Monday, February 27, 2006

Sad, but relieved.

I canceled my Europe trip today. I'm sad.

I now have 10 days in row (starting Wed.) to work on my dissertation, a manuscript revision, and a book chapter. I'm relieved.

Please, please, please, let this all come together and be over soon. And please, please, please let these 10 days be good productivie writing days, not plagued by too many blocks/issues so that I do not regret canceling this trip.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Dear Advisor,

I am sorry that you are not on top of things right now and that you are feeling overwhelmed and I realize that my hurry to meet approaching deadlines is contributing to your work and stress load. These last few days have been very difficult and strained beginning with the email exchange taking place earlier this week. I need to explain myself.

You should probably know that I had come to the conclusion that I owed you an apology for my Wed. am email response sparked by your Tues. evening message. My immediate reaction and response was emotionally charged because of the format and style of your presentation of the comments. I have worked closely with you long enough to know that this is just how you handle these types of situations. I don't like it and find it impersonal and, frankly, inappropriate but it is how you do things and I can accept that and should not "feed the fire" by letting my emotions take control.

So, on Thursday morning this is what I was ready to convey to you; that is until you caught me off guard (as you tend to do when the situation might be difficult) and the words you said engaged me yet again in the issue. In your fury of emotion, you added fuel to my fire and I am no longer willing to offer up an apology. When I discovered that you pulled the same third grade reaction that you did when we had different but similarly emotionally charged miscommunication a few years back (you took the email in question to your peers and asked them to validate your emotion), I was both enraged and hurt. While this action is not appriopriate for many reasons, I find it especially appaling in regards to something we discuss quite frequently: context. Of course your friends will validate you, you have taken the message out of the context of our relationship and introduced in into another relationship by providing it as evidence of your fairness and your "being right".

The whole issue that set me off in the beginning was that the email message you sent to me is not typical of our communication and you know it. I know you put a lot of thought into the message, worked up to writing it and clicked send knowing that is was not a typical communication. Don't you understand that your message would have been so much more effective if you had taken the 10 steps to my office, asked to talk about something that was bothering you, and said what you needed to say in probably 3 sentences? I'm hurt because I think I deserve at least that much from you. I'm angry because of the actions you took after the communication.

I was ready to let it go having said my thoughts and knowing that you know that I don't like how you communicate when it's a tough subject for you and I was ready to apologize for my own emotional email response. And, years ago, I did apologize in this somewhat similar situation because I did believe that miscommunication of years ago was my fault and I ignored the way you handled it then because our friendship was not yet clear. However, presently we are at a different place and I cannot do the same today as I did then.

As a result, this is where I now find myself:

As your student I am in a subordinate position and I will do nothing and take this interaction as a lesson learned about what not to do in the future in my interactions with you and also in my future career and dealing with my own students. I will consider context and the other person's feelings and reaction in the context of my actions and interactions with that person.

As your colleague (which I'm not quite there yet, but almost) IF I were your colleague and this same interaction had occured, I would have called you immediately on your "third grade" behavior and would have expected an apology.

As your friend, I am hurt. First, if you call me your friend, you should be able to talk to me, not send a hesitant email. Second, if you call me your friend, and you find my response inappropriate, talk to me, not other friends or colleagues. Resolve the issue with me, not with others; if the friendship matters to you then it should be my forgiveness or my apology that reconciles the matter.

Your friendship is important to me and those persons who approached me quietly on the side to find out why you were yelling at me behind a closed door all got the same response from me: I told them the issue was between you and me and we would resolve it. Why don't you show me the same respect?


Friday, February 24, 2006

Exhaustion, stress, emotion overload...

sometimes it's just all too much. I can't stop thinking about my dissertation. I wake up in the middle of the night, wide awake with thoughts. I go to bed and fall asleeep (eventually) thinking about my dissertation.
People look at me and say two words and I might cry or I might laugh hysterically. What is going on??
I'm thinking about canceling my vacation getaway because I just can't relax and I'm not even looking forward to the trip. I know my friend will be terribly disappointed, but why can't I even look forward to the chance to not have to think about this all the time?
What kind of vacation is it if I am miserable and unable to stop thinking about work the entire time? (I broke up with an ex for this reason--he couldn't leave things behind --so I know it makes for an annoying vacation companion).
I think that part of the reason is that I sort of have groove going and the constant thinking keeps me energized in a weird way, but at the same time shuts down every other facet of my existence including the desire to get away.

