Monday, March 28, 2005

burst into sunshine

The meeting with #3 was followed by a meeting with my advisor (may his good health and prosperity endure.) As usual, he asked the right questons in answer to my questions, and had some terrific follow-up ideas to what #3 had said. Unfortunately, this was followed by very bad news about two of my (otherwise unrelated) academic siblings. ("Sibling" is the unofficial name applied to people who share an advisor.) The two of us shared a moment of shock and sadness...

after which, I had to do a presentation on the new! and improved! Chapter One to a group of graduate students and faculty. You remember One - the chapter that I really didn't have anywhere near where I wanted it when it was submitted. I haven't discussed my dissertation with so many faculty all at once since qualifying exams; three-fourths of my committee was in attendence.

The meeting showed every sign of beginning poorly, with a difficult word-choice question from #4. Before I'd had time to say anything at all, another student leaped in with a truly brilliant answer... and that's pretty much how the whole meeting ran. Oh, I did some talking, clarified a few points, that sort of thing, but mostly I took notes and listened to the group refine and structure the very general and unformed ideas I'd thrown out. I'd been prepared for the grilling of my life, followed by several choice statements about my inability and unsuitability for the profession (not all academics think that trying to write like a teacher is a worthy goal.) Instead, my advisor (upon whom may the sun shine and the birds sing) called a halt to discussion twenty minutes after the meeting was scheduled to end. Back in his office, he conferred the ultimate compliment: my talk went "very very" well.

I haven't felt this confident in a "very very" long time.

Words Written: two hundred and four (#4 was right)
Lessons Graded: fifty-one (ouch! ouch! ouch!)
Books on Floor: one


Hugh said...

U Rawk. So glad to hear it went well. Though fron the way you probably write, you're one of those kids I knew in HS that would say, "Omigod, I totally blew that test." I would say the same thing. He would get a 92, I would get a 76.

John B. said...


Good for you! The Lord sent you a bit of confidence and compliment, just when you needed it.

Like I always say when things are going bad...'don't let the bastards get you down'. Sometimes academics are critical just for the sake of being critical. Sounds like your advisor is a bit wiser than the rest.

Joe said...

Awesome, awesome, awesome. Good for you!

But are you sure "sunshine" is the right word, in consideration of the heliotropic paradigm it neccessarily invokes?