November has been a productive month. Well, not in terms of blog writing. But in the rest of my life, things are getting done.
Most importantly, I submitted my portfolio, which is my program’s version of doctoral comprehensive exams. It’s basically a sample of the work I have done so far in grad school: an in-depth review of the existing theory and research in my area of interest, and other documents that show that I have actually done something in the last three years: a manuscript submitted for publication, a poster presented at a conference, and a proposal that I submitted to an organization trying to convince them that what I intend to do for my dissertation is worthy of their funding.
So a little over a week ago, I printed out all 100+ pages comprising these documents, and organized them into binders to submit to the faculty members on my committee. The binder organization was the best part. It wasn’t until I saw all these printed pages, which contained nothing but words that I had written*, that I realized that, okay, I have done something with my life in the last few years.
I still have to wait several weeks to hear whether what I’ve done these last few years meets the approval of my committee members. Consequently, I’m hesitant to do too much celebrating quite yet. But assuming that I do pass, this means that I will advance to candidacy, and need to get going on my dissertation. We shall see.
Is it odd that changing my own brake light, which I did earlier this month, felt like almost as much of an accomplishment as turning in my portfolio? Perhaps I should explain. Nick usually jumps on any sort of at-home car repairs and I usually let him, because, hey, that means I don’t have to do it. But I like to know that I could do something if I needed to. Sure, I still needed Nick to stand behind the car and confirm that I fixed the brake light, but I replaced the light bulb myself, dammit. I swear I felt just as much pride in that moment as when my advisor told me my lit review was complete.
Also, I have a tendency to procrastinate on car-related things. I almost always request an extension for the emissions inspection, mainly because I forget until the day before the deadline and I don’t have time to go. I usually have to tape a printed-out temporary registration in my rear window because I waited to renew my registration online until the last day possible. Once I even registered on time, but didn’t bother to put the new sticker on my license plate until the end of the expiration month. This was a bad idea because in rushing to take care of it, I didn’t pay attention to all the dirt and salt (it was winter) on the license plate, and surprisingly, the sticker did not stick.
When I talk about things like this, it amazes me that I ever get anything done.
Anyway, the fact that I purchased and installed a new brake light within 24 hours of being pulled over by a state trooper felt like a pretty big accomplishment. I would also like to note that this is the first time I did not feel like I was on the verge of crying and/or having an anxiety attack when being pulled over by a cop.** So much growth this month.
Finally, I got a Fitbit. I’ve learned that my walk from the parking lot to my building on campus is not as substantial as I thought it was. But two Sundays in a row, Nick and I have gone for hikes and exceeded the goal of 10,000 steps. This is very unlike us, but we like it and might do more of it. Given the forecast tomorrow for a high of 33 degrees, I am not sure we’ll make it 3 in a row. That’s okay, though, because we are seriously behind on figuring out this year’s Christmas card and we should spend some time on that. Perhaps I’ll get my steps in while wandering through the Goodwill….
*And a handful of tables which I lovingly constructed.
**To be clear, in the 15 or so years that I have been driving, I have gotten pulled over maybe a total of 8 or 9 times, more often for burnt-out lights than for speeding.