So should I just keep on truckin' or make myself take a break? Maybe I should ask the magic 8 ball.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Outta here!

Project X is gone!! has left the building!!! Yes, it's out in cyberspace on the way to the editor....with the most pathetic excuse of a discussion section ever, I might add. But--> I.Don't.Care.

Now, I know it will come back in a week or less with comments that need to be addressed; but I'm going to be OK with that...the structure is there, the "stuff" is in the paper... I can make it 'all better' then. I just want too enjoy a few days 'project x free'.
What does this say about me? I have never hated a single project so much. No other project has even warrented a name in my blog before. Hhhmmmm? I need to finish writing an exam for tomorrow.
<*statgirl* trudges slowly back to her desk after a fleeting moment of happiness>

Friday, February 17, 2006

Click 'send' for happiness!

I almost met my goal of getting 2 writing projects out the send slot in my email box this week and technically speaking (since tomorrow is really an official end of the week) I will still make the goal (although not with orginal intent which was 'end of normal people's workweek').

One paper is a revision that I am really happy with, I think it is a vast improvement over the first draf--let's just hope the editor and reviewers think so too!

The second project is--- you , guessed it! ---project X which was in track to go out to today except for some difficulties in second author's schedule today which just didn't permit those last edits. However, I expect to get it back from her tomorrow and click send then.

Then, back to regularly schedule dissertation writing. I'm officially starting a new file called "Discussion" --yes, I am finally nearing the finish line. I can see it off near the horizon.

Oh, and in less than 2 weeks I will have survived my writing marathon and will be sitting in a cafe on the other side of the big pond. I'm not sure if I will be drinking an espresso or perhaps a panache as I people watch and try not to think about writing. Hmmmm?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Software writers, What's up??

Does anyone else think that the SPSS programmer who wrote the error messages has a sick sense of humor?

"SPSS has encountered a catastrophic error. SPSS must close down and all unsaved work will be lost. "

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Exam Eccentricities

I gave my first exam of the new semester yesterday.

3 students asked to borrow pencils (they were explictly told to bring them for the multiple choice section of the exam)

2 students insisted the didn't have a student ID number

1 student raised his hand to ask me what the word 'subjective' meant I teach grad students)

1 student worked on the exam for approximately 1 hour 15 minutes and then asked if there was any way she could take the exam tomorrow during my office hours--"I didn't study enough".


Update on "the block" and a note on DA

Well, I discovered that simply venting my anger in my blog sort of pushed "the block" to the side and I made some, although nothing major, progress on writing project X. I continue to stuggle with it but plan to have it off my desk by the end of the week.

On another note, I need to clear up some misconceptions about DA. Judging by comments, I apparently villanized her a bit much. She has been nothing but supportive since the beginning of time and authorship, etc. is not in question here. And, perhaps that is why the "i'm out of the loop" comment took me so much by surprise--it is completely uncharacteristic of her. Someone must have possessed her and forced her to type that phrase which sent me into such a tizzy.

Just a few more days and the hell known as 'project X' will be in my sentbox.

The Window Thingy....

OK..everybody else is doing it...... tell me what you think in a Window on Statgirl

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Block

Ever hit a block that is primarily emotional that keeps you from making progress?

Well, I'm living it right now and I'm just about to the edge of the cliff realizing that the pent up emotion behind the block is quite likely going to push me over.

A little background: A current writing project which I have going is the result of my inability to say no when given little or no opportunity. Now, saying 'no' has always been a problem for me but generally I have gotten better at this utterance when I am able to separate myself from the immediate "questioning zone" and really ponder the pros and cons of saying 'yes'.
However, in my current dilemma, I wasn't able to get the needed space and fell into the 'yes' trap. It happened like this:

DA: Do you want to have lunch tomorrow?
Me: Sure
DA: How about pizza?
Me: Sounds good.

