Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Academia Sucks

So I haven't updated on the thesis issue in a while, because I have been sooooooooooooooo frustrated about it. My friends will recall that my committee dicked me around for two full terms over my prospectus, and then finally agreed on a version that was almost exactly what I had originally written last fall. The changes should only have needed a couple weeks, if any of mu illustrious committee had known what the hell they wanted. So I wasted the entire school year.

When I finally defended my prospectus in the Spring, we had discussed how the thesis should be formed and focused. I spoke to my chair about defending in the fall, but she thought it was best for me to do it over the summer, even though I had classes and such. So I said OK. And then she left town. So I emailed her, and said that one of the other committee members had suggested that I send each chapter to her to be approved before sending it on to the rest of the committee, and she agreed.

So I spent the summer working my fat ass off. I haven't had down time since May. I have had sooo much to do with classes, and every extra hour was spent on my thesis. I wrote it stemming exactly from what we had discussed at the defense. As I finished each chapter (in order) I sent them to my chair. And never heard a word of any kind from her. At all.

But there were all sorts of deadlines looming, so I couldn't just stop writing, so I kept going. And still no word. And then it was so close to the final deadline, I had to send it to the rest of the committee with no word from her. And then, I didn't hear back from one of them at all, and didn't know where on the earth he was. I barely ate for days, I was so stressed.

Then I finally heard back, and apparently they are all in agreement that my thesis went entirely in the wrong direction, and the entire damn thing needs to be rewritten. If I was really going so very far off course, my chair should have been able to let me know that with the first freaking chapter, but she didn't. Apparently, she never read a single page of it until a few days before the deadline. The direction they all think it should have gone in was NOT part of the final, approved prospectus, and it was NOT anything we had discussed at the defense. They all just assumed, without ever speaking to me about it, that I would automatically focus my thesis around elements of the early prospectus' that they had rejected.

So here I am working myself into a freaking ulcer all summer, with family and health and money and class and all these other issues on top of the freaking thesis, and 3 days before the deadline they all say 'this isn't what we wanted, start over.' To which my immediate reaction, admittedly silent, was "fuck you. You aren't the ones writing it. You have been, collectively, as much help as a club foot to a f*#^ing ballerina." Which surprised me, as had I been asked, I probably would have said that such a reaction from my committee would have devastated me. It didn't it just pissed me off. If they want specific things from me, they could at least have the freaking courtesy to let me know about it before I spend the worst freaking summer of my life working on this sheisa.

And somehow, it never even occured to them that this might be interfering with my other school stuff. The three credits I had to add to summer term so that I could defend, are wasted, and have screwed up the rest of my shedule for no reason. And now, I have to find another term in which to add 3 more credits, because you have to carry those the term you defend. Since I am already at the limit for credits each term, that translates into over $1000 that I am just going to have to pull out of my ass to pay to defend next summer.

And when I spent a day trying to figure out how to handle everything, their reaction was that I was 'wasting my time' to do so before I had heard more detailed comments from them. Which sounded to me like they were saying I couldn't do it, the past two years of my life were completely wasted. I am pretty sure they just didn't want me to jump the gun, but that's not what it sounded like. Plus, I am going to have to fill out all sorts of petitions and paperwork and shit to get this fixed, so how exactly is it inappropriate for me to consider these things? They don't seem to realize that my life and schedule and finances do not automatically adjust themselves to fit every freaking whim of my damn committee.

Of course, I haven't said any of this to them. My friends seem to think I should, but I still have to work with these self important mutants for another year, so I don't think it would be helpful to put them on the defensive. So I just have to sit here and simmer in my juices and figure out how to please these sadists.

So that's the update on my summer. Hope everyone else's is going better.

On the bright side, next week I start my first student teaching here. Suuuuuper excited. It's the most diverse school in the area, and the very poor students get bussed there, so it should be a great place to learn to teach all kinds of students. It's broken into 'small schools' - which is a new idea funded by the Gates Foundation, focusing on taking large schools and having smaller schools set up inside them, so that the students are taking classes with 100 others rather than 400 other students, and can really get to know their teachers and peers, etc. Each shool has a focus, which students pick from in the 8th grade. If you look at the site, the 3 pictures represent the 3 schools (a fourth will be added next year). I know this is kinda snarky, but I can't get over how weird the first boy (IHS) looks - like a sci-fi movie, where he's supposed to be from some alien otterish-humanoid race. I'm sure the kid doesn't look like that in person, it's just a kinda weird picture.


Blogger Wendy G said...

maybe YOU would have rather been eaten by a shark? Sorry you are getting the run around! There is no excuse for that treatment. I suppose I am with the crowd that you should tell someone you are frustrated, not that it would change anything necessarily but they say the squeaky wheel and all that right. Anyway break a leg with the student teaching that sounds awesome. I can't wait to hear how it goes. : )

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Blogger Becky said...

Oh, I'm so sorry to read about this. I would be blowing steam out my ears and then some, if I were you. I have to agree that you're probably right in that you can't say anything negative to them, until you get your degree. A friend of mine had a similar issue with a professor that was his guide (or whatever it's called) for his thesis and they had a conflict, and it was Hell on my friend.

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