Mascot for #DevilDiss

Mascot for #DevilDiss
Mascot for #DevilDiss

Thursday, July 31, 2014

What I Did On My Summer Vacation: PhD Student Edition

This summer, I had a lot on my To Do list:
  • Complete comp reading for Methodology/Folklore, Middle English, and Early Modern
  • Revise dissertation prospectus to reflect comp reading
  • Revise Virgin Mary and Devil article and submit
  • Turn Grimm and La Llorona conference paper into journal article about translation in television
  • Expand Captain America article for Sequart into book chapter on Captain America as working class hero
  • Start dissertation
    • pull close reading passages and analyze (Round 1)
    • historicize these readings (Round 2)
    • add in other scholarship, both responses to, and footnotes (Round 3)
Given that tomorrow is the 1 August, and that my university obligations start 12 August, it seemed like a good time to stop and take a moment to reflect on "What I Did On My Summer Vacation."

I completed all of my comp reading for all three areas I am testing in, and notified committee members as well as sent them revised copies of my prospectus. I had a meeting with one of my committee members, and I feel pretty good about it.
I have pulled most of my close readings for my dissertation and have started the analysis, waiting on just a few ILL to finish Round 1. Have also started to pull scholarship for my dissertation (in addition to what I had on my comp reading list). I have a filing box that I'm using to keep track of primary and secondary sources.

The dissertation is up to 47 pages as of yesterday, and I've identified sub-headings, ways to organize my chapters, so I'm feeling good about that. As of today, I continue to be on track for my five pages a day progress on the dissertation.
I have not made as much progress on my other writing goals this summer, but have blocked out the weekends in August to get these things done, so hopefully by the end of August all of this will be finished as well.
I'm finishing my course work this semester, and it's just three classes, so my schedule is pretty light (plus teaching two). I also have nothing scheduled on Friday, so I'm setting Friday aside for dissertation writing.
So, here's the plan for the next year:
  • This fall, other than courses, and tweaking the dissertation drafts from this summer, I don't have a whole lot of writing on my plate, so I've scheduled time to work on my Revising Milton book project. 
    • While Palgrave liked the proposal, they won't publish it because/until I have a terminal degree. However, I've decided to write the book as I had scheduled this year because this will be a "light" year (before heavy revision mode for dissertation), and that means that it will be finished and ready to resubmit to them in May 2016 upon graduation.
  • I comp in February. I should know results by the first week in March if not earlier. 
  • I plan on defending my prospectus as soon after that as I can schedule (March?).
  • As soon as the prospectus defense is done, I want to have first complete drafts of CH 1, 2, 3 of the dissertation to give to committee members (April at the latest).
  • I've applied to present at both Medieval Academy and Kalamazoo. My focus this year is medieval specific conferences, and next year the focus will be on early modern as prep for the job market.
  • By the end of spring semester 2015, have second drafts to committee members based on their feedback.
    • Spend summer working on revisions from that, as well as revising the introduction, and writing the conclusion.
    • Also spend summer prepping job market materials for applications in the fall

So that's been the work portion of my summer.
I wanted to be able to go home and visit Dad, but it's $1500 to drive home and back, and I just can't afford it. Nehi and I have spent a fair amount of time playing and hanging out. And I've upped my routines to focus on a healthier lifestyle.
I think it's been a productive summer all the way around, and I think I've accomplished  lot. I think too that a big reason WHY I've been able to accomplish so much is because of my planning.

I know a lot of people encourage time off from work during the summer, and I agree. Everyone needs time to recharge. But I'm on a tight schedule, and want to make sure I'm in a good position next fall for the job market, so I'm pushing it.
I hope everyone had a great summer, and is excited about the start to their new semester!

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