Dissertation Fever

It’s a special time in my life.

Data collection for my dissertation Studies 1 and 2 (of 3) ended about three weeks ago, and with that milestone, I came down with “dissertation fever“. I was warned about this by a mentor and it’s here: I’m stubborn, meanly focused, and glued to my chair and computer screen, even more than usual. In my fever, due to break with my dissertation defense in March 2016, I’m a different version of myself. Thankfully, folks who have been through this, or watched from the sidelines, totally ‘get’ my desire to lock myself in a room until only one of us will emerge: it’ll be me or the dissertation, and I’ve got my money on me.

I’ve had a few come-to-Jesus meetings with myself. Data analysis is hard for me. The kind of difficult that makes the voices of Resistance, Fear, and KFKD Radio, scream with delight in my head: “YOU SUCK AT THIS”. It reminds me of a day in Gabon fifteen years ago as a Peace Corps Volunteer when I decided I wanted to quit and go back to the US. The equatorial sun was blazing, it was hot. Going to the US required getting money from the bank for a train ticket. Getting to the bank required a long walk in the hot sun and a bush taxi. Getting money required a 2-hour wait in line. The bank wasn’t open anyway — Holiday — so I had to wait through the weekend. The “express” 24-hour-ish train didn’t leave Franceville for another 2 days after that. I had to wait. The only way out was through. Chin up, keep marching, if it was easy everyone would do it. (I stayed and it was beautiful.)

Three years in at Counter Tools, we have a high performing team that will hold down the fort for me while I work strictly part part time, suffer the fever and conquer the dissertation. I’m grateful for that, big time. It’s also an exercise in giving what you can, trusting your people, showing up to give your best work within the boundaries that exist, and letting the rest go.

It’s important to me to own up to this season of dissertation fever. I’m excited, scared, ready.

Muppets Sometimes scientific discovery requires a meep of faith

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