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MichelleNero

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  1. Is there a logic to this other than "find people who are knowledgeable in the area of and sympathetic to your specific dissertation topic" ? My university's handbook tells us to choose 5 committee members, specifying that a maximum of two can be chosen from outside the university. Why would that be a good plan? Is there some reason why you would WANT someone from outside the university given the added bureaucratic red tape and trouble for everyone involved? Reasons I can think of: Your university lacks people with the right expertise. Your beloved former adviser has moved to a different university (or was convicted on all counts, or sent into space with a monkey and a dog, or gave up academia for a NASCAR career). Why else? Is there prestige associated with getting mucky-mucks to be on your committee? I know that your adviser's reputation matters a lot-- but how important is the committee that you choose? Is choosing someone from another university a way of positioning oneself so as to increase the chances of getting a job at one of their institutions? [*]Is this a matter of literally linking your name with theirs in some sort of social networking way (electronic and otherwise)? From a different perspective (that probably matters most): ******Unless you have a pre-existing relationship, why the heck would a professor at another institution agree to be on your committee simply because he/she has expertise that's useful to you? What's their incentive?? What do they get out of it other than extra work? ****** So... what's the story here? I'm wondering if there isn't some super-clever thing that some people have figured out to do in selecting their committee. That's my question... but any other advice on selecting a committee (esp. in the social sciences) would be very welcome!
  2. Just a quick update: Things are working out fairly well...so far. I *have* followed the excellent advice from the generous folks who commented (thank you again!!!): -spoke with the DGS -joined a dissertation working group -am slated to present my work in a few weeks -have *actually* been working in earnest on it! (it's coming as a surprise to me that I'm *actually* getting stuff done sans procrastination!) -bumped into my advisor who did seem to recognize me and be happy to see me! -As soon as my dissertation outline is done and I've presented (two weeks from now) and gotten a little feedback from my group, I'll submit it to him as a first pass. I'm not dreading it, which is a great relief to me. -The number of people I'm 'hiding from' is dropping as I'm getting my things submitted to them (they're folks I owe work). I'm down now to just 3! No one batted an eyelid or has suggested jettisoning me from the program. In general, I've been surprised by the positive reception I've gotten here and there from the folks I did know. If anyone has any doubts at all about those things we hear and disregard because they're such common common sense... These three VITAL pieces of advice have made a huge difference: 1) anything you're avoiding will get worse with neglect--and you along with it. 2) interact as much as possible with your peers in the program; don't get isolated. 3) the remedy for worry is work. Thank you so much to those who were generous with their good advice, and also kind while being honest in rendering it. Good luck to everyone!
  3. A much-too-brief-considering-the-scale-of-how-much-i-appreciate-your-excellent-responses: Whew! I agree with all of what you've said. I did break ground with the DGS and am going to be on campus next week to hand-in some of this stuff. What a huge help it has been to discuss this openly and get sound advice. THANK YOU!
  4. First off, THANK YOU (thank you, thank you, thank you) for your replies-- and for how detailed and well thought-out they were. ... WOW. Sparky... wtncffts...rainy_day.... I wish you had some idea how nice it was to see your replies, and how much I appreciate it. This is something I haven't told anyone, and you offered good counsel in a kind way. Thank you. My post was something of a mix between a confession (my dirty secret that few people outside of grad school would possibly understand) and an effort to get my own thoughts together by laying out the problem. I'm so glad that I did. You're right. You all are. I really needed to hear it. The good news/ bad news (get ready for another face-palm opportunity): I'm only a few weeks away from being done with the incompletes. I've written everything (too much, actually) and need to scale it back, edit, and print. The anxiety that you sense (i didn't realize how much my post smelled of fear!) is fairly huge on my end when it comes to the face-to-face stage of handing it in. When I TA, I *hate* getting excuses from students. Much more than that, I *hate* giving them. I really don't know what to say without being *that* person. You're absolutely right-- I've let this serve as an excuse for not finishing that and moving on. That isn't an "Yeah... I know... i know....!!" statement. It's far more of an ".... you're right... it's substantially clearer to me now when several people *explicitly* draw attention to it." Right now I'm excited about my dissertation work (my prospectus is basically fleshed out) but am mostly just trying to talk myself through the