Wednesday, February 06, 2008


*Said in a creepy Mr. Burns voice.

I just finished a meeting with my advisor. I've been struggling with how I'm going to write my dissertation, and what my topic is going to be. I originally had one plan, but was going to scrap it in favor of expanding my Master's thesis in an attempt to just get the damn thing done. She advised against that on the basis that, given what I would need to do, I wasn't going to save any time. So, I went back to my original idea, which is much more in my professional field. The problem was back to how I was going to think about it and how I was going to structure it.

Well, last week, I had an epiphany one morning in the shower, before I was fully awake. It was in that nice little window of time when thoughts are just free-form in your head, but you're not to the point of really thinking about them yet, if that makes sense. This was one of those moments where the light-bulb goes on, but this time it was a big enough light-bulb that, had this been a literal occurrence, I would probably be dead from the amount of power flowing through the damn thing. Anyway, everything suddenly clicked - and I was completely awake. I ran my idea through my mind again, now that I was really functioning, and became convinced that it would in fact work. And it would actually be far easier than I originally thought it might be (this is a vast and great thing!).

Today was the first chance I had had to actually sit down with my advisor and go through the whole thing to see if she thought it would work - and more importantly, be acceptable to my committee. The answer was "Yes." There is still a lot work to be done to actually do the whole thing, but now that there's a structure and direction to it, things are far happier in my world.

Before anyone asks, however, no - I'm not going to tell everyone what my plan is. Academia is highly competitive, and ideas are usually jealously guarded for fear of someone stealing it. Don't believe me? Start with this PhD comic and the rest of the story arc (about 10 of them) - Jorge Cham knows what he's talking about! Now it's not that I distrust anyone who might actually read my blog on any kind of regular basis - it's that anything which goes on the internet lives forever, and can spread. I'm sure all of my readers are fine and could be trusted - with the possible exception of Propsqueen . . . But I don't know who else is down the line. With a few exceptions, you'll find out when I finish and defend the thing!

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