Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I feel like I should type some sort of wrap up post, maybe something demonstrating either a) giving up everything you value in life to earn a Ph.D. is well worth it; or b) there is no point in giving up everything you value in life to earn a Ph.D. because it will never be worth it. There's probably a middle ground between those two points, but I haven't been able to find it. It's like the manic-depressive version of graduate school: "Everything's great! Everything sucks! Everything's great! Everything sucks!"

One thing I know for sure: agreeing to a 3-hour one-way commute so your wife can keep her job is in no way a good idea. In the last month, I have driven not hundreds, but thousands, of miles trying to keep everything in balance: home, work, school, professional obligations, personal obligations, friendships, family, etc. I have done a horrible, horrible job of balancing things this past year. I had less academic stress this year, but the personal stress levels skyrocketed. I think I became more integrated socially in my Illinois home, which made it hard to leave behind everytime I needed to go back to Indiana. It was much easier to just pack up and leave last year when I didn't have any friends in Urbana-Champaign. Now, I feel like I have two homes pulling at me all the time, and I can never be in the right place at the right time. And that's without even considering the large magnet pull of family from the west coast.

I desperately want to live in only one place, or god, if I have to commute, can't it take place all in one time zone? Because I'm really, really tired of not knowing what time it is. Have you ever spent two years not knowing what time it is, two years during which it is fairly essential to show up on time to class, meetings and lunch dates?

Hm...so, this reads mostly as an elaboration of point "b" as stated above.

Academically? Things are fine. Completed papers weren't as polished as I would have wished, and I know I didn't perform very well on my final exam (although I only needed a 75% to get a 96% in the class, so I can't really care about that too much). My final presentation in my Rajput Architecture class was actually quite awesome, too bad the paper didn't live up to its promise. Doesn't matter, it's over, can't change it now. Well, yes, I can, and I will, because it will make a very nice article, two drafts from now.

I have to write one conference paper over the summer, that's not too worrisome, but I need to go to Ujjain before I can write it. I also have a rather more serious paper to write before October 20, and I'd like to get some of that out of the way this summer. I want a preliminary draft (advisor's eyes only) of my dissertation proposal written by August 18. Also, I'd like a preliminary bibliography for both my major and minor field exams completed by the same date. Oh, yeah, I'm also supposed to pass Advanced Hindi this summer. I need to go to Varanasi. I need to go to Ujjain. I need to go to Delhi. It would be nice if I could stop in Mathura. I'd like to go back to Agra. I'd like to go to Bikaner and Udaipur. I've only got ten weeks, and yeah, there's that whole go-to-class-every-day-and-do-your-homework thing that I also have to do.

So, that's the semester wrap up. At home in Illinois until Thursday a.m., drive home to Indiana Thursday p.m., in Ft. Wayne Friday and Saturday, drive home to Indiana on Sunday. Try to relax for four days. Up to the Speedway for Carb Day on Friday, over to Illinois on Saturday, drive home to Indiana on Sunday. Try to relax for a few days. See some friends? Do I have any left in Indiana?

I only have one more thing to buy before I go to India (an inflatable pillow), but at some point, I should think more seriously about packing. My visa came back FIVE DAYS AFTER I MAILED IT TO CHICAGO. That must be some sort of bureaucratic record. Not that I'm complaining.

Oh, yeah. I bought a telescope with some of the prize money. I ordered it on Friday, it was supposed to arrive this coming Wednesday, then I got a notice saying it was backordered. Oh, yeah? Then how come your stupid website said there were still 2 in stock? Last time I order anything from you people, let me tell you. So, maybe, or maybe not, I will have a new telescope to use for a few days before I leave for India. Catherine has permission to use it while I'm gone.

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