Always be Dissertating
There was one major constant in my life growing up. Whenever my brother came home from college on breaks he and my mom would undoubtedly settle on the couch and watch a movie. Usually, they opted for strange movies. Sure, they watched the films nominated for awards, but they generally sought out the weird ones.
Of all the movies they watched, there was only one movie they disliked: Glengary Glen Ross. For years it became a running joke between the two. Several years later, when I became a movie person, myself, my brother and mom were overjoyed. Now they had a third person to enjoy watching movies. My brother was particularly pleased, as it made Christmas shopping much easier, since he could just buy me a few DVDs of films he thought I should watch (this is pre-Netflix, obviously). I will never forget the Christmas when I opened his gift and found his copy of Glengary Glen Ross, given to him by our mom and re-gifted to me as an ironic present. Well, I watched the movie, and like them, hated it. Still, one scene always makes me laugh. Alec Baldwin, playing the role of Blake, tells the struggling sales crew to put down the coffee. Because, after all, coffee is for closers only. He then delivers the iconic line: ABC – Always be Closing.
Well, the time has come for me to adopt my own rendition of the phrase: A.B.D. Always be Dissertating. I successfully defended my dissertation proposal last Monday. That means all that’s left between me and finishing grad school is that pesky dissertation. That should be no problem, right? With one more hurdle cleared in the graduate student process, I’ve found myself reflecting on my first few years of graduate school today.
There’s a certain comfort in taking classes. As someone who thrives on repetition and fears change, the routine of classes speaks to me. Weekly readings, short writing assignments, rough drafts, due dates, final papers, all wrapped up into a nice sixteen-week schedule. That regularity will be hard to find now, and I suppose that is what makes me nervous. Fortunately for me, self-made schedules and deadlines have never been hard to set. But that’s part of the process, I suppose, and something I should relish. I’m exciting about my topic, I’m looking forward to traveling for research, and I can’t wait to get writing. I guess the only option is to put that sense of uneasiness behind me and get dissertating. Otherwise, I’ll have to put down the coffee. And that’s not something I want to do!