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.