Friday, December 14, 2007

Proposal = Passed


I passed my proposal defense yesterday! And it was great -- because my committee members cut out a whole bunch of work!

So, for those of you that have never written a dissertation proposal, basically it's a very long paper that discusses the reasons why you want to do your experiments, discusses all of the experiments that you already did, and discusses the experiments that you plan to do that will "count" towards your PhD. Some people think of it as a guideline, some people think of it as a "contract", but, basically, once you finish the list of experiments that you write up in your proposal, you're allowed to graduate.

And my original proposal was pretty bulky, but I calculated some things like the number of replicates and fish and tanks and supplies and figured I could complete my dissertation by 2010 -- as long as nothing went wrong, I had everything I needed, and I never took a day off.

But my committee (a bunch of professors), cut out a few experiments and treatments!! So now I think I will still be able to answer the questions I want to answer, really focus on some specific aspects of the things I am interested and definitely graduate in May 2010! (Knock on wood)

Overall, I couldn't be more satisfied with the outcome of my proposal defense!

Of course, I need to spend a few days changing my written proposal before the holidays ...

but in just about a week, Ry & I will commence "Best Christmas Ever!"

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Gold star defense?

Not that I believe in horoscopes or anything, but here is mine for today -- defense day!! Seems like a positive sign for today's big event!

Aquarius (1/20-2/18)
Sometimes, your brilliance is the product of hard work and exhaustive thinking. But sometimes, like today, it comes from seemingly out of nowhere! In the midst of a problem solving or brainstorming session, a group of very smart people will be struck dumb by the innocent, effortless suggestion you make. Your ideas might not be the exact answer -- but if not, they will lead directly to it. Your insights are unlike any others today, so do not be shy about sharing them.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

On the defensive ...

Tomorrow is my proposal defense. What that means is that my dissertation committee sits in a room while I ramble on and on about my dissertation proposal, which they already have a written copy of and they should have read all 57 pages by now.

I am slightly more nervous about this than the Qs (see posts from all of January 2007). In that test, I pretty much new what material would be included and what wouldn't. For this "defense", the professors can ask me anything they want (as long as it somehow relates to my proposed experiments).

The nervousness could also just be caused by the title "Proposal Defense". Why do I need to defend my experiments? It's as though I need to convince these people that my experiments are worthwhile, plausable and interesting. Which, I suppose I do. But could we have a proposal conversation or a dissertation discussion? Just changing the word seems to change the whole tone and maybe even the purpose of the meeting.

Maybe I will bring that up while I am busy being defensive.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Is Work-at-Home an Oxymoron or a blessing?

With my dissertation proposal defense looming (8 days & counting), Ry suggested that I work from home today so that I could actually accomplish some work.

So I took his amazing advice and (low and behold) I got A LOT of work done on my powerpoint and notes for the big defense. I mean, it is way more than I have been able to get done in the last week while working in my office.

Isn't that crazy?

I am continually amazed by how little work I actually get done while at work. There is always someone stopping by to chat about work or non-work or something-that-might-maybe-be-related-to-something-I-worked-on-once. Other grad students, the students I teach, lab mates, professors, my advisor, the secretaries, Ry, etc. etc. (Just as I was writing that sentence the cleaning lady came in to chat ... of course she only knows Spanish and I don't ...).

I know it's not everyone else's fault and I should just shut my office door to the world.

But it is just super nice to stay home and work in my pjs while watching Ellen & The View (and still get more work done)!!

Thanks for the suggestion Ry!!!!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

'cide with me!

In an email about the craziness that is my life that I sent to another grad student friend, I may have mentioned something about a serious desire to kill Ry's advisor.

In her reply she suggests that the crime would be "advisocide" (like homocide or infanticide or suicide).

Which led me to wonder if this term has been coined yet. Surely there must be other graduate students with a desire to shoot/hang/drown/burn/beat to death their advisor. Has anyone ever acted upon such desire & been convicted and, if so, was it called "advisocide"?

Sometimes I wonder if people in my department might be the first.

But, I was only kidding when I threatened murder.

I mean ... torture is so much more effective.