( lunch day, sitting at a table with my pizza)
DA: OK, I know you didn't know we were going to talk about this, but X needs to be written and here is an outline I have drafted which has already been approved. We have all the stuff, it won't be that bad.
Me: (yes, I did it...I pronounced that dreaded word, well, a derivative anyway) OK

Now, I know I am fully capable of saying the word 'no'; however, I can't help feeling like it was sprung on me and that 'no' wasn't really an option?? And maybe I'm being a total baby here but isn't part of DA's job to think about what is on my plate and provide some guidance about what is doable??? I have really tried to think about this from her point of view as well --yes, this is helping a student get a relatively easy pub for the CV, etc. But I still keep coming back to a point where I think it was really selfish (because she really needs X written and someone else was originally supposed to do it) and that she knew she was being a bit underhanded at the time because of the manner in which the job was handed over to me.

OK, that's the background. Here is the continued decline of this situation:

I've been struggling with writing project X. It isn't really MY interest and isn't something I've been working on much in the last year. But I kept telling myself that DA was going to help me through it and it would all work out. However, a recent communique from DA indicated that she is now 'out of the loop' on project X and besides, she is helping me with too much other stuff---I am so ANGRY I have been barely able to keep from throwing things and I can't even address it because if I take 2 seconds to think about it, it makes me cry!!! Out of the loop? WTF!!!!! The other things she is helping me with are things I took on myself and I am perfectly capable of handling because they feel like they are MY projects. In fact, I would not have minded doing a couple of them completely on my own. But Project X, I don't want to do it, I am not interested, and I don't even know what to really do with it. It's not my outline nor my primary area of interest. I don't feel ownership for the project, nor apparently does she. However, the people it needs to go to are important and it needs to be done well. Unfortunately, every time I open the #$%%& file on my computer I can't overcome the overwhelming anger I feel.

How do I get through this and just get writing project X to be "good enough" to be sent out and move on??

Monday, February 06, 2006

Random Ruminations: Monday version

  • It's a new work week and I have my course for today prepped but not the seminar for tomorrow and I am way less than motivated to get going on it.
  • 3 students have attempted to turn in an assignment that was due on Friday-- student #1 claims she didn't know it was due Friday because she doesn't have internet access on the weekends. Huhh? What? And never mind that hard copy of the syllabus you are carrying around with the dates stamped on it. Student#2 turned in the wrong assignment (so lateness is beside the point). Student #3 wrote 6 sentences, all of which have grammar or spelling errors. Now tell me that wasn't a last minute attempt for credit!
  • Official letter of offer arrived from Big Research U (BRU from here forward in blogtime). Very nice to see that letterhead and mention of real money and benefits attached to my name!! Dreaming to soon commence on how to spend those start up funds and imagining the house I will buy in BRUtown.
  • Should I go to the dentist this week or reschedule again (for the 3rd time)? First and second cancellations were legitimat job interview conflicts. Now I just don't want to ruin a potentially good writing work day dealing with numbness and drool.

OK, two more sentences in this post because I don't think ending with the word "drool" would leave my readers with a happy image. Happy Monday to one and all!!

Thursday, February 02, 2006


Why is the one hard and fast deadline for dissertations the format check? You have to have the dissertation submitted for this at least 5 weeks before graduation. You can wait to schedule your defense just a few days before graduation, but all hell breaks loose if you miss the formatting check deadline. Just tell me why this suddenly the most important thing at this point? What if your committee requests changes at the defense? (But wait, you've already been through formatting check--what if the additions/corrections change the format??) I just don't get it. . .

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Things I learned while interviewing

  1. I really LIKE talking about my research and people are actually interested in what I do.
  2. Always eat a big breakfast--you won't get much time to eat the rest of the day--people always ask you questions right as you are ready to take a bite. Meals are especially challenging when you have more than one person hosting you for the meal.
  3. Go prepared with lots of questions--even ones you don't think people will answer, they will.
  4. If you really want to know what it's like to be at that campus, ask the graduate students.
  5. Graduate students' questions are very telling about the strengths and weakness of a program.
  6. At your research presentation be prepared for questions on the most minute detail of your talk.
  7. I found campus visits to be sort of fun--anxiety provoking, sure---but in a weird sort of way, really fun to do.
  8. If it's the right job, it just feels right.
  9. Be prepared to be really tired when it's so tired you stumble on your name at the airport and get sent through the LONG security line for the full pat down. No....really.

Oh, and I learned several things about myself and how well I really can interact with people (even though I'm a stat nerd girl at heart). I have accepted a position that I just know is perfect for me and I can't wait to get there. Now.... if only that dissertation fairy would show up and lift me through these last few hoops.....

Helas....back to the hard work after a brief glimpse into my future at big research U.