unpleasantness of the delinquent-paper-submission face-to-face encounters with professors whose will surely (consciously or unconsciously-- but more likely the former) move me down a notch in the hierarchy of their regard. Well... I guess it's just 3 professors. The only outstanding work I owe is one paper each. The more I write/read/think about this, the more it seems like my anxiety may be a teensy-tiny bit out of proportion. When I mentioned that I hoped to "slip by"-- I didn't mean that I think anyone will accidentally award me a doctorate if I just lurk in the shadows indefinitely. I had hoped that if I bit the bullet and handed it all in at once-- all the bad news would hit at once (and maybe that might be better ??). You're right. I should talk to my DGS (which I'm guessing is Director of Graduate Studies??), but I had hoped to walk in with the work done so I might seem less like a huge problem and more like a problem-nearly-solved. I've been avoiding the department, the social events-- even the building (!) --for fear of bumping into the professors to whom I owe this work. I didn't feel like I could show my face until it was all done-- and (you're absolutely right) the vicious cycle just reinforced itself into a nasty beast. Yes! I feel like you understand exactly what I mean. In terms of counseling-- well... my family did some grief counseling, but it wasn't my cup of tea. Anyone dealing with the poo-storm I saw over the last two years would be fairly down, so I'm feeling like that cloud is passing. Re: anxiety... I think talking to people would be a good idea. Posting to this forum has already been a very good experience. Thank you so much for replying to my post-- and to anyone else who feels so inclined. You can't imagine how helpful this is. At this point, I've started to get my work together for those papers, and am just trying to figure out how to approach the 1) delinquent-submission conversations, and 2) the reconnect-after-being-MIA- interactions. I never know what to say to people.
  5. HELP!!! ANY advice (constructive, positive) would be TREMENDOUSLY appreciated. Is there ANY WAY to handle this gracefully? I've been MIA from my department-- and am worried they'll get rid of me once they realize i'm still around! I can't move forward without re-appearing-- but when i do, i'll have to 1) hand in delinquent work (Incompletes)-- that will be the first they hear from me; and 2) get advisor approval for my dissertation prospectus. No way around these. i know i've been stupid about all of this. .. I'm in my 3rd year (really 4th, but I've been on leave) in a polisci phd program. things started well. -4.0. -advisor liked me. -did research for big shots on the side. -original research was well received. then lots of drama on my end in the background. -people died around me. -one still on the way out. -lots of crap to deal with. -owe people work (4 incompletes). Here's this nearly-complete list of issues: 0. For almost all of the time that I've been in my phd program, I've ALWAYS TA'd outside the department-- so i was very out-of-sight, out-of-mind to begin with in the already large-ish department. 1. I went on leave for 3 of the last 4 quarters (2010-11) and did the same the year prior, too (2009-2010)-- so I've been on campus for two quarters out of the last 8. I'm worried someone will figure this out and get rid of me for not making progress. there are some rules about advancing to candidacy by the nth quarter-- which i've exceeded, possibly. I haven't gone anywhere fast. ****2. i have a bunch of incompletes that I still need to submit for grades. i can do that, but am worried about *suddenly** reminding people i exist with a bunch of paperwork demonstrating that i've been delinquent. i'm worried that if they remember that i exist **like this**, they'll get rid of me. ****3. i haven't had any contact with my advisor for... wow... about a year and a half. 4. my advisor was always friendly but also very hands-off (at the end of his career, generally, and a little checked-out). there haven't been any emails from him that I ignored. in general, there was never a peep from him unless i got in touch-- and i haven't been! 5. right now, i'm at the stage where i need to get a dissertation prospectus approved by my advisor before I can request that people be on my committee. 6. last year i made it through the 2nd of 2 hoops we have to jump through ("qualifying papers"-- original research) before the dissertation prospectus approval stage. that went okay. it was the last "official" progress that i've made in my program. 7. in a few weeks, my leave ends. the term is about to begin. I'm scared as hell. 8. I'm vaguely hoping that if i process *all* my dirty laundry-- i.e. delinquent stuff-- all at once (turn in all 4 incompletes at once, give advisor prospectus and remind him i'm alive), maybe it will be enough of a flurry of activity to scramble their administrative senses and i'll slip by. On the other hand, it might suddenly look like i'm FAR more trouble than i'm worth to keep-- and my advisor has ZERO investment in me. He likes me fine, but hasn't heard a word from me for a year and a half-- and at that point it was because i was turning in something late. ANY ADVICE??? I'm in something of a private personal hell and can't ask anyone. i don't even know anyone in my department anymore!! MANY THANKS.
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