30 March 2009

Frustrations on the Eve of Finishing Up

My dissertation is due in two days. Two days! Yay! And I'm feeling pretty good about it. I realize that I'm doing something that is not very common, so people don't know much about the process. However, the following list details my frustrations with what I've heard over the past year and a half!

1. No, I am not writing a thesis. Sometimes people write a doctorate thesis, so I understand the confusion. However, I already wrote a thesis for my master's. Been there. Done that.

2. If I'm not writing a thesis, then I AM DEFINITELY NOT WRITING A PAPER! People often ask me: "How is your paper going?" I appreciate that they are interested. However, papers are generally anywhere from 1-40 pages. If you write something over 150 pages, it is no longer a paper. If you write something that is organized into chapters, it is no longer a paper. Just wanted to make that clarification. (In case you didn't get the hint, do not ask me about my "paper." Ever.)

3. Yes, I will finish this dissertation. Often people wonder why it's taking me so long. I'll tell you why... In the course of the past year and a half I have: Had a baby. Experienced post-partum depression. Moved from Austin to Denver. Bought a house. Moved from an apartment to a house. Found out that I was pregnant. Found out that I was not pregnant. All the while, I've been caring for a little boy. So, yes, this has been a long process. But, seriously. Seriously. Cut me some slack. And, for the record, most people take an entire year to write their dissertations. I think I'm doing pretty damn well. In fact, I basically kick ass.

4. Yes, I will get a job. No, I do not know what I want to do. In this economy I won't be choosy. That being said, if anyone has any leads on any nonprofit or government or academic job openings, please send them my way.

5. No, you may not read my dissertation. Although I have been working on this project for quite some time, I am not necessarily proud of it. When I dissect it into conference papers, then you may read it. No one wants to read 150 pages of drivel anyway. My committee members probably won't even read the whole thing. And who can blame them?

To recap: I'm not writing a thesis or and I am definitely not writing a paper. I'm writing a dissertation. There is a difference. Yes, I will finish. Yes, I will get a job. And, no, you may not read this masterpiece.

I feel MUCH better. Thank you for your time!


Katy said...

I expect a copy on my doorstep tomorrow by 9:00 am. Thanks for your attention to this matter.

Congrats Sara!

Debbie said...

So what is the difference between a thesis and a dissertation then? :)

And you do kick ass and anyone that thinks otherwise can come see me about it.

April said...

You ass kickin hot mama! :)

Sara Struckman said...

Debbie... Good question. I'm not even sure what the difference is. But, here's my "I pulled it out of my ass" answer: People who obtain a PhD in the sciences often forgo a master's and go straight into the PhD. They often write a doctoral thesis. However, in the social sciences, students often obtain a master's and a PhD from different institutions. Therefore it's important to distinguish between the two.

It probably depends on the institution too. People get really caught up with titles (clearly, eh?).