Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tough Decisions

As you may recall, my pregnancy wasn't very well received in a professional sense by either my advisor or the department director. They were supportive in a friendly capacity, but when it came to actually following policy and providing financial support, or their thoughts about my "usefulness" postpartum, they were both less than supportive, to put it mildly. I muddled through that mess, Mr. Random got a better paying job, and we took the path of least resistance (partly because it's nice for us too, but also it's smarter politically) and I'll be taking fall semester off.


Before that blessed time comes, I had some things to do. There are a number of milestones required of the PhD in my department, and I completed the first one in May - perhaps a bit ahead of schedule, but that was on purpose due to the pregnancy. We (my advisor and I) wanted to get it done before I took the time off. And I was quite prepared and it was a good time to do it. So it was done. I won't hear the results until November 1, however. This is because the committee that grades my efforts does not meet in the summer. And, I requested they not give me the results until November 1, because the results could come in 3 varieties: 1) pass, 2) pass with revision, 3) fail. If I got option 2 - I'd have exactly 4 weeks from receiving the results to complete the revisions. Now, suppose the committee decided to meet early in the semester and give me my results, say...September 3 or something. I could quite possibly be having a baby that day...not exactly in a good position to make revisions. Thus the request that they withhold my results until November 1. The idea being...the child should be born by then...and hopefully we'll have figured out some way to survive so that requiring revisions at that point will be possible, though likely unpleasant. Fine.

Okay, so Milestone #2. Advisor wants me to do that this summer as well. She has a couple reasons - 1) the material I'll need to know to complete it is fresher in my mind now than it will be after 5 months off in Babyland. 2) the more milestones I complete the more likely I'll come back after having the baby (um, ma'm, don't you think that perhaps not FORCING my hand into taking the time off to begin with might also have had that effect? moving on.) And then, it seems she has some messed up idea of when I should graduate. The rate she's pushing to get me out the door would have me graduated with a semester of guaranteed funding left. That seems silly, for one thing, but for another, it's going to lead to major burn out. That's pretty much how I tackled my master's - get in, get out, be done. And I got majorly burnt out, I hated my program, and I now have an advanced degree that I feel like is kind of a joke. It wasn't my best work because I was in such a hurry to finish, and now I kind of regret that. As you can see...I'm leaning toward NOT doing this milestone now. I have several reasons.

First, to do the next milestone, one is supposed to wait for the results of the first milestone. It makes sense. I mean, if you don't pass the first one, you can't reasonably move onto the second. Advisor thinks we can "bend" that rule because of my pregnancy. You know what? I'm loathe to let her use my pregnancy to her advantage when she wants, when she seems to have no regard for it or me professionally.

Second. This is my last summer with just "us" with Mr. Random. And I'm teaching 2 classes as it is. So, if I do attempt this milestone - I'll spend my time teaching and my spare time studying. I would MUCH rather spend this last summer's spare time, with my husband. Thanks.

Third. I seriously feel like attempting it will lead me to burn out, and will make me less likely to want to return after having this baby. (I don't have the option to not return really...I mean, I WANT to be a professor, this is the way to be that...but, it negates one of her logics).

Fourth. I'm tired. I've been so tired the past 3 weeks it's about all I can do to keep up with my teaching responsibilities...and, oh, they're paying me for those. Advisor is paying me for nothing this Paycheck is priority and I'm doing that work first.

And I guess those are my main arguments. Now, just to let Advisor know.

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About this Blog

I have a journal. You know, the real kind...paper, bound in a book form...nice leather cover. And I do write in it...every few months. I like it, but somehow I find it hard to keep up regularly. I'm at a computer nearly all the time, so I find it easier to keep up on this blog. So, that's what this blog is for. To help me journal when I'm away from my journal. A place to collect my thoughts before I lose them to the chaos of my mind.

Or see my first post here. That's why I started this blog.