Monday, January 22, 2007


This is my plan to get me through the next semester. Because of a new departmental funding rule that seems to have been created over the break, if one recieves four years of funding (counting fellowships coming from the outside) then one will not recieve any more funding from the department(ie. TA-ships) after the fourth year. I am in my fourth year. Although, I have only actually recieved TA-ships from the department for one of those years, I have recieved other forms of fellowship funding for the other three years. Therefore, I have determined to be extremely serious about finishing not only my thesis this semester, but also my minor coursework, my French-for-reading-knowledge exam, and my preliminary exams by the end of the summer. I have also applied for another grant for next year, but if I don't get it, I will not return to Nigeria this summer as I had been planning but will study for and hopefully pass my prelims by August, then return to Nigeria in October or so.

That means that I need to finish my thesis revisions by the end of January and prepare to defend, complete grant applications at the beginning of February (and a conference paper for a conference I [probably foolishly] submitted to last semester), keep up with four classes, form a dissertation committee and a prelims reading list, and begin a French for reading knowledge class near the end of the semester.

I did not make New Years resolutions this year because I never keep them anyway, but these are my new semester resolutions. 1) be in bed by midnight, 2) get up in the morning by at latest 8am, turn on the computer and begin to work, 3) no internet or email until an hour before I have to leave for my class. (This means weaning myself from excessive blog-reading.) If I am expecting an urgent email, then I will check in the morning but will give myself a 10 minute deadline. 4) Return home immediately after class (depending on when class gets out) and write until 7pm. 5) After 7pm, read for class and do any homework. (Hopefully, I'll just have final papers and not a lot of midterm stuff.) 6) On my days off (Friday and Saturday), I will pretend like I have a 9-5pm job in revision of the thesis, with a one hour lunch break. (That worked well for me this weekend). 7) Somewhere in there, I need to fit in duties like cooking. With God's help it will all get done.

Unlike last semester, where I felt traumatized from the very beginning, I am looking forward to this semester. I'm enjoying my revisions. I'm looking forward to all of my classes. I will refuse to get obsessed and upset about things I have no power over (like departmental politics) and those things that I do have power over (roommate politics; excessive blog debating.) I will focus on doing what I have to do to get done.

This morning, I found that I was holding my breath as I wrote. I have to remind myself to breathe.

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