Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Race to be PhinisheD - a new outlook on the blog

When I started it at the end of 2008, this blog represented a different phase of my life.
First of all, I looked like this:
Me with my mom October 2008 - first semester of grad school
·      I was 22 and had just started my master’s program
·      I had never ran a marathon and was preparing for my debut in Spring 2009
·      I 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
·      In 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.
·      I 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!

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