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Author Topic: PhinisheD  (Read 7864 times)

app103

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PhinisheD
« on: September 23, 2006, 01:09:25 PM »
How is your dissertation (or thesis) coming?

Is it finished yet?

This site is the discussion and support group for people that just can't seem to get it finished.


Thanks for the tip, Tracy!   :Thmbsup:

« Last Edit: September 23, 2006, 01:25:55 PM by app103 »

Lilly

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Re: PhinisheD
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2006, 02:12:06 PM »
This website has managed to make me keep my sanity for the last 10 years! It's amazing! And the best part of it is the "Daily" section where people post on what they're going to do for the day, update, and get and offer support to all those who are also working.

Believe me, at 3:00 am, to see someone being empathic and responding and offering support when I post "I hate my dissertation, and I never want to work on it again!", is just amazing.

Anyways... if anyone is a graduate student, that's a great site to know about.

:up: :up: :up:

mouser

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Re: PhinisheD
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2006, 02:15:30 PM »
agree, fantastic find.  :up: :up: :up:

vrgirll is on a phd mailing list she also likes (might be from same site?); if not i'll ask her to post it.

vrgrrl

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Re: PhinisheD
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2006, 03:09:57 PM »
ah...well of course there's my favorite site:
http://www.phdcomics.com/

that guy's GOOD! it's like what lilly said...at 3am when things feel hopeless it's good to have a laugh and know it's not just you.

the site mouser is talking about is:
http://www.abdsurvivalguide.com/

i like their newsletter but they do stress their mentor coach system which is $$. i only know of one person who used it and she did finish and she found a good coach. i think, though, that it's therapy focused only on the things blocking you on the dissertation and it's also long distance (via phone). BUT there's nothing wrong with therapy focused on things blocking you from finishing -- it's just another option out there. i like the idea of having those suffering with you help you out rather than a coach. but people need different things so there ya go. :)

michelle...a.k.a. vrgrrl...a.k.a. abd...

Lilly

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Re: PhinisheD
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2006, 04:13:43 PM »
phdcomics is awesome! In my department we printed a bunch of them out and posted them around the walls. They keep us real, ya know  :D

Do you happen to know of any mailing lists or boards for new faculty who are also grad students? Although I taught a previous course, I feel completely incompetent in this one. There's a huge sense of insecurity that I never had before, and I think the kids are picking up on it, and I don't like that. So I want to find out if others have gone through that, and how they handled it.

I was ABT (for MA) for 6 years, before I kicked myself, and finished 160+ pages in 10 days! I just had to line everything up perfectly so that I didn't worry about anything except writing. I'm hoping I can do that again for my dissertation (which will hopefully be in two years).

Okay, back to reading with me.

Darwin

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Re: PhinisheD
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2006, 06:08:03 PM »
OK... how many of us are graduate students - hands up! So far I've managed to cram a three year British PhD programme into 6 years and counting (actually, no one bothers counting anymore). There's no end in sight. Like Lilly, I often throw my hands in the air and scream about how much I hate my dissertation. The neighbours have gotten used to it and I am now considered local colour, rather than dangerously insane. Sigh...
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

vrgrrl

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Re: PhinisheD
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2006, 07:59:16 PM »
lol, lilly -- yeah i'm in the same boat with the teaching a course/new faculty while still working on the dissertation and my therapist tells me i'm gonna have a breakdown. GREAT!!! so wtf do i do to prevent that? "oh, time's up for this week. see you monday." THANKS!

yep, i'm a grad student and i think i qualify for tenure by now. ok, i took some breaks from the program but still. i've been at this a ridiculously long time and -- get this -- i keep thinking that every new mp3 mix i make is gonna be *the one* to help me through the dissertation. bargaining...is that the stage i'm at? it's definitely irrational thinking...but so was starting this whole phd thing. ;)

Darwin

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Re: PhinisheD
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2006, 04:38:11 PM »
Lilly - I managed to neglect this thread for weeks so hopefully you've come to terms with your uncomfortable new class. I can relate to what you were going through, because I've been there too. My situation may be somewhat different because I've been sessional for four years but for three of them was at 75%. I'm applying for a couple of regular positions this year, though, and hope to make it out of non-reg hell!

Anyway, with respect to the insecurity that comes from being new to a course - I have definitely been there and know exactly what you mean about not liking having the students pick up on it. My advice is to stop trying so hard... I know, it's counter intuitive and if you are a perfectionist (and let's face it, you're a PhD candidate which means that you probably are!) it's especially hard, BUT: I've found that if I am putting so much into a class that I'm stressing about it all the time, then I'm not having fun in class and I'm on edge. Being on edge just leaves you open to the class scenting blood and going for the jugular. The fatal trap that I fall into when starting a new class is the feeling that I'm underprepared and that I don't know the material. One of my colleagues (no doubt fed up of my moaning about it) said: "Remember, no matter what, you are smarter than they are". My experience is that I am sadly not even the second or third smartest person in the room in an average class. However, the advice is sound if you think about it more as that you KNOW more about the subject that you are teaching than they do. If you can get this far, you can take the last step in relaxing, which is to realise that you really don't have to be omniscient up there - you don't have to know the intimate details of the text that you've had the class read, you only need to be able to discuss the key concepts and, hopefully, bring your own perspective to it - my experience is that the more of yourself that you can bring into the room, the better. When I started lecturing the real me was wetting myself somewhere far, far removed from the classroom while "instructor-me" crashed and burned in a pyrotechnical display of chin into chest mumbling and abstracted shuffling of lecture notes that I could not read because I had tried to cram so much onto a piece of paper that the text was minute...

