Saturday, 7 June 2008

I Have News!

I just don't know if it's good news or bad news. I'm a bit conflicted, and not sure how I feel or what I think yet.

So I met with Brian last week, just to chat about things. It was a good meeting overall, but I always come away feeling both encouraged and discouraged about my work and my prospects of finishing. Not that the down part of that is Brian's fault-- that's all me, I'm sure. Anyway, we mainly talked about what the process for me finishing looks like, especially since he will be on sabbatical in the States for a year, from the end of July. For the most part, this isn't a big deal; I'll finish as much as I can between now and then (which will be at least my final main chapter, if not a full first draft, depending on how productive I am between now and then). We'll meet about what I have written by the time he leaves, and then we can do all but the final draft by phone and email. For the final draft, we'll need to meet face to face again, before I submit. All of which sounds fine and dandy, even without firm dates and times for when it'll all happen.

All of that is good, but this is the really good part... and the bit that's got me all in knots. Brian asked about my nephew, and my new niece, and we were talking about them and how I can't wait to get home. He knows that I have intended to stay here til I finish... and also that it's killing me to be here, especially now that Semiah is born. I really did have the best of intentions of being done by now, in the first place. But that hasn't happened. I've discovered that this isn't the kind of process that can be forced-- it either comes or it doesn't. Anyway, I have been really struggling with being here and not being done yet, and really wanting to be home with Jen and Saum and Machias and Semiah. Brian is a great supervisor, and it's not just the academic stuff he's good at. He knows that emotional stuff affects my academic work, and he's been very understanding with me about that. So when he said that there really isn't any reason for me to stay in Aberdeen once he's gone... well, I didn't know what to think. At first, I just thought, *Yay! I can go home and visit!* But the more I think about it, the more I'm not so sure what I should do.

Here's what I'm thinking. Advice and opinions are welcome, and please let me know if I'm overlooking something!

1. Work really, really hard for the next six weeks or so, and get as much done as I possibly can-- at least the last big chapter-- and meet with Brian.

2. Go home in late July, and stay til late September. I have found 'reasonable' flights (for this time of year) from Glasgow to Toronto (between three fifty and four hundred pounds) and from Toronto to Chicago (for around the same in dollars).

3. Get to Tennessee, Florida, and wherever else I can afford to visit people... if possible.

4. Work as much as I can while I'm home, being in touch with Brian as I make progress on my work. Since he'll be at Duke, it won't be too hard to talk to/meet with him over the time I'm in the States.

5. Come back here in time for the term to start, and if I'm not finished yet (which I don't think I will be, sadly) I can keep working as a note-taker during the fall term, which pays very well. So I'll work as much as I can, make as much money as I can, and write as much as I can. The deadline to have everything completed for graduating in November is 10 October, and I just don't see logistically how that will happen. *sigh*

6. Best case scenario, I will by Christmas have money saved and my thesis done enough that I can come home again, over the holidays, for another month or six weeks-- to stay with Jen and them again, of course, but also to meet with Brian at some point for my final draft.

7. Come back for the spring term, to submit and deal with all the other things I'll have to get done-- have my viva, apply to graduate in July, find a *real* job, figure out what's next.

My heart says go home. But I'm just not sure... perhaps I'm just bad with snap decisions. Perhaps it's not the best plan. Perhaps I just hate spending money. I don't know... I just don't know! Help! =S


Half-Past Kissin' Time said...

So, are you saying your choices are to stay where you are and bust out a lot of work to maybe be finished on time for November OR go home for a while and take a break before going back to finish for July? You sound lonely. Your friends have all left, and now Brian (though maybe not a friend, is at least a familiar face?) Maybe it's time to go home for a bit? Step back and take a look at the big picture. Fast forward a year or so and look at it from that perspective; would you regret either decision?

Amie Vaughan said...

I guess that is basically what I'm saying. It's just the money, really, that's my big issue... but I think that by having a 'guaranteed' job in the fall term, going home now makes the most sense. And I think, in a year, I would regret more not seeing my nephew and niece for so long, and missing having gotten to see them growing up when I had the chance.

Basically, I just want y'all to make sure there's no flaw in my argument, and that I'm not overlooking something big in my desire to get home to visit.... =D

Half-Past Kissin' Time said...

Just embrace whatever you decide, and you'll be fine. Thanks for the info on the song. I am so sensitive to mushy stuff; when 100 middle schoolers sing that song at the end of the year, it's like they are touching raw nerves. It's so beautiful. I think it's a song best sung by children.

Jennie B said...

Well you know what I am going to say. :) Come home! :) But again i am biased and in no way helpful.

I can guarantee that "naptime" can give you about 1.5-3 hours of good study revision/working time. :)

Dan & Nancy Erickson said...

hmmm...i'm thinking you give yourself a bit of a break, travel, see the fam, and then bite the bullet and be sure the beast is finished so that you have degree in hand by the fall of 2009. that way you can start to look for jobs this fall for the following school year. now that sounds kind of exciting-and i'm hoping to be in the same boat :)

Barb said...

I'm going to cast my vote and agree with most everyone else - you need a break, and what better to spend your money on than a trip home? Get refreshed, see your family (and hopefully some friends), and then get back to work and finish that thesis!

Anonymous said...

I'm voting for going home. It's amazing what a mental break can do for you. I think sometimes when you live far away in a foreign country, and yes, Scotland is still foreign, you really forget all those things you missed. It will be like a breath of fresh air to see your family, friends and familiar people and places again. I think it would actually help improve your work. I say go for it, life is short, go see your nephews while they are still so little. Visit your family and let your mind rest so you can be rejuvenated!!!

Jillian said...

Oh, and I'm the above anonymous person.

Abson, Lara, Daniella & Sophie said...

Technically, you have had enough votes cast on "go home". However, i thought I would still cast mine. It is healthy to step away from the writing a little bit. I was in a similar predicament in April. I worked non-stop from January up to the end of March, and my brain just froze. I was missing spending time with the children (gone to the library before they wake up, come home after they were in bed). When I suggested to my supervisor that I would take a break, he told me: "This might be just what the doctor ordered." Anyway, the break has ended, and now I am more than even "hungry" to be done, and my brain is corperating too :-).
And again, if you do not take a break, we will not get to see you before we leave for Jamaica :-), see, I am biased too.

Barb said...

hey, does this mean you'll be home for the bubbee's b'day? That would be the icing on the cake, I would think.