTC)
I really don't want to end up like those people who are still writing their dissertations ten years later! Much as I love where I live, I want to graduate and move on. I've got a friend who's mired in the Eternal Dissertation, and I do not want to end up all bitter and negative like her.

My department also thinks I can finish next year, and they've set up my money to help me do that. No classes, a grant from an endowed fund, and a light Research Assistant position for next spring for a bit of extra spending money.

Dad Pony says that when I go on the job market (this summer, eeek!) I shouldn't worry about the competition, because I will BE the competition. I like the way he thinks. After all, I've got a speedy dissertation, lots of conference papers, teaching experience at two schools, an Invited Talk, and I did publish a book review. Okay, it was an online graduate student journal, and it's pretty much circling the drain, but it's totally accessible, and you can read it.

The review, that is. The book was pretty terrible. I asked the journal editor if I couldn't, please please please pretty please with whipped cream and a cherry on top, just this once break academic protocol and say with complete honesty that the author of the book was a total douchebag. Which he is. I looked up his other work to check. The editor agreed with me that there should be some way to call people douchebags in academic work, but he didn't want to use the word in his journal. Although he also agreed that this guy was, in fact, a douchebag.
Jun. 8th, 2012 12:40 pm (UTC)
You are the competition, indeed! I agree with your dad and others.
Jun. 8th, 2012 01:29 pm (UTC)
Let's hope that potential employers agree as well!
Jun. 8th, 2012 01:33 pm (UTC)
The editor agreed with me that there should be some way to call people douchebags in academic work, but he didn't want to use the word in his journal.

ROTFLMAO!!! Too right. I quit writing the things because so often there is just no way to properly convey what really needs to be said. Which is to say, exactly what you just said above. :-)

And I agree with DadPony.
Jun. 8th, 2012 01:41 pm (UTC)
There were several times while reading that book that I nearly threw it against the wall. And I rarely feel that way about books, especially books that are on topics that I think are really interesting and start out really well. But this one just went downhill so, so quickly after that. Sigh. I think it was Chapter Three, when he started using social theory that's older than I am to describe how Jews and African-Americans are "uncivil," as opposed to WASPs being "civil" without bothering to unpack the very specialized definitions of these terms that he was using that really made me want to throw the book.

Start telling your employers now that they really need an ethnomusicologist in their lives. I'll be ready this time next year.
Jun. 9th, 2012 09:39 am (UTC)
congratulations! Sounds like a tonof work's been done and things are progressing nicely. You now deserve a break. Any plans?
Jun. 9th, 2012 12:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I feel like I've accomplished something big this year. I feel like I've turned a major corner, and I can see the shiny, tempting image of a real dissertation in my future, not just a cute little collection of essays.

Immediate future plans include singing, going to the cantors' conference, lazing around with the Pony Family, going to a wedding, and more lazing around with the Pony Family, before I buckle down and write the fifth chapter over the summer.
Jun. 9th, 2012 11:37 am (UTC)
On the plural of precis: it's also precis. Ain't Latin grand?

w00t!!! on the dissertation progress. DFP has a nice ring to it. What are you writing on? (I fee like I should know, but I don't...)
Jun. 9th, 2012 12:59 pm (UTC)
Precis, moose, sheep. All of them have something in common, but one of these words is not like the other ones . . . I always thought "précis" was French, because of the little accent.

Dr. Pony will be a lovely thing for me to be next year

I'm writing about women cantors in non-Orthodox Judaism.
Jun. 9th, 2012 01:04 pm (UTC)
It is Latin (I just double-checked). But I have an etymology friend with this theory that a lot of identical signular/plural nouns that you see in French, Italian and other Romance language comes from the fact that in Latin the singular/plural endings sound really similar to each other. And he's right; it's quite often for nouns ending in -is to be -es for the plural.

Congrats on the dissertation progress once again!
Jun. 9th, 2012 01:09 pm (UTC)
Huh. Look at that. You learn something new every day. Are there other Latin words with the little accent, or was that something that the French put on it to make a Latin word look Frencher?
Jun. 9th, 2012 01:49 pm (UTC)

I'm afraid the only thing you learned today (at least from me) was that I need to proof my comments before submitting them! I've had a very hard time lately getting the clear thoughts in my head into clear thoughts on paper (or screen).

I meant to say that precis is French, and that I had double-checked it just before commenting. The Latin comment was because (as I was trying to explain) in my mind many of the nouns where the plural is the same as the singular is that because in Latin the two sounded very similar. Sorry for all the confusion!

Latin does have accents, definitely, but it's usually on the suffix. I can't think of any offhand that have an accented root. I wouldn't be surprised, though.
Jun. 9th, 2012 04:29 pm (UTC)
Ah. Makes more sense now. Cool!
Jun. 9th, 2012 11:53 am (UTC)
Go you! Take some time off and enjoy the summer.
Jun. 9th, 2012 01:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I have some fun things coming up, including a singalong/DIY of Bach's B Minor Mass in Oak Park. And I get to go to the cantors' conference in Boston, which is technically work, but which is also a lot of fun. And then my best friend is getting married, and I'm getting all excited for the Wedding of the Century. And Little Sister Pony wanted the whole family all together over the Fourth of July for fireworks and strawberry picking, and she twisted my arm to stay on the East Coast a little longer for that -- not that she had to twist my arm very far -- so I'm having a real little vacation in the end.
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )