July 2009


I’m in first revisions right now. The good news is that 3/5 chapters aren’t hideous to have to rewrite. There’s nothing major, just some additional information and supplemental stuff.

I feel good about that. I hope nothing grave happens when my second set of revisions occur (Monday). I feel like I can breathe a little more than I have been for awhile. The thesis has been so time consuming. Even though I still have plenty of work, I don’t have to go crazy trying to cram it all in.

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My advisor returns tomorrow, hopefully with edits for me to do. I was glad to have a two day break. I taught labs, of course, but we had a short lab for the final lab of the session. The students have been very pleasant overall and hardworking.

I’ve also continued my job search. What’s strange is that suddenly a lot of jobs have gone up, even though they must begin for the academic year. I’ve applied to some dream jobs like that, and I wonder if they take their time, if they’re overworked, or if I’m just plain not considered. I find it strange that I don’t have answers about those jobs and that academic year jobs are having ads placed now. I don’t know anything about HR, just that when I was interviewing for jobs in 2006/2007, I would go quite some time without hearing about my status and that interviews sometimes happened so late that I forgot I had applied! Maybe things take longer now, since so many people are applying for jobs.

I went to yoga tonight, which was a great distraction from fretting about my thesis. Even though it is out of my hands at this moment, I am concerned. I obviously stay worried about getting job. The economy is brutal in the US, and I’ve heard from one of my friends who has tons of friends that the only way he knows that people are getting hired is if they have an in with the company. I don’t have any ins :(. Yoga is nice, because it’s relaxing and I was able to strictly focus on being there.

Let’s hope tomorrow brings some good news on the thesis and job front.

I don’t feel good being done. It may be that I was working 10-12 hours minumum every day on my thesis for the past three weeks. However, I know it isn’t great or even good. Two sections I’m happy with, one I’m tepid towards, and two sections are just not good in my opinion. Unfortunately, the analysis was one of the not good sections. Writing that was remarkably difficult, even though I’d say I fair very well when writing like lab reports.

I sent it to my advisor, because well, I’m stuck on how to make my thesis great. I don’t like doing that, because I feel like it reflects poorly on me and I don’t want to disappoint my advisor or make him think I didn’t take my time. I have really tried. My life basically had stopped for my thesis, and I had put a lot of thought into understanding everything in it.

Let’s hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

I thought I’d throw my 2 cents out there, since everyone else is commenting on this article. The gist of it is whether contests and certifications have validity.

I’m not a competitive dancer, nor do I plan on being one. I’ve never been interested in competitions in general. That just isn’t who I am. Life is plenty competitive enough for me. I have entered a few competitions (arguably, my scholarship was a competition) and been successful, but on a whole, I’m not interested.

With that said, I don’t have an inherent issue with competitions for dance. Some of my dance friends like that the competitions force them to focus on their dance in a different way and that they may get feedback. I don’t know anyone who competes for the glory.  I imagine there may be some people, but what I’ve learned from my dance friends is that it’s more of a personal competition, like running a marathon. Sure, someone wins, but they are always happy that they participated. I don’t know how much of a “measure” it is for a dancer. If the contest is well-reputed and has good judges consistently, I would be more interested in the dancer as a dancer. However, the proof is in the pudding. I wouldn’t go ga-ga over a dancer who wins a contest, simply because she wins a contest.

As far as certification, I think they’re good for when people want to be certified in someone’s style. If the certification requires rigorous training and will fail people who aren’t up to snuff, I think there is a lot of validity in it. I’m not interested in being certified in someone’s style, but certification for a dance teacher isn’t a bad thing. Having switched teachers multiple times, if I had a particular style that I love, certification would be really useful to locate another teacher in that same style. Again, the proof would be actually witnessing the teacher, but the certification would help eliminate going to teachers who aren’t in a style I like.

At the end of the day, I’m rather ambivalent on the topic of the validity of certifications and contests. I think they have a lot of personal growth to offer to people. I’ve interacted with some people online who love the Suhaila Salimpour techniqe and go all out to become certified in it. From what I understand, it’s very much about personal growth, not expecting that the certification automatically makes them a good dancer. Being a goal-oriented person, I can understand that, even if I don’t have the desire to compete or certify in a style.

The job market is as ugly as they say… I need a vacation after all the thesis writing and job searching. I need a job, of course, but I think it’s a little too much on my plate right now. I can’t wait until I get hired by someone, anyone, and I finish my thesis. Both are on my mind, even in my dreams.

I’m about a week behind on where I anticipated being with my thesis. Writing the analysis section took longer than I thought. It is daunting to look at piles of results and make some observations. I think two of the chapters that I’ve completely finished are strong. My analysis chapter isn’t quite as strong, but I think it’s okay. I have to finish that and the intro this week.  The conclusion is really the only thing I have yet to touch, but that can’t be written until I write everything else!

  1. You really don’t know that much. I don’t want to get tripped up when it comes to defense time, and I’m also curious. I spend a lot of time trying to understand minute details. I’ve been very much humbled by how little I know.
  2. Historical papers are difficult to read. One of the big papers for my research is Einstein’s diffusion paper. We’ve had trouble following some of the math, like some assumptions he has made, and it appears no one else can explain the assumptions. They’re just bam! there and they make the derivation work out.
  3. You can’t allocate enough time. I work on my thesis at least 8-10 hours a day (hence no blogging), and I’m still behind on the schedule I made. I’m figuring stuff out most of the time. I barely want to take time to eat lunch or go buy it; I’m lucky my assistants help keep me sane and fed.
  4. Technology=Evil. With all the stress of everything, technology likes to break down. Mathematica was irritable today and required so many restarts. Latex, the program used to write the thesis, has its days too.
  5. You have to make sacrifices. My dancing honestly has been put to the way side. I have skipped social functions just to work on my thesis.  I do fit in yoga, because I need some kind of physical activity. My wrist aches from computer usage. I don’t want to be damaged when I’m finished. I really wish there were more hours in the day to do dance, be social, etc.
  6. The thesis engulfs your life. I didn’t anticipate my thesis being on my mind so much, even when I’m not working on it. That was the other reason I am not dancing as much. I can’t shut off the thesis writing part yet. This has overtaken my life.

As part of a “homework” assignment from Danielle, she had me attempt to choreograph something. By talking to her, I have solidified more ideas of what choreography can be, like what you can do with it. I’m curious what people prefer when they see a dance. A dance in general, not just Middle Eastern dance.

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