Theese Sleep Eat Drink Dream

Yes, I know that's now how you would reformulate "thesis" into a verb, but I needed to differentiate it from "these."

I'm chugging along on thesis; it's a frustratingly slow exercise, day in and day out. I am not working incredibly long hours on it--it feels like I only have a certain number of productive hours in me over a day, and the rest gets swallowed up by idle time, staring blankly at the screen, web surfing, and, say, cleaning the toaster oven. And some days end of being almost total write-offs.

But it often feels like it's all I'm doing. It's just getting a bit repetitive to wake up every day, walk from my bedroom into the kitchen, power up the laptop, and pick up from the previous night's work. I guess it doesn't help that it is generally cold, dark, cloudy, rainy, and soul-sucking outside now:

Cloudy. 60 percent chance of rain showers or wet flurries early this evening. Rain beginning this evening except snow over higher terrain. Rainfall amount 10 to 15 mm. Low plus 4. 80 percent chance of suckage.

I have gotten through a pretty big milestone though: I have finished my introduction/background/literature review section. This was probably by far the most excruciating chapter: by collating other people's information, it's a constant back-and-forth between write two paragraphs... recheck reference... . From now on, I'm going to be writing about my work, which--hey--I actually know a fair amount about. I've been writing appendices of secondary research projects concurrently; considering how fast that writing went, I think the future chapters are going to be a lot less painful.

So that's the good news. The bad news is that I am now officially seven weeks behind my orginal schedule, and have seven weeks left. I really don't think that finishing by the December 15th deadline is possible. I need to go talk to the department secretary, to make sure that my exit strategy of leaving for Boston in January will work out like I am planning.

Unfortunately, speaking of exit strategies and the Powell Doctrine, I unfortunately think my thesis is suffering from mission creep. Recent masters' theses from my research group have been on the order of 150 pages, including appendices, references, filler, and meat by-products. I already have about 60 pages of background and literature search, and 30 pages of appendices, and I have not yet started writing about my actual experiments. I don't think I'm padding my work: all I was basically doing was writing down the necessary background, in the detail I thought I was appropriate. Then again, my advisor was a serious overachiever and had a 400 page master's, so he did not have any complaints about the scope of my work.

I think that finishing at the end of February or so will work out well. I need to earmark the first two weeks of January to writing a conference paper (due on the 15th). Then, hopefully, a brief celebration at Jofish's party in Ithaca. Then back to packing and getting out of the country before my study permit runs out. Possibly a trip to Chicago in that mix, to decommission my field experiment.


At 5:52 PM, Blogger dan said...

There is a tiny part of me that wants to suggest that the difference between a very large master's thesis and a PhD thesis is not large.

There. I said it.

You're always welcome to stay here. (You're also welcome to these in front of our fireplace.)

But you might get dragged into some of the winter painting if you're here in January.

At 7:41 PM, Blogger Bats said...

There is a tiny part of me that wants to suggest that the difference between a very large master's thesis and a PhD thesis is not large.

Well, yeah, the thought had crossed my mind as well. ;) Then again, that would require another three classes, and I'd be hard-pressed to find two that actually would be relevant and useful to me.

Thanks for the offer of hospitality--I might take you up on it later this week. The 1000W electric heater I have pointed at my lap keeps me warm, but sounds nowhere near as nice for the soul as a fireplace.

At 9:15 PM, Anonymous Christy said...

For that matter, you're welcome to come crash here for a while and theeeeeeese. It's 80 and sunny, so might make you a bit perkier and more likely to get some work done.

At 4:51 PM, Anonymous aj said...

Just three classes, Bats?

Jeez, you've already put this much into it...

[This from the chick who's struggling with paper #3, discussing experimental strategy for paper #4 on the horizon, and not, repeat not, going back to grad school. go fig.]

At 4:52 PM, Anonymous aj said...

[ps-- great, thanks, now I have to go home & have a Thrak attack]

At 12:29 AM, Blogger Bats said...

[ps-- great, thanks, now I have to go home & have a Thrak attack]

Yay! Thanks for rewarding/indulging my prog rock geekery.


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