Saturday, March 24, 2007

a little better

Yesterday I ran into a wonderful friend of mine (who is a college professor) when I was going for sushi with my husband. We talked about our work and I felt a little bit better hearing that my problems aren't so uniquely crazy.

It's really that when I sit down to work, I just don't want to do it. I feel all panicky and whiny about it. I joked with Jesse that I was going to start doing my whining out loud so I could hear how ridiculous it was and get tired of myself: "I don't want to do my dissertation! I hate this! I should be done by now! I'm never going to finish! Why is this so hard? I wish this was over!" Yeah, it's really great, listening to that inside my head all the time.

Something must have worked because I woke up this morning (a Saturday) at 5:45 a.m. with an urge to work on my dissertation, so I got up and did about an hour of my data analysis work. Not bad. I really think that the software (nVivo) that I'm using is clunky and poorly designed. I might enjoy this a little more if the program wasn't so annoying. But that's another whiny thought. It's just a tool, maybe not an ideal one, but it's better than nothing. I did do some writing in my research log too and I could barely type fast enough to keep up with my thoughts.

I went to Spinning class today and it felt good because it was so intense that I couldn't think about much while I was doing it. Then I ran into another professor acquaintance (yeah, that's what happens when you live in a college town) who asked how things were going. I told him, "I am not really enjoying this project right now and I'm wondering if this is really what I want to do for a living." After all, research is part of the deal for professors. But he said, "That's totally normal, everyone feels that way sometimes." And I instantly felt better. One thing I keep forgetting is that I'm doing this research in my home in addition to a job (even if it's just a part-time one) and a very busy personal life. If I do get a college teaching job, I will have an office where I can do my own work (right now if I go to my office I could get asked to do work for my assistantship, and home has all the distractions of home), and the research will be part of my job. So maybe it won't be as hectic. For a while I was considering running away to join the circus again...

I think part of what helped yesterday was watching some seriously dumb TV. I saw two different episodes of "The Simpsons," including one with the following quote:
Bart:"That movie was so boring I cut the ponytail off the guy in front of me. Look at me, I'm a grad student! I made $600 last year!"
Marge: "Don't make fun of grad students, Bart. They just made a terrible life choice!"
It made me laugh at myself because that's kind of what I've been thinking about myself: "I'm a loser, I'm making no money, what if I do this all and end up with nothing to show for it?" Yeah, whatever. I'm going to get the dissertation done and get my degree, even if I end up working at Starbucks -- that's Dr. Barista to you.

1 comment:

  1. Ha! I spent part of my weekend at an information meeting for a PhD program I am considering. I swore after my Masters thesis that I would never do that kind of crap again... how quickly we forget the pain! Must be like childbirth.

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