I had two epiphanies: the first during my first year of lecturing when I started using powerpoints - what a crutch - and the second when I weaned myself off powerpoints during my third year. Just a random thought, and possibly one completely irrelevant to you, but in addition to the above, my use of powerpoints was more as a crutch than an aide and the more I tried to use them effectively (i.e. as something to augment what I was saying rather than letting the slides say it for me) the more of a crutch it became. Throwing down the crutch and staggering on by myself, so to speak, really gave me confidence and even when I'm lecturing on material that is way out of my area of specialisation, I don't really feel very stressed about it anymore. I could go on, and on, and on (and I already have) so I'll leave it at that.

YMMV - this has served me well teaching intro and second year courses, don't know how one would fare in an upper level class...
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

Lilly

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Re: PhinisheD
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2006, 08:14:08 AM »
When I started lecturing the real me was wetting myself somewhere far, far removed from the classroom while "instructor-me" crashed and burned in a pyrotechnical display of chin into chest mumbling and abstracted shuffling of lecture notes that I could not read because I had tried to cram so much onto a piece of paper that the text was minute...

Oh wow. It's going to take me a while to forget that image. ;D I have totally been there. It's a very uncomfortable place to be. :-[

I had two epiphanies: the first during my first year of lecturing when I started using powerpoints - what a crutch - and the second when I weaned myself off powerpoints during my third year. Just a random thought, and possibly one completely irrelevant to you, but in addition to the above, my use of powerpoints was more as a crutch than an aide and the more I tried to use them effectively (i.e. as something to augment what I was saying rather than letting the slides say it for me) the more of a crutch it became. Throwing down the crutch and staggering on by myself, so to speak, really gave me confidence and even when I'm lecturing on material that is way out of my area of specialisation, I don't really feel very stressed about it anymore.

I have realized that the third week of classes. The powerpoints were getting very boring. I was bored, the students were bored, and I was just not having fun since I was trying so hard to get through the material. I have let that go now, and only use the PP to have maps or actual pictures they can relate to. This has also freed me from the linear approach to the topics. I am more likely to jump around my notes rather than force myself and my students to do the linear thinking.

I am still rather frustrated at the whole thing. Last week we watched a very powerful and intense film. The discussion definitely did not go according to plan, and students left feeling rather frustrated at how it ended. In order for me to do damage control, I might have to cancel one of the readings for next week, which I really don't want to do.

This teaching thing is going to take some getting used to, that's for sure. And, I'm spending so much time getting ready for class that I'm not devoting as much attention as I need to my studies, which is not a good thing.

Better time control! Better time control! Better time control! Grrr.. When will I learn that??

mouser

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Re: PhinisheD
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2006, 08:45:12 AM »
by the way this book has been getting good reviews:
http://www.amazon.co...ations/dp/0735620520

Quote
Improve your presentations and increase your impactwith 50 powerful, practical, and easy-to-apply techniques for Microsoft PowerPoint. With Beyond Bullet Points, youll take your presentation skills to the next levellearning innovative ways to design and deliver your message. Organized into five sectionsDistill Your Ideas, Structure Your Story, Visualize Your Message, Create a Conversation, and Maintain Engagementthe book uses clear, concise language and just the right visuals to help you understand concepts and start getting better results.

Darwin

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Re: PhinisheD
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2006, 01:41:28 PM »
The teaching thing does take getting used to but I love it. I find it really rewarding and it keeps me on my toes - any other job I've had I've been able to feel my mind turning mushy because I just haven't been challenged. The greatest thing about lecturing is the very thing that TERRIFIED me before I started - the questions and debates. Students' questions not only keep me on my toes but also make me THINK. I've had more insights into my own research because I've been teaching something completely unrelated and had a student ask an insightful question than I would have believed possible. I used to think that teaching would seriously get in the way of my research but I find that it augments it. In fact, in the absence of teaching my creativity and interest in research fizzles rather quickly.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin
« Last Edit: October 08, 2006, 01:43:49 PM by Darwin »

Darwin

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Re: PhinisheD
« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2006, 02:05:38 PM »
Mouser - thanks for the link. It's articles and books like that that confirmed my impression that I was going about it all wrong. I haven't seen that book, but I've read a number of magazine, journal and on-line articles that stress that the slides should not overwhelm the audience with information and that, above all, the slide show should NOT replace the lecture but should rather augment it.

Like Lilly, I now use powerpoints very sparingly - more to display images and graphs than to display text. I find that when I do this, though, I often forget to turn to my presentation at all - i.e., everything is ready to got but I wind up talking for three hours and leave the technology alone. I like the fact that the class and I can deal with issues that arise during a lecture, without worrying about the fact that I KNOW that that exact point/issue is going to be repeated five slides down the line. What the students miss out on in terms of information transfer and, to a degree, structure, is made up for in being able to explore an issue "organically". Students feel that they can ask questions and interact with each other and with me naturally and as the need arises. As far as information transfer goes, students can read the textbook anyway - I think many Powerpoint based lectures fall into the trap of summarising the textbook - I know mine have. Powerpoints are great for presenting your own research, ideas, experiences, etc. but less so when the material being dealt is covered in the textbook. I used to find myself in the middle of giving a lecture like that and wonder what the hell I was doing in the classroom! Actually, coming from a British university, I feel much the same way about the textbooks that we use (though I did do my undergrad in Canada, about five minutes from where I was born!). Anyway, a Powerpoint lecture that walks the students through the assigned readings is GREAT for a newbie instructor finding his or her feet as it rigidly structures the flow and pace of the class. This is good for allowing the instructor to work up some confidence about public speaking. Once you hit the point, though, wherein you realise that you're only one step beyond standing there reading the textbook out loud to your class, it's time to move on...

Easy to see why I have no trouble talking for three hours, eh?  :P Sorry about the long-winded posts.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin
« Last Edit: October 08, 2006, 02:07:35 PM by Darwin »