Friday, March 9, 2012

Checking Back In

I may have mentioned that I back in the throes of academia. Not the class I teach (that is moving along smoothly, and I love it, thank goodness), but a visit back to my master's degree. Yes, it only wrapped up in November, but that feels like ages ago based on how much I've turned off my brain.

For reasons I'm having trouble remembering, I agreed to be part of a panel to present at ATTW (Association for Teachers of Technical Writing). My thesis fits in well among several other Clemson professors' work, so we're all heading to St. Louis to hold a panel about it. We each have 10 minutes to discuss our topic, which translates to about five double-spaced pages of written text. So now I'm working to summarize my ENTIRE thesis into five pages. This takes brainpower like I haven't flexed in a long, long time.

Then, once the presentation is over, I need to shift focus to turning the thesis into a publishable paper. The paper will need to be about 30 pages, so I'll need to either elaborate on the presentation or cut the thesis (not sure which approach will be easier, though I'm thinking the former). My adviser will then add an intro and conclusion based on his expertise, and we'll shoot it off for publication early this summer.

This stuff takes time. And brains. And yet I'm not getting paid for it. I agreed to the paper when my adviser took me on: we had a deal that he wanted to publish a paper on this, and I wanted a thesis out of it, so let's work together and kill two birds with one stone. The presentation came out of those discussions as well, and then something about grad school sucks you in and makes you want to volunteer for stuff and show off your work and be stellar like you were in high school and AH! I have a kid! And minimal daycare! And a freelance career that actually seems to be expanding a bit! Why did I agree to this?!

And yet, it's nice to feel smart again. In my very, very tiny world of this topic, I know a thing or two, and that's somehow empowering. And Lord knows you'll all hear about it should I get published. I guess it's nice to succeed in one world, even an isolated one.

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