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Falling Short

October 30, 2003 - 4:21 p.m.

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Last Five Entries:
The Party's Over
July 11, 2004
The Next Day
My Nervous Breakdown
True Confessions: My Life as a Female Impersonator
March 15, 2004
Bite Me
February 29, 2004



Well, bad news. I met with my advisor today, and we agreed that it would be unrealistic for me to complete my thesis by December of this year. That means that I won't graduate this year.

I had undertaken to do the whole thesis in one semester (it usually takes two semesters). I thought I could handle it, since I'm only working part-time which leaves me the time to devote to my thesis, and I'm a fast writer anyway. And actually, my ability to handle it isn't the problem.

The problem is that, do to the research part of it, I need permission from various places that have dragged their feet. It took me three months to get the approval from the Human Subjects Review Board at school to do the research in the first place.

Oddly, my advisor congratulated me on the way that I "handled" the HSRB, because the HSRB traditionally difficult on the professors in my department. My advisor thinks that three months may be record time for someone in my department getting approval from the HSRB to do a research project. This is odd because, if true, my advisor should have warned me earlier that completing my proposed thesis this semester was unrealistic (which may have allowed me to do another proposal which I could have finished on time).

The other half the permissions are to come from the court which oversees the program I'm studying, and my request to the court is currently in a black hole. But even if I resolved that tomorrow, five weeks isn't enough to do my research and write about it.

My advisor gave me the option of changing my topic to something easier and throwing something together that would be adequate for a passing grade this semester. That would allow me to graduate this semester.

I want to graduate this semester very badly, because I want to get my dream job (whatever that is) and move on with my life. But, pride won't let me do a half-assed, merely adequate thesis. It has to be more than adequate, it has to be exceptional. And I need an A to bring my GPA over 3.8 anyway (there's a huge difference between 3.78 and 3.81, in my mind). Therefore, I am taking an extra semester to complete the thesis.

My original sequence of events was to graduate this semester, then start looking to land my dream job at the beginning of next year. Well, I can't wait that long to enter the workforce again. Living with my parents is driving me crazy. I could start practing law again full-time- that would be easy enough to arrange and it would be decent money. But a few more weeks of practicing law is going to drive me crazy.

Some good news is that my advisor is going to help me look for something to do which I would like. One of the good things about my advisor, other than being a heck of a smart guy, is that he's well-connected and can hook me up with a think tank/non-profit policy and advocacy group/soft-money slush fund. I'm not well-connected, so plugging into his network will be very helpful to me.

He also promised today (again) to return to me a short story that I gave him two years ago for critique. I want very much to take one of my short stories to polished, final, publishable form, but no one I know likes to read them and give feedback. (Maybe I should take that as a sign- if my friends don't want to read my stories, how would I expect strangers to want to read them?)

All-in-all, it's a huge disappointment that I won't be graduating this semester. For a while, I've known in the back of my mind that the thesis wasn't going to come together on time, but it's today that the hard reality has set in.

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