This Is Nothing

Insane Graduate School Edition


Nervous, but what else is new?

As Iíve said many times over, some of the most worthwhile things in my life have come from just throwing caution to the wind and committing to something I know I want to do but am afraid to do. Things that I know I would not do if I thought too much more about them. The greatest and best example is telling my now-husband Andy that I liked him, even though I was sure there were dozens of reasons it could go awkward and badly.

In the middle of a self-reflection career-planning bout, I pushed to get my 6-month prospectus scheduled with my thesis committee. The 6-month prospectus meeting is basically a final checkpoint on the road to the thesis defense. My understanding is you meet with your thesis committee 6 months before you want to defend your thesis, and discuss with them what needs to be done to be on track for that date. My May-defense deadline was a bit artificial, but very useful in getting this ball rolling. I donít want to be still in grad school for another summer, and itís also a good time to be looking for a job, as far as I can tell.

So I talked to my advisor, scheduled a prospectus meeting for far-away November, and felt awesome. Iím on track, you know? Iíve made another step towards the exit. But now that prospectus is waiting for me on the other side of this week (Thursday) and itís time to get all nervous, because thatís what I do.

Much like the preliminary exam, you hear tales of prospectus meetings going all sorts of different ways, good and bad. One person had a meeting that only went ten minutes. With my husbandís meeting, they told him they felt he could get it all done in less than 6 months! Iíve also heard of meetings where the message was ďjust because you schedule a defense date doesnít mean youíre going to graduate.Ē Eeep!

Itís all going to be fine, because no matter what happens during the meeting, I just canít be graduate school forever. I just hope it goes well, that I prepared sufficiently, and that I emerge with a sound plan to finish out my time here in graduate school!


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