My name is Vanessa Corcoran and in 2008, I moved to Washington DC to work on my master's degree in Medieval History and started training for my first marathon. Over 100 races, a master's, and a Ph.D. later, I defended my doctoral dissertation, "The Voice of Mary" at the Catholic University of America in 2017. With the Ph.D. in hand, it's time to embark on new adventures. Follow my new story at: VanessaRoseCorcoran.Wordpress.com
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Race to be PhinisheD - a new outlook on the blog
I started it at the end of 2008, this blog represented a different phase of my
First of all, I looked like this:
Me with my mom October 2008 - first semester of grad school
was 22 and had just started my master’s program
had never ran a marathon and was preparing for my debut in Spring 2009
was close to ending my college relationship and ultimately getting ready to be
single, learn more about what I wanted and needed from a relationship
a lot of ways, I was very lonely. I was settling into life in DC, trying to
adjust to graduate school life, trying to figure out what being a
post-collegiate adult meant.
wrote trying to connect with others, to track my running, and to chronicle my
new life in the city.
Really, since I started
dating my now-husband, I fell off the wagon in terms of blogging consistently,
as I think I just got busy and happy, and didn’t use the blog as an outlet,
because I didn’t need a virtual sounding board – I married one!
Me and my husband at my brother's wedding - November 2015
But I'm going to revamp my blog,
which I hope will help me with my dissertation. The new subtitle is "Race to be PhinisheD" (hopefully you get the pun - Ph.D) and
the main goal is to use it to help me chronicle and write out some of my ideas,
keep me on track, plan a schedule and stay accountable. My best running
happened when I was writing about it and I think the same can be possible for
my writing. I think overall 2015 was a good year for my writing, particularly
because my advisor liked my first chapter. However, the second one needs some
significant revision, and that's what I'm tackling now, as well as developing
the structure for my third chapter.
I want to use these final 2 weeks of 2015 to plan
out things for the spring semester. This is particularly important because I
will be teaching in the spring! I'll be at the University of Maryland, which is
the third university I'll have taught at. I'm teaching a class called "God
wills it!: The Crusades in medieval and modern perspectives" for the
history department. I'm really looking forward to it and have been enjoying
planning out some of my lectures.
But everything I've done has led me to 2016 -
the year I hope to graduate. There have been many wonderful things about
graduate school, but I'm also looking forward to closing this chapter of my
life. This should happen nearly simultaneously with turning 30 in 2016.
I do plan to write about running, and I do think a marathon
is still in my future. But the training for those big marathons, my Boston PR,
the training and studying I did for my comprehensive exams, has set me up for
this coming year: training to finish the dissertation.
Instead of mileage counts, there will be more emphasis on
word counts, I’ll chronicle revisions to my chapters, instead of race descriptions.
The intensity that fueled my training will spark my writing instead. And just
like when I would lead up to a marathon, and go back and review my training
log, I’ll work my way up to my defense tracking my writing. The marathon was
not an insurmountable task: I can vanquish the dissertation too. Now off to
plan for January!