Friday, December 12, 2008

Resigning Myself to Comps Revisions

It took an hour-long meeting with my advisor, the numerous distractions caused by spending the school/work week with the gas to my apartment turned off (no oven, no stove, no hot water, and the vagaries of a temporary space heater), and the seemingly productive analysis of new data from two projects, but I think I've resigned myself to spending my winter break reading several dozen papers on new topics and completely reorganizing my review paper to fit them in.

Monday's weekly progress report to my advisor was completely truthful. The first topic listed had the heading "comps", and the details simply stated that I had not yet decided whether to do the revisions or just quit come May. This prompted a rearranging of the afternoon schedule so that we could meet for an hour and discuss what I want to do long-term, and how comps and the dissertation fit in to this. I can't say I buy her argument that the purpose of the revisions was not to have me jump through hoops in order to pass - the committee's take is reportedly that the revisions would make the comps a stronger introduction for a dissertation, but if that's the case they should pass me on the comps and let me worry about the dissertation when it's time to worry about the dissertation. However, I have been swayed that it's worth at least reading the papers to figure out if this could be my dissertation. I have resigned myself to that much.

Frankly, I'm sick of the topic, but I think that would be true of anything I had to work on that hard for that long, and changing topics now would just mean having to write an entire dissertation introduction from scratch. There's only one approach that wouldn't have me starting completely from scratch - I have completed 2 studies with meaningful results along one theme - but I'm not sure I want to bone up on the background or even pursue that research as the focus of my life for the next year or two. I'm hoping this general lack of interest is just due to Post-Quals Slump, and that I'll find any research interesting once the semester is over (one paper to write, one stack of papers to grade) and I've gotten away from the lab for a while.

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