Nope. About 3 weeks. Time has no meaning in Trump’s America. It feels like Trump has been the president forever, but we’ve only barely gotten through the first month.
Anyway, I had a feeling this would happen, that life would get busy and I would forget to write. Except I didn’t really forget to write. I thought about writing something dozens of times, but it seemed like a lot of work. I thought about summarizing all the crazy shit that has been happening in life under Trump, but there was just too much of it. Where would I begin? How could I put into words the insanity of that press conference? Or that he held a campaign rally a month into his administration? Or how absurd it is that he spends every weekend at Mar-a-Lago?
And I also considered writing about all the chaos associated with being on the job market. The constant anxiety that I will not find a job and they (read: my adviser) won’t let me leave graduate school. The anger that comes with my adviser imply that even if I get a post-doc, I should consider staying for another year because, you know, moving is a hassle. The bittersweet news of a friend getting a post-doc, while you’re still stuck. But all that felt like too much to write about. I barely had time to cover it all in weekly therapy sessions; I didn’t want to write it all down.
Ironically, this is the same way I feel about my dissertation. There is so much to write about that I can’t write about anything. I don’t know where to start, and so I don’t start at all. I have regression tables for days, but I can’t bring myself to interpret and write up the results. And then when I get drafts back from my advisers there are so many edits – some made much more kindly than others – that I just want the whole thing to disappear.
So this is where I am. I continue to tread water with my dissertation. Every day is an exercise in staying awake long enough to make sure that Trump hasn’t declared martial law, but really just wanting to sleep away the rest of the semester. Maybe I will write more soon. I keep telling myself I will. It’s just so damn exhausting.
The beauty of getting a dual degree is that I have two advisors. Twice the advising, twice the fun. Except what two advisors really means is that each advisor gets to skirt their responsibilities (because the other one is doing it, right?) while remaining just as critical. Twice the criticism, half the helpful feedback.
A recent exchange with one advisor:
Being a grad student comes with a constant sense of guilt. There is always more work to be done, always something more you could be reading, always something you could be writing.
I am well acquainted with crushing guilt, having grown up Catholic. I can’t exactly pinpoint why Catholic guilt is so crushing. It’s just this constant sense that I’m doing something wrong. For me personally, my Catholic guilt was much stronger when I was a child. I think that’s due in part to Catholic parents strategically using Catholic guilt to get their children to behave. It’s like having Santa Claus watching, except instead of being deprived of presents at Christmas you’re doomed to an eternity in a fiery hell.
I think Jack Donaghy sums it up best: Continue reading
One of the reasons I started this blog was because I don’t want to write my dissertation. More like finish my dissertation. It’s well on its way, or at least that’s what I keep saying in cover letters and on job interviews.
So I thought I would start this blog to chronicle my journeys in finishing the dissertation. I’ll learn to love writing again, I told myself. And then I’ll want to write about control variables and the results of logistic regressions! Turns out that is not true. It also turns out that racing thoughts does not translate into lots of blog posts.
For anyone keeping tracks, that’s:
Pr(blogging) != Pr(dissertating)
racing thoughts != blogging
My preferred coping mechanism/procrastination technique for the dissertation stress is sleeping and watching re-runs of The Office. Both of which I find soothing and non-taxing on my brain. Both of which contribute nothing to the subfield.
This, however, is an improvement from my previous coping mechanisms, which included exercising until I thought I was going to die, and binge eating massive amounts of chocolate, peanut butter, and just generally anything I thought tasted good at that moment. So… progress?