Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Hump Day Post

I think every hump day needs a post just because it's hump day.

This Wednesday has been pretty good. Let's see I sewed a bunch of gnomes up for the kids yesterday and it was nice to see them taking over my counter this morning. Made me smile despite the little sleep I got. I'm starting to get super pumped about going to see A Place to Bury Strangers on Sunday. To further along my excitement, H showed me this video this morning. Then I listened to them on my way to school, and have to admit I'm kind of in love with Oliver.

Lately I've been doing a lot of thinking about being wimpy. I too often avoid confrontations, and always end up looking bad for doing so. As a result, I let people push me into decisions with which I'm not always comfortable. I have a really hard time speaking up for myself. And a lot of my weight issues revolve around this fact. Eating is how I stifle the feeling that I should stand up for myself. This is the problem with my thesis.

You see, initially I felt flattered that my current adviser A wanted to work with me. She is brilliant and engaged in the theory I love. I thought it a compliment that she wanted so much to work with me. So much so that I allowed myself to be pushed into taking her on as my adviser. And I dropped my old adviser in a totally wimpy way. I should have seen that she didn't know anything about me, and likely her motivation was to get at my old adviser, S, whom she hates. As that semester went on, I alternated between loving and hating her. This feeling as only intensified. I feel like she left me out to dry on my thesis. She left right after taking me on, and now she's taken a new job. Throughout this year, I've had no guidance, no respect for my writing process, just: This is how all theory people write. I don't write this way. I have to know where I'm going before I can write. It's okay to end up on another direction but I need to be at least pointed somewhere.

I've been finding it nearly impossible to write on my thesis. I have no idea what the hell I'm trying to say. I don't feel comfortable tackling testimonal culture as I know next to nothing about it. I'm not really big on the theories I'm using except for the Foucualt. Problem is that I can figure out how to use Foucault. This leads to the other day: I read over my thesis, and think "How in the hell did I get here?" You see this is not the thesis I wanted to write. I found a brief sentence that I wrote when I was still with S, and it summed up what I wanted to do. And this idea really works with Foucault which is likely why I got all excited about him in the fall. Yet I just wrote 120 pages of stuff I hate. Stuff that makes no sense to me. Stuff that I think might be A's thesis not mine. I have comments all over my thesis that say things like: "Discourse is not what you mean." And I'm thinking "Ummm...yeah it is." And in addition, I don't want to write about desire, Freud, etc. I want to write about media discourses and how they construct certain religion identities.

Thus when I got to school, I went right to S, and said "I'm going to take another semester, will you work with me?" He gladly agreed, and reminded me that he had no problem working with Foucault (he doesn't really like Foucault). Then I checked in the prof. I TA for and asked him if he would be willing to do an independent study with me. He said no problem. I talked to our graduate director, and he was fine with it, even asked me if I wanted the TAship next year.

The ball is now rolling. I'm excited again. But scared to break up with A. I'm likely just going to tell her that I'm going into another semester, and she can't be my adviser if she's gone. But I will tell her over the phone that I'm reorganizing my committee. She'll never tolerate being on it if she's not in charge, and I can't have that. I need to get this done, and that will happen with S. I just need the strength to not be wimpy.


Lolabola said...

all the power to you, I'm sure you'll find the strength. How great to have some clarity on this. It sounds like it was a confusing journey to get here and you sound optimistic now. Even I felt excited reading your last two paragraphs

MTP said...

Good luck with everything! The politics of academia are a nightmare, but it seems like you are doing the right thing.

Ginger said...

Thanks Lola. I am very excited. It was like pushing through a fog and finally finding some clearity.

MTP: Thanks. The politics are horrible but I've got to learn to be stronger. I tend to let my insecurities keep me from expressing but I need. I have to keep telling myself that the thesis is not about them but about me. And it's the right thing. I've already been jotting down ideas:)

John B-R said...

Ginger, it's not like you haven't seen this coming. I - I dare say we ALL - believe you CAN write the dissertation you want to write, and that you WILL write it. What are a few minutes of awkwardness? Take a deep breath, tell S I'm kissin' you off baby, don't slam the door on the way out ... the shaking will pass ... breathe deeply ... it'll all be ok. Not like you don't know all this, but friends support friends, don't they?

Jess said...

Just to add my voice: good luck, I know you can do it and it sounds like you're doing what's best!

Erica said...

I´ve been trying to post a comment to this entry more than 5 times but for one thing or another I haven´t been able to finish it. So, here I go one more time and if I have to go and it´s not finish, I´ll publish it that way.

I lived a similar situation when I was going to start working on my proposal (for my dissertation.) I changed advisers but soon realized I made a huge mistake. It was a really awkward situation. But at the end everything turned out fine. I went back to my old adviser and I didn´t really break up with the other one. The way I put things when I went to talk to him gave him the opportunity to be him the one saying he couldn´t be the chair of my committee. And there were not hurt feelings at all.

I think that you´re idea of telling her that you´re going to take another semester and that you´ll be taking independent studies is a good idea. That way, she may be the one telling you what you want to hear: that in that case she can´t be your adviser anymore and that you´d have to reorganize your committee.

Good luck!