Wednesday, December 06, 2006

and now the rest of the story

... thesis has been finished.

I sent the final draft at 3:15 yesterday.

Here's why I was so stressed. It had nothing to do with the topic. It had nothing to do with the page requirement. It had everything to do with the fact that I was supposed to be able to pick the mentor of my choosing and have help all through the process. I didn't have any of that. I did the thesis completely and totally on my own. No help.

It started back in September. Email from the head of the English department at Big Name Private College. I was hoping to be able to do a creative project, but no can do. No, problem. I pull a topic out of my ass. "The American Dream in terms of: The Great Gatsby, Death of a Salesman, and Tortilla Curtain." Eh, not bad. Not great, but not bad. I wasn't willing to dive into books I hadn't already read. These I have read to death.

I then go on the, great white futile search for a mentor. See, I've been doing night classes at satellite locations and 99.9% of my professors have been adjuncts. The only full-time person I know, I didn't care for. (This past summer. She missed two weeks out of a five week course. Yeah. That was worth the $1,000.) So, I go with my favorite adjunct instructor. Nick beat me to the punch by literally five minutes. Damn, gay. So, can't have her. I go with option number two, he already has four students and can't take on a fifth. K. I go with option number three. Contemp. lit isn't her dilly-yo. K. Choice four....repeat until you get to six. See. I had nothing...absolutely go on in terms of which door I should pick because I didn't know jack or shit about any of these people. Never met any of them. Never taken a class with any of them they also know nothing about me. At this point we're already almost two weeks into it and I'm still without a mentor. I call the dept. head and he tells me, "I'm an Americanist, so I'd be a good choice."


What the hell is an, Americanist? Am I an Americanist, because you know, I'm an American?

Anyway. Finally have a mentor. My sixth choice, but I finally have one. I tell him my paper topic. I'm told, "It's okay, yet fairly obvious." I take out, "Death of a Salesman" and tell him how I am going to proceed. I'm not doing some lame-ass character analysis or anything like that. I'm going to do it in terms of how futile the American Dream is and how it's gone from being about substance and family to being about materialism and how ultimately the Dream consumes a person and can kill them. He likes it. Yay! me.

I proceed to meet all deadlines. However, I'm supposed to meet with my mentor throughout this whole process. I email him to see about getting together. I give him my schedule: work full-time and part-time, taking 16 credits, I work until 5:30 every night and I live 80 miles away from the main campus. Could we meet somewhere half-way or on a Saturday as it would be after 7pm by the time I would be able to meet?

Nope. He wasn't willing to meet half-way. He wasn't willing to meet on a Saturday.


We agreed we would just do this through email and phone.


I meet all deadlines for outlines, sources using, ect.

Then October 10th happened. That was the day I discovered I was in the wrong class, (the Java class) and the class I need to be in won't be offered until Feb. So, I am no longer graduating in December. Or, next week, however, I want to look at it. All ambition, drive, gritted teeth determination, going on all cylinders on six hours of sleep, perpetually perkiness, always optimistic, yet slightly cynical went completely to hell. I was now beyond stressed as this completely screwed everything up. Grad school had to be delayed, getting another part-time job was now going to be virtually impossible, my life was going to have to be put on hold...again, and I had to magically whip $1,000 out of my pretty little boh-tay, and my, "I totally rock and kick-ass because I managed to complete four years of college in two, but more importantly, I just kick-ass," trip to Greece wasn't going to happen. Therefore, I was tired. Tired, stressed, bitter, and my cynical level was at an all new high. Oh, and perpetually perky had flown the coop. As one person put it, "...I remember when you use to be fun." Which got a response of, "Gee, Ass, that didn't hurt my feelings." Yeah.

Moving on.

I sent my "mentor" a very, very rough draft at the end of October, as the final was due December 1st. I heard nothing back.

I sent another pretty schlocky* draft at the first part of November. I heard nothing back.

I then sent Nick a draft to look at a couple days before Thanksgiving to get some feedback on as I was starting to get very irritated with my "mentor."

Nick said, good, but not cohesive in any way.
Yeah, I know.

I was then so sick of trying to work with the schlockyity, schlock, schlock I had that I then started a new 30+ page draft the week after Thanksgiving. Again, finally is due 12/1.. Still no word from my mentor on anything I've sent him.

I then talk with my mentor and find out he hasn't received anything I've sent him.


I fax him one of my schlocky drafts. Just a clue: It takes eight minutes and 43 seconds to fax 30 pages. Just lettin' you all know.

He tells me, my research is great, my ideas are great, my writing is shit.

Okay. he didn't say, shit. He did say, my writing wouldn't pass.

I then tell him, no, shit Sherlock.

Okay. I didn't say, Sherlock. I did say, "Yeah, I know. It was a very, very bad draft. I was just showing you my ideas and what I had to see if it was okay."

He didn't seem convinced. I think he thinks I'm an idiot. Oh, and he had no sense of humor. How the hell did I get this guy? Doesn't he know I'm hee-larious?

Anyway. Incredibly long story short. (No. Really. It is much longer than this.) Repeat the parts where he doesn't receive my drafts and I have to fax it, three times.

