Friday, August 22, 2014

Adventures in Thesis Land, part two, in which I talk about my progress and my plans for the upcoming semester

Mostly I'm procrastinating right now, but the fire alarms in my building are being tested, which means I can't focus on anything productive to save my life.  So I'm doing this instead.

I've completed (more or less) the research portion of my project, and I've been writing every day since the beginning of August.  I expect I'll still be reading for some time to come, but only in little bits and pieces here and there.  Next week I'll be spending a couple days in Richmond at the Virginia Historical Society.  I'm really looking forward to digging through their archives and (hopefully) doing a touch of sightseeing.  The more time I spend in Civil War Richmond, the more anxious I am to actually visit.

I've completed a 35-page draft of my thesis, four and a half months before the first draft is officially due.  I'll spend the next few days revising it, and it gets turned in to my adviser on the 1st.  There was a girl in last year's class who managed to complete a draft of her thesis during the summer, and she ended up being the first student in program history to pass her defense without revisions.  She also won the award for outstanding thesis.  I want both of those things, so I really worked hard this summer to follow her example.  Even when I was traveling to and from Oregon for my best friend's wedding, I was reading articles and taking notes.  Even when I was fighting for 12+ hours a day, I was reading newspapers and dissertations and books in every spare minute, morning, noon, and night.  Since the end of thesis symposium in mid-May, I think I've taken a grand total of twelve days off from actively working on my thesis, and even on those days where I wasn't reading or writing, I was still thinking and talking about it.

Every night as I'm falling asleep, I think about my thesis.  Often I'll have to sit up to write down a genius thought, and then begin the falling-asleep process all over again.  It's annoying, as I'm already prone to insomnia, but also gratifying.

I go back to Staunton on Thursday next week.  As soon as I arrive, I help with Orientation, attend a lecture from a visiting Shakespeare troupe, hole up in the library, do a massive amount of housekeeping (laundry, groceries, unpacking, making big batches of food to freeze, etc), have dinner with my gal pal Sara, attend the second-year back-to-school BBQ, organize the thesis roundtable, memorize a sonnet for my directing class, get my oil changed...the list goes on.  I thought I was being really smart by coming back to town four days before classes start.  I thought I was going to have all kinds of time to get all my stuff done.  Now I think I might not have enough time.

I'm stage managing a really cool production of Measure for Measure in the fall, and rehearsals start on the 20th.  I don't want to toot my own horn (yes I do), but the rehearsal schedule I created is a thing of beauty.  It completely acknowledges and avoids everyone's conflicts.  Our Isabella isn't available in the evenings, our Escalus isn't available in the days,  our Angelo is only available three varying days a week, and I managed to schedule around everything.  The exciting part, though, is that our script is based off the Padua folio cut.  The director (my very dear friend Marshall, who was most recently referred to as my "program spouse") and I are really excited to begin the rehearsal process, and we hope we'll be able to write a conference paper or a journal article based on our experience.  

We also have plans to co-author a paper/article on our production of Clyomon & Clamydes in the spring, but that's another story for a different day.  

I'm terribly excited to be back in Staunton next week.  I'm ready to get back to the grind, to have structure and order to my days, to have projects that require my attention, and to have regular social interaction.  Yes, the fall semester is going to be unbelievably busy, and I will probably cry and complain and tear my hair and gnash my teeth.  But I wouldn't trade it for anything.  I love this program, ever so much.

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