Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Failing in Focus...

Whew, my summer break has just been amazing! If I get anymore good news, I'm literally going to burst--which is doubly fantastic because the first half of 2011 was absolutely terrible. I have a few bits to share today, so bear with me as I, yet again, create a post that lacks in a singular focused topic. You would never actually guess, from my last few posts, that I teach other people to write focused academic papers! Best of all, it's only June, which means I still have two and a half months of summer left before I return to complete my final year of graduate school.  When August comes, the race/countdown is on and the goals are simple: take comps, write/finish & defend thesis, teach, graduate, move home. In that order. For now, I'm still toiling away in summer and though it's unbearably hot, I'm having a good one. So, about that news I said I had, let's get to it, otherwise I might go on and on about nothing, indefinitely.

Item #1: We went and picked up Matt's diploma. He's an official college graduate now (well, he was as of 14 May 2011) and he could not be happier. Happy husband = happy Kristyn. I could not be more proud of him and I think seeing his degree, with his name scrawled on it, has really driven the point that he finally graduated home. On the way to pick it up, he confided to me that he was nervous about doing so. I know exactly how he felt, and told him so, because when I went to get mine I felt the same way. I worried, as he was, that when I got there to pick it up they were going to laugh in my face. They didn't, of course, not in my face nor his. Now, it's framed and hanging, and we're both so happy to see it!

Item #2: I dyed my hair yet again and, yet again, I'm struggling to like it. It was supposed to be Auburn Black, but came out more like plum. I've gotten a lot of compliments on it, but I really think I'd like to go back to brown at some point in the near future. I'd really appreciate some feedback on the color. Mostly, I feel like it's unprofessional and I have a job that requires professionalism. At the end of the summer, I'm going to go to the salon and have it done professionally. No more scary, eternally running, red dyes. I clearly have no business choosing my own hair color.

Item #3: This is the best news of all, at least for me personally. Today, I received a letter from the graduate college at Tarleton congratulating me on the acceptance of my thesis proposal. It was accepted!! I could not be happier, at this point in the process. I met with my committee chair today and we set a due date for the draft of my first chapter (July 15th), scheduled a time to go with the date for my comps, and discussed formatting. It was a good meeting, as always, and I really appreciate these meetings because it's the summer and she's under no obligation to meet with me. So, now that I've received a thumbs up on my thesis proposal, the next thing is to work on finishing my first chapter and studying for the comps!

It seems like that's all for now, but taken all together it has made this week awesome--except maybe the hair thing, I still don't know about that. While I hope to have more awesome week's ahead, who knows. For now, I'm basking in the glow of this summer's greatness!


  1. You have to write a thesis paper AND take comps? Yuck. For my program, we were able to choose one or the other. The only catch was if you chose the comps, you had to take one extra class (which was the path I wound up taking).

    I like the plum color. It's pretty and brings out the blue in your eyes. Okay, now I sound like a dude hitting on you. LOL. I wouldn't worry too much about showing a lack of professionalism--you'd be surprised by how liberal the professional world is becoming. At my school we have teachers with BRIGHT red hair, visible tattoos, and so on. Shannon had a female instructor awhile ago who taught in jeans and a tank -top. This woman had a doctorate. So no one's gonna gasp at your hair, just because it has a little flair to it. ;-)

  2. Thanks for the reassurance, Jodi! I think it's going to take me a while to get use to it because it's not what I expected it to be. There are some pretty liberal professors at our school, too, but being in TX everything's a little more conservative here. Still, I think I'll be able to get by with it alright! And, if I get too self-conscious about it, I can always cover it with brown. :)

    Yes, we have to take comps and do the thesis. Well, technically there are two tracks; you can be thesis or non-thesis. If you go non-thesis then you have to take two additional classes from a secondary discipline (like history). If you go thesis track then you take the "Thesis" class, which is 6 hours. Both tracks, however, are required to take the comps, which is not one paper, but two. Basically, I'll go Monday, August 15th and my thesis chair will have written me two questions. I'll choose one and write over it from 9am - noon--no book, no notes, just what I've got stuffed into my pretty little head (ha!). Then, I go back on August 19th and my two other thesis committee members will each have written me a question. Again, I choose one and write over it for the same duration as the first, 3 hours. So, it's a thesis of 80+ pages and the comps, which consists of two papers.

    Some of the other "colleges" at Tarleton, like business, allow their students to choose one or the other. English, however, makes us do both. I'm plenty scared, but at this point I think I'm more afraid to defend my thesis than I am to take the comps. I've started studying, so I just need to keep doing so and I should do fine on the comps and once they're done, they're done!

  3. I'm glad you're having a great summer!

    I like your hair color! I don't think it's unprofessional; lots more things are considered "acceptable" now than used to be. But if you want to splurge on having it professionally done, go for it. I'd like to have my hair professionally colored and styled, but I'm cheap and have an aversion to having strangers paw at me that long. I'm kind of lame like that!

    Oh, I'd invite you down for 4th of July again, but this year they got a lame swing band to perform and I just can't get excited about it! I'm going out on a limb and guessing you're not into swing music, either. LOL

  4. Thanks!! The color is growing on me. I'm sure, in time, it'll "let down" and not be so drastic. Maybe I'll like it more, or be more comfortable with it, then... I sure hope so. And no, I'm not particularly into swing music. Although, when I was in high school we did swing dancing in PE and had a good time, and in the 90's I liked a few songs by popular "swing" bands. Overall, not really my gig. :) It would be fun to get together again sometime, though!