I spent the last two weeks grading papers, meeting with students, and wrapping up my teaching responsibilities for the year. There’s an amazing amount of work that eats into your day when you’re teaching so now that my schedule has freed up, I can focus only on my dissertation. So I should be psyched right? Wrong. I’m terrified.
Come to think of it, my feelings aren’t complicated. Rather, I feel terrified. I set a goal this year to have a complete dissertation draft by the end of the summer and that goal is looking not only optimistic, but about as probable as tomorrow’s scheduled Armageddon.
I have experience in this terror. I’ve felt the pull of the summer void and resisted it in the past. This leads to a summer filled with karaoke and mani-pedis all in the name of “decompressing” from the semester. Then July 4th hits, I scream “oh shit! Summer’s over!!” over drinks and barbecue, and then spend the rest of the summer frantically working on various writing projects. This is always horrible. I did this with a series of incompletes, I did this with my dissertation proposal, but I’ll be damned if I do it with my dissertation.
I spent the first two days of this week, freaking the hell out. I was spinning my wheels and using any and all excuses to not get my work done. I obsessed over the jerk-wad student who wanted to magically bring his A– to an A. I obsessed over that racist Psychology Today article from Monday (more on that later). Basically, I did everything I could to put a bunch of bullshit between me and my dissertation.
Then I read the following series on summer writing from Inside Higher Ed. Most of it is stuff I already know, but sometimes it helps me to re-read advice about writing to get me excited and focused on the task at hand. All of my anxiety comes from fear (as I suspect yours does too). So if you’re like me and flailing about and not writing your dissertation, check out Kerry Ann Rockquemore’s Summer Writing Series, in the meantime, I’m getting back to work.