Let me explain why I've been away...
About a month ago, I presented my dissertation prospectus (chapters 1-3) to my committee of four professors. They ask you questions, provide insight, and make suggestions regarding your study. Once they approve, you submit your proposal to the university to get permission to begin collecting data. Well, I held my meeting and received permission from my committee to move forward...exciting! At the conclusion of the meeting, we set a date for my dissertation defense, and the current plan remains for me to graduate in December...now if I can only find a job!
The following week, I spent a 6 days in the lovely North Georgia Mountains at Amicalola Falls. I wish this was a relaxing getaway, but instead I sat on the back porch of a cabin typing away. Every year, a professor at the University of Georgia hosts a writing retreat. About 15 doctoral students spend their days and nights working towards a self-imposed goal (mine was to create a draft of a manuscript I've had on my to-do list for way too long). This was my second writing retreat, so I knew it would be intense. I can't complain much because (1) I made the choice to go, and (2) albeit extremely insane it is the most beneficial experience for me as a graduate student. Oftentimes, the PhD world can be somewhat isolated. Everyone is working on their program of study (that they create independently) or their dissertation (that they create independently). In turn, you frequently feel like you're floating along all by your lonesome self. The week away with grad students grounds you in the reality that there are many others feeling the same way you are, with the same apprehensions and anxieties, worried and stressed about the same insecurities. So, although it was a long week...it was great!
After being home for only four days, I hopped in the car with my sister and her three girls (5 years old and under) and headed to the beach. With all the kids and their stuff, we have to take 2 cars. My sister and I enjoy the ride together (with me getting up and handling situations with the kids). Her husband leads the way, windows down and listening to music...we get a little envious when the kids are screaming! Anyway, I'm here at the beach...trying to enjoy a non-vacation with three wee ones.
In the meantime, I received permission from the University of Georgia to begin collecting data for my dissertation. That is exciting. I disseminated phase one of my research yesterday, and I am like an annoying child checking to see how many people have responded to the survey...every 10 seconds. Can you tell my livelihood rides on this stinkin' study? Good thing I like it!
So, there is the update. I have quite a few blog posts running in my head, and I've lined up some blog swaps (and am in search of more) for the coming weeks.
Thanks for staying tuned...even while I'm crazy trying to swim upstream.