Monday, June 30, 2008


The first thing Dr. Advisor said during the meeting he called "very casual" was "Now, this is not a defense, but I think it will be most productive if we are pretty critical." Crap. It went downhill from there. I was terrible at understanding and answering questions from one of my committee members and I had made a big mistake on one of my slides that confused us all and left me discouraged and flustered for the rest of the presentation. I was pretty sure that this would be a painful meeting but when I left I felt awful. I don't know how many times while I was there I thought "Or I could just quit and never have to deal with this crap again." I kept reminding myself that they were both there to help me and that none of it was personal but I just wanted to get out of there NOW because regardless of how I was supposed to feel I felt stupid and totally blindsided.

When I walked out of the front of the building I felt immediately better when I saw the building across the street where Ryan's old lab was. I was so disappointed when I remembered that he wasn't there. I called a friend who worked on campus and made plans to have lunch with her and her husband then stopped by to arrange a meeting with the math professor who had written the Matlab code that was causing me so much trouble.

Lunch was lots of fun and afterwards I stopped by my old department where everyone had lots of nice questions about Charlie and Bravo. An old professor even asked to see more pictures and more pictures and then watched the two videos of Charlie dancing at the committment ceremony and gushed over how cute and big he was. We swapped stories about Charlie and his grandson. He offered his spare bedroom and babysitting services if I ended up having to defend after Bravo is born. Needless to say I was feeling much better.

The math professor, Dr. G, took one look at the data I showed her and said "Right" like she expected it to look that way. I explained what I thought was wrong and she said "No, that's how it's supposed to be" and showed me why and it was so obvious and I couldn't believe I hadn't thought of it. DUDE, if this is actually correct? The hardest part of my dissertation that my committee had basically said was COMPLETELY WRONG just three hours earlier? Would be RIGHT. And? When I thought it was completely right last month I went ahead and did almost all the graph making and started on the interpretation and writing and I thought I was going to have to throw all that out. It would be so cool if I didn't have to do that. Then she helped me with another problem I was having and we had a long talk about work-family balance and my decision to have kids while in school, which she wholeheartedly supported and encouraged (even said "Maybe you'll want a girl one day!" and made sure I was getting enough time in with Charlie during this dissertation process).

So yeah. Dr. Math Professor? AWESOME. I wish I'd gotten to know her sooner. She is now on my committee instead of another professor who lives in another hemisphere now. I don't even know his email address so I can let him know. Not good.

The plan for now is to really go for it in July with my mom picking up some non-daycare days (Tuesdays and Thursdays) with Charlie. My desk will be moved into the guest room so I can close the door and not be tempted to have fun or clean anything (my two biggest temptations). We will see where things stand near the end of the month, to see if I could finish before my air travel deadline (seems awfully unlikely) and if not then I will keep working until Bravo is born and we will see if I feel up to defending before the October 23 deadline. If not I will defend in November and graduate in May which will just give me six months to find a job.

Also, has anyone seen my ankle bones? I'm sure they are still there but I haven't seen any sign of them since around lunch time after walking all the way across campus in HEELS (TWICE) because I am a little short sighted, as it turns out.


Andrea said...

PLUS it was only 84 today and Spaghetti 4-Pack was personally delivered. BONUS!

Rima said...

Oh, here's hoping the math prof was right! That would be totally, totally awesome! It sounds like things are doable. I really hope it all works out (and you find your ankles.)

Leslie said...

hang in there, babe! You're still my hero.

Sarah said...

Yay for your new committee member. Also, I'm developing a strong dislike for Dr. Advisor. "This is not a defense, but..." Cripes.

Okay, so here.s the thing: I only just now found my ankle bones again, so don't send out the search party just yet :)

SSU said...

Some math profs at our school are cool - although I am only 50% sure of who you are talking about...
Good luck! Think - one month of hard work and you can be done with it!
And get rid of the heals - you are tall enough without them :p

HollowSquirrel said...

Dear Math Prof,
The Internets love you for making our friend happy.

Aformentioned Internets

Kyla said...

I'm SO glad the math professor was able to help and things aren't as dire as they started out. My stomach was flip-flopping around for you!

I hope it all works out perfectly in the end!

Art Nerd said...

Oh my goodness, this makes me tired to think about! Good luck!