succumbing to peer pressure

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Letting Go

Or, more accurately, my complete failure to do so.

I sent my dissertation to my committee today. We're trying to find a day the first week of February when we can all be in the same room at the same time to discuss whether or not they agree that I'm finished. Inevitably, that discussion will result in a bit more work, but realistically, it will (probably, hopefully) only be a little. Also realistically, in the meantime, I cannot do any more work on my dissertation.

And yet. And yet I cannot relax. Typically with big projects I get a sense of when they're done. I know nothing is quite like a dissertation, but even with vaguely similar large, stressful projects (studying for quals, taking quals, submitting papers, applying for fellowships) I know when I'm done. I get this satisfying, settled feeling and I know even if the thing isn't perfect, it is as good as it's going to get, and I'm able to stop mentally picking at it.

I cannot stop mentally picking at my dissertation. Every night I lie in bed and have to re-convince myself that the thing isn't crap, and that the odds of one of my committee members unearthing some fatal flaw, or some embarassing mistake, are relatively low.

I've read the thing beginning to end, and I don't hate it. But I don't love it either. More importantly, I'm not particularly proud of it. I'm sort of hoping that's just because I'm so in it right now I can't see straight. I know I'm way too emotionally attached to the thing. I know I'm being neurotic. But I just can't manage to shut up the voice in my head that says the work is inadequate.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's just a dissertation; it's not your life's work. As long as it's good enough to get you the PhD (which c'mon, you know it is), it's what it was supposed to be. Enjoy your accomplishment. It becomes old news in your day-to-day life way too fast.


11:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you considered...

Charcuterie (IPA: /ʃɑrˌkutəˈri, ʃɑrˈkutəri/, IPA-fr: /ʃaʁkytəˈʁi/), derived from the French words for flesh (chair) and cooked (cuit), or in Italian Salumi (sing: salume), is the branch of cooking devoted to prepared meat products such as bacon, ham, sausage, terrines, galantines, pâtés, and confit, primarily from pork.[1] Charcuterie is part of the garde manger chef's repertoire. Originally intended as a way to preserve meats before the advent of refrigeration, these preparations are prepared today for their flavors that are derived from the preservation processes.[2]


1:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

also - for the record, I'm not a huge fan of the terrine, though i must admit I'm not too well-versed on the differences among a terrine, a pâté, and a confit. I look up almost everything. You may say I have a hunger or thirst (which would you choose and why?) for knowledge. This particular issue, however, I'm comfortable leaving alone. I don't mind not knowing. Knowing could prove to be the arugula to my Barack Obama

1:16 PM  

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