The Life of a Wannabe Academic

Detail of the life a new academic. The progress from graduate training to professor. Includes reflections on the job hunting process, research in technology and education, and what it is like to be a new college professor.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

A New Year and a New Semester

Happy New Year! 'Tis the time for a new start and to start working on those resolutions that we have made for ourselves. For myself, I have the same basic resolution as every other year, be a better person and live a healthier life. For me this has translated to starting up my healthy eating habits that are put on hold this time of year and once again attempting to have a more consistent exercise schedule. I'm usually pretty good in the Summer, with lots of walking, biking, and running. All outdoor activities. It is the cold months that my activity really drops because I dislike working out indoors. I get bored easily, but I really must get back into the habit and start some of the cold weather sports (ice skating, skiing, etc). But this has been hard to do as the weather has been unusually warm in ND this winter. We just finally got snow last Saturday, and today we lost some of it to 40 degree weather and rain....yes rain!

Along with a new year comes a new semester. The usual beginning of the semester activities are occupying my time: prepping a new course, finalizing syllabi, organizing my Blackboard site, and organizing my office space. But this year feels a little different. I sincerely hope that this will be my last semester at UND as a graduate student. This feeling is much more real this year than it was last year when I was also searching for jobs. This year I know that I will not have the possibility of staying in school another year as I did last year. This will be my last semester as a student! Hard to say what this feels like. A bit bittersweet I suppose. I've been a grad student now longer than I was ever a college student, but I do not really feel like "just" a graduate student as my activities are basically those of an instructor (teaching courses, mentoring some undergrads, conducting research of my own). It'll be interesting to experience what it will be like to be Dr. Christopherson. I wonder if it will even feel any different.

As far as that goes, I merely need to finish my dissertation. My dissertation is mostly writen and I am in the process of outlining and organizing my discussion section. I have created a timeline for myself to insure that I will reach all of my deadlines. My goal is to have my dissertation finished and defended before I leave for my vacation to Hawaii (this will be my little graduation gift). So this means that I need to have a full draft ready for my advisor by 15 Jan. I hope that I can reach this deadline. I want a reasonable amount of time for criticism and revision.

After this I need to have enough time for my committee members to put in their input and comments and more time for revisions. Timing can be very important. You need to give your committee members adequate time to read your paper and to give thoughtful comments, and then you need to give yourself time to look those over and make changes. Finally, the Graduate School requires certain paperwork in at certain dates in order to graduate on time. If you miss them it can be a long petition process to try to graduate when you want. Finally, after all revisions are made, the long process of formatting begins and is really the most frustrating part of all - at least in my experience. You feel that you are done, and then you need to change your margins, the type of page numbering, tables of contents, and so forth.

So the first part of the semester for me will be busy primarily with dissertation writing and revising, further prepping of my Abnormal Psychology class, and begining data analysis on a couple of research projects. Hopefully during this time I will also have a chance to travel to interested schools as a prospective faculty member. A busy semester, but I wouldn't have it any other way!


  • At 3:23 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    long time since your last post... thanks for the update.


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