The PhD Chronicles: The Year That Wasn't

Estimated Reading Time: 4.5 minutes

So it's been well over a year since I wrote my last blog post regarding my PhD program.  However, if you've been reading it along, you'll notice that the PhD Chronicles last entry is dated to about seven months ago.  For those not in the know or not paying much attention (I don't blame you there), the entries for the chronicles were posted one year after I actually wrote them.  This gave me some distance and opportunity to revisit and revise in case I misrepresented something or someone. 

A black ad white photo of an old clock with roman numerals for numbers.
Image Source: Martin Vorel
But these posts moving forward are in the now (or as Spaceballs says "now now").  So what has been going on with my doctoral work in the year and a half since I posted that last post.  I would love to report back now and regal you with adventures about how I have made huge strides and succeeded in defending my dissertation proposal and am now working solely on my dissertation.

But that is not the case.  This time away from Friday classes has just been a crappy year in terms of progress on my dissertation.  There are some good and not-so-good reasons for that.  Right after I finished class in May 2018, I intentionally took three months off from my school work as both a reward and some semblance of a break.  It was something I needed to do after 3 years. 

Unfortunately, what should have been three enjoyable months of life and catching up, had its share of trouble.  First, there was a two week trip in Europe where I was hit both with a cold and horrible allergies so that though I managed to enjoy myself, I was utterly miserable the whole time.  I came back less rested than when I left.  Shortly after this, I ended up with cellulitis in my foot and what limited in movement for a week and took a little longer to recover.  This was followed by having to move.  By the time we settled in the new place, it was near end of July and fast approaching the end of my break. 

I started to return to the work and look at what I needed to do and how I would go about doing it.  But life had other plans. Shortly into August, my father went into the hospital and by the end of the month, would pass away.  Thus, August disappeared in a juggling of hospital shifts, work, and just trying to care for myself.  As we were saying our formal goodbyes to my father, the semester was starting and between work and taking a course, my bandwidth was limited as I felt in a perpetuate game of catch up with all the things. 

Sometime around December, I finally found myself in a place where I was caught up with life but also some 7 months removed from my dissertation.  In January, I began to come back to it but could not find the right grove, even as I took another course that I felt would help me peck away at parts of it.  In February, I decided I needed to do something and put out a call to folks interested in joining a peer accountability group which stumbled along for a few months before petering out. 

Some other issues arose in May and June of a personal nature that ate up bandwidth and yes, we had to move again (long story, but basically we traded a crappy landlord for a nice once).  As we got settled into the new place, I started doing the 20 minutes a day work to chip away at my dissertation but I was also taking my final (yes, final!!!) course for my doctorates.  That course was excellent--everything I was hoping for but it also ate up bandwidth.  So while I came out with an awesome finished product, it also stilted my progress.

Also during this time, I discovered that my advisor would not be at the institution as of the end of this academic year, which meant I had to do some shopping to find a new one.  The new one has been a good match and has been helpful in getting me up and moving.  

So it's been a stumbling journey without a lot of progress but I'm ok with that. Delayed but not dissuaded, I guess.

With the start of the new year and new decade, I'm ready and moving towards getting this thing done.  I've got no more classes in the way and I've started a new accountability group that is both simple and solid in keeping me moving along.  I've also created a new routine that I think will help me by creating clear pockets of time to focus on the dissertation and also to feed my more creative/reflective writing (such as this blog!).  So here's to moving forward and getting this dissertation done!

Want to keep up with my PhD adventures?  Check out any of the links below:

  1. Acceptance...and acceptance
  2. Orientation
  3. Day 1
  4. Week 1
  5. First 2 Courses Completed
  6. First 2 Courses Finished
  7. Semester 2, Here We Go
  8. The Existential Crisis of the Week
  9. The Balancing Act
  10. Negotiating Privilege in Higher Education
  11. Zeroing in on Research
  12. Completing the Second Semester
  13. My Educational Autobiography
  14. So Starts the Third Semester
  15. My Educational Philosophy...for now
  16. PhD'ese
  17. And Sometimes, You Feel It
  18. Semester's Endgame
  19. Year 1, Officially Done
  20. Year 2, Week 1, Day 1
  21. Year 2, Week 1 Done! 
  22. 1/3 Complete!?!?
  23. Click...
  24. Day 1; Semester 5
  25. Share and Share Alike
  26. Mindful and Mind-Filled
  27. 5th Semester Down
  28. Day 1, Semester 9
  29. The Two Demons of My Doctorate
  30. When Senioritis Kicks In
  31. The Final Friday
Sub-series specifically about the dissertation:
  1. Dissertation Journal #1
  2. Dissertation Journal #2
  3. Dissertation Journal #3
  4. Dissertation Journal #4
  5. Dissertation Journal #5
  6. Dissertation Journal #6
  7. Dissertation Journal: QP Revised Edition

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