Well, I turned it in! The written portion of my exam is over as of 11:57 am today. Since I did my M.A. here also, I can’t help but compare the two experiences. Granted, I had much more time for this essay, but man, have I come a long way. That’s a good feeling. I had my moments of stress and doubt and panic, but having the last few weeks to just study has been so helpful for my focus. It was also really helpful that I had five days of bootcamp, so plenty of structured time for working. That was a Godsend. Also, Megan was there for pep-talks and breaks and Julio sent me Minions cheering me on and Academic Coach Taylor to keep me going. I’m so grateful for my support system. A high point might have been when I went to the local coffee shop to write and, for no apparent reason, they closed early, so I ended up typing furiously in one of the dark, cavernous booths at the bar around the corner before having a great conversation with Megan over a drink. Since there aren’t many undergrads around during our first ever J-term, the town is pretty quiet. And yet sometimes not.
Of course, as soon as I turned my essay in I thought of several things I wanted to change about what I wrote and how I wrote it, but the questions I got and going through the writing process really helped me think about my special topic. Now one week to the defense!
A funny thing happened as I was doing my final edits. I got an email about a chapter I proposed for an edited collection back in July. When I didn’t hear anything about it, I wrote it off, but I guess things got held up with the publisher and now it looks like I will be writing a chapter about microaggressions between girls in popular culture and how they’ve become increasingly codified since Heathers and why that’s a problem. That means I get to write about that film as well as Mean Girls, Gilmore Girls, Gossip Girl, and some other works. I’m very excited.
So, between that, a book review, writing my dissertation prospectus, and starting the dissertation, I’m going to be writing a lot. Hopefully that actually means writing a lot and not pacing the floor a lot. Really, this is one of my favorite parts about this job. Maybe it’s that I dreamed of being a journalist for much of my adolescence, but writing and bylines and deadlines really do it for me. It’s an invigorating kind of stress.
That said, how do I write a dissertation prospectus? Any tips, academics out there? My writing so far is so clunky because it feels like such a weird genre.