What a difference a few hours makes!
Woo-hoo! Not only did I manage to think Big Thoughts about my dissertation, but I actually got that excited feeling about it again! You see, here's the thing. One of my questions involves comparing a traditional method to a new-ish method, to see how they each perform under a range of reasonable conditions. The new-ish method is becoming kind of trendy, and more and more people are using it, without necessarily fully understanding what it's doing and/or what its limitations are. So my comparison is actually really interesting, and, potentially, quite the contribution to the field (if I do say so myself). But I've spent that past month bogged down in getting my simulations to run, and then going blind transcribing the results of the simulations into tables, and then blinder trying to figure out how to organize the tables to look for any kind of pattern that might tell a story about the performance of the two methods. And none of that is really all that fun or interesting. And I had been putting off stepping back and looking at the whole thing for fear that it would just implode and I would discover that either a) my simulations were giving me nonsensical results, and I had made some fatal coding error somewhere (hello imposter syndrome!) or b) that there simply wasn't a nice coherent story to tell (there still may not be). But lo and behold, I finally did suck it up this afternoon and take that step back, and I do see something, and it's not only interesting but exciting! I could jump up and down and do the happy dance!
Just as I was telling AWB the other night - grad school is really just veering between feeling totally on top of things and sheer panic.