Sunday, October 12, 2008

Learning to Follow Through

Someone once asked me: "What is the most important thing to remember in graduate school"? I responded with a slew of text-book responses, but as I think of it--my new response lends itself to simplicity.

The most important concept, or thing NOT just in graduate school, but in life is: one should be able to follow through.

That is, if you begin at anything, make sure your genesis is progressive and that it terminates, it plateaus at an eschaton. I utilize the indefinite article, because we do begin many projects and desires. Unfortunately, they remain empty, unfulfilled.

For instance, there are those of us who begin projects, but place them on the back end of our minds. We do not follow through on them because of time, cost. Our level of investment is weak, and our desires for flippancy strong.

These areas of follow through are beyond academic life, and enter into the arena, the rim of the social, the political, the communal. That "thing" that you have been putting off--do it, but do it to completion. That person you have been meaning to contact and "keep in touch with"--do it, but do it to completion.

Moreover, as we get closer to choosing a new president for these here United States of America (insert your accent of choice here) observe rather closely--who follows through the best, who completes tasks, and even who moves in and out of the genesis moment toward the eschaton.

I began this post with a suggestion from a past memory, but I end with a suggestion toward a portable progressive present: whatever you do, do it to completion.

a Return from Exile

It has been sometime since I have posted to my blog. I have received several e-mails and e-texts asking about my silence. Well, I break it here.

Much has transpired in the interval. I am currently finishing up my doctoral studies at Purdue University in the field of Medieval Studies Literature. I am in St. Petersburg, Florida working on my second book, and of course enjoying the "Sunshine State" immensely. The Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida has been more than accommodating.

The process for doctoral completion within the discipline of Medieval Studies is a daunting one. First, I am preparing a reading list comprised of primary and secondary sources.

Second, I need to submit a Plan of Study (POS) by 15 October 2008. This Fall 2008 I am teaching English 420: Business Writing and taking classes. In Spring 2009 I will need to take a final class, then study for my preliminary examinations (pre-lims).

These pre-lims will be taken in Fall 2009 alongside my perspectus. If all goes well, by Spring 2010 I will be ABD, or "All-But-Dissertation." I feel like my dissertation is already written in my head, and have begun to work on some preliminary chapters. My goal is to have my Ph.D. no later than Fall 2010.

The life of an academic, and a doctoral student at that, is a bit demanding, but worth the "silence," the long hours of reading and translating ancient languages. The Ph.D. wielder represents the less than 1% population in the country. Anyone interested in such intellectual and rigorous, mental trauma--just enter a doctoral program, but be warned: it will take your life.