Repeat this next part at least eight times: He never receives any of my emails or drafts, however, it takes me four-five days before I receive notification by email stating that it didn't go through.
Then there was last weekend: Since he isn't receiving my emails we decide I will email my draft to his home account so he can look at it over the weekend. He calls to tell me he got it and he'll look at it Saturday morning. He'll give me his feedback and I can turn in my final on Monday the 4th. (Deadline was Friday 1st). He called early Saturday morning to tell me his computer crashed and he lost my paper. I didn't get this voice mail until late Saturday afternoon as I had to work. I then sent it to a different email address. He would go into the office on Sunday to get it. He called early Sunday to say, he didn't receive my email. I try a different email addresses. I send two, one with my paper attached, one without it attatched. I call him to tell him his. He is very excited as he received the one without and he anticipates the other with will follow shortly. "Well, see. I sent the one with the attatchment, first."

At this point we're both frustrated. He tells me to fax it to him on Monday, he'll give me feedback, he extends my deadline to Tuesday, but he still wants me to defend it on Thursday.

K. No, pressure there.

He gets back to me Monday afternoon. He likes it. Good paper, here are his suggestions and some changes to make. Great. I'm flying high. Go, me! Then, then, he says something that pushes me over perverbial edge and makes my stress level increase and my heart beat to cardiac arrest levels. "Yeah, I just really wish we had more time to work on this together, to tighten your quotes and such."

I'm sorry. What was that? Ummmmmmmmmm, yeah. I really wish you had found it in your life to make the time to meet me half-way somewhere so you'd know who the hell I was when I go and defend this thing. I wish you would have returned my phone calls, and received my emails so then we would have had more time to work on this together.

Yeah, I didn't say any of that. Instead I say. "Okay. Well. I want an 'A' on this paper." He, of course, can't guarantee that. He, of course, doesn't know how the other members of the department will react to the paper." I hold off from saying, "Um, yeah, Dick, I mean, Todd, no, shit." Instead I say, "Well, yeah, I know that." He wants me to make the changes that day/night and turn it into him the next day and he still wants me to defend it Thursday. (This was Monday, 12/4.) Blood. pressure. so. high. I don't feel this is fair to me. I'm not whining, I'm not bitching. I simply don't think it's fair. I tell him, "I take full responsibility for the emails not getting to you, but c'mon." That, I did say. He has full faith that I can do this. Personally, I think that because he is the dept. head that it will reflect poorly on him if I have to change my defense date, my deadline, or take an incomplete and finish this in the spring. Just a guess, but I'm guessin' I'm right.

I think about it for about 10 minutes. Nope. Not happy. Not fair. This sucks. Plus, I didn't have my laptop that night to be able to work on it at home, I'd have to stay at work. (Which is no big deal. I stay late all the time to finish up papers so I don't have to do it when I get home.) I also was afraid that in my rush to fix the suggestions he had that I would inevitably make more mistakes. I call and tell him this.

Sure, no problem. I can have until Wednesday, change my defense date to Monday, 11th.

I finished my thesis yesterday at 3:15 and emailed it to him. Stress level back to, not even palpable. Perpetually perky always optimistic yet slightly cynical girl has returned. As one person put it yesterday, "It's nice to see you smile again."


I called him yesterday and again this morning to tell him I emailed it and can he please let me know either if he did or did not receive the damn..I mean, great piece, of writing I sent him. I am still waiting to hear from him.


The vodka tasted awesome last night. The cuddle time on the couch was much appreciated as well. And life is back to normal. (Whatever that means.)

Thanks everyone for the cheerleading. It was much, much appreciated!

*Schlocky is Yiddish for, 'el crapo,' which is Spanish for, 'big pile of poo.'


Jay said...

So, what you're saying is: you need sex in the worst way!

I might be up for that.

It sounds like with all of the stress you've been under, you might end up hurting me in bed.

I might be up for that as well. :)

Party Girl said...

I'd snap you like a twig.

A twig.

So.....what time can you get here?

Side note: the 20 lbs that I've gained in this whole school thing, Yeah, gone over the past couple months. Stress + being too tired to even try to eat anything other than a bowl of Cheerieos, Yep, that'll take care of it.
Of course, it was 10 lbs in each boob, but hey, extra weight, gone.

Vodka consumption will return to its regular levels.
And this blog will return to its regularly scheduled boobage, sex talk, inner dorks, just sayin's, and all things naked, tomorrow.

Old Man Crowder said...


Tortilla Curtain?

Is that slang for vagina?

Bre said...

isn't that a glorious feeling? I'm so proud of you for finishing despite some pretty ridiculous obstacles - you rock!!

Will said...

Jeebus. I don't have time for this shit. I read it tomorrow at work.

wavslidn said...

Congrats - told you that you could do it. Glad to hear that you finished it up "early". If you still need to release some of that tension, let me know - I will help you out.

Will, you always make me laugh (I waited until I got to work, too)!

GirlGoyle said...

I got flashbacks reading this!! Been there done that - thesis mentors SUCK. there is no two ways about it. I had to write a 210 page thesis on the Palestinian issues...ya...dry, boring and in dire need of help - not a mentor in sight. They don't care. Oh well glad you made it through!

ptg said...

yay! now party like you mean it!

Pyrhonik said...


This was a great post to read, cuz I like the way that you write :) What a fuckin odyssey though, you might have had an easier time climbing Everest.

I'm happy to see you clear of that (I hope the friggin email made it through) and wish you joy for the holidays!