Sunday, July 16, 2006

Public Service Announcement

Something not to do if you're feeling a bit anxious about all the work you're not getting done this summer:

Read anything written by your dissertation advisor. You will then hear her voice asking you questions about all the work you're not doing, and will start imagining the next time you're likely to meet her and all the amazing things that you'll really need to have accomplished before then so that you can hold a conversation with her. Meanwhile, as you're conjuring up better and worse versions of this scenario, you still won't be getting any work done.

And if you must read something written by your former advisor, because it's essential to whatever you're currently not-working on, at least don't let that something be really, really great, and so much better than your own attempts to grapple with similar material.

(Needless to say, no one gave me this advice, but you should feel free to learn from my mistakes.)


kfluff said...

Oooh, Ms. F--indeed good advice. I seem to remember doing something similar right as I was cruising (ahem, stumbling is more like it) into my last diss chapter. This might be a good time to revisit some of your own work that you haven't seen in awhile--I'll bet you're more brill than you remember. Good luck!

dhawhee said...

I don't know yr advisor (obviously) but I would bet that she didn't get crap done the summer she moved to a new town and started a tenure track job--not even reading the brilliant work of her own advisor. (file that under breaks we probably need to give ourselves)

Mel said...

Been there, done that :(

Though it is possibly worse to decide to casually pick up the latest book published by one of your grad school peers ...

Anonymous said...


Do you mean a book published while technically still a grad student, i.e., before conferral of the doctorate? Is this really what you mean? Or do you instead mean written while yet published after, one's graduate study?

Flavia said...

Heather: I'm assuming/hoping that what Mel means is one's former grad school colleagues, who are now fantabulously successful.

Luckily for me, it'll probably be another year or two before anyone I REALLY know has a book out. (The first person I knew well enough to drink with does already have a book out, but a) she was in a slightly different department, and b) I knew her because her partner was just a year ahead of me, while she herself was several. Nevertheless, she IS in my field and that book DID come out with lightening speed, and from a very good press...)