The Next Seven Weeks, c/o Rodney Dangerfield

Between resubmitting dissertation revisions (for those of you counting at home it has now been a year of back and forth edits…ugh) and working five jobs this semester, life RAM and morale are pretty low these days. It will likely stay this way for the next seven weeks when teaching two courses will end. Couldn’t have said it better myself:

RIP Rodney!

Advertisements

How to Respond to Professional Disappointment and Setback

I’m currently in a revise and resubmit cycle with my dissertation committee. In brief the dissertation is written and will take some major work to complete to the satisfaction of all committee members. Mind you, I found this out 4 days prior to a scheduled defense date, so my body told me I needed to spend some time licking wounds before starting revisions. It’s amazing what a two week migraine cycle will teach you about self-care (hint: DO IT), friendship, and trust amid professional disappointment and setback. I can’t thank all my wonderful friends and colleagues  enough for their support and encouragement and laughter and love during this time.

Coincidentally, it seems that Stephen Colbert  also experienced his own work-related WTF this week.  Daft Punk was supposed to appear on his show:

Wouldn’t that have been amazing? MTV, however, had other plans.  Apparently MTV had exclusive performance rights for Daft Punk because they would be performing at the VMAs (side note, since when does MTV fight for music to be shown on MTV?!):

Here is Stephen’s pitch perfect response to the whole fiasco. LIKE A BOSS kids, watch and learn:

May Stephen Colbert and Bryan Cranston and Jon Stewart Charlie Rose and Jeff Bridges and the Rockettes turn any disappointment you encounter into a star-studded roller disco. Now go get lucky, punk.  🙂

Dissertation Update & Stat Check

Update 3/22/13: Summer defense or bust!

It’s moving along. I’m writing and it’s moving along. A May graduation is still totally possible at this point but it means this week I’ll be writing when not eating, sleeping, or working to pay for it. So more of the same except in hyperdrive mode.

So here’s where it currently stands:

  • If I get a ton of writing to my advisor by Friday, and it’s in good shape, defending in April and graduating in May is a real possibility.
  • I’m adding to and refining the Findings section which is currently at 40 pages.
  • The entire dissertation, with many edits and revision to make before handing in, is currently 108 pages.

Here’s a sample from this morning’s writing in the Findings chapter:

Client outcomes: Real visibility and improvements for Charlestown residents and agencies

Five respondents discussed the positive changes they witnessed in Charlestown as a result of Charlestown Connects both as residents and as individual community agencies. These positive outcomes dealt with better relationships with city agencies and thus improved access to city services, as one respondent stated:

But the fact that we were able to create an environment of safety, because this building was perceived as not safe and it had every right to have that perception, the lights were not on in the front of the building, the field lights, the safety lights, were not being left on, like there were things that were wrong, and through NRT, so street lights were out, things like that, but through responding, okay, to things like that, we became visible.  So now first it became visible, right?

This sense of improved visibility cannot be understated. Also evident after the Charlestown Connects intervention was a palatable difference in a sense of neighborhood in terms of better communication, working together, and more pleasant experience living in Charlestown overall. One respondent expressed this as, “the entire community has been able to grow and work together in a way that would not have possible without Charlestown Connects.” Another without much exposure to Charlestown Connects expanded on this idea and stated:

See a sea change going on. Has seen a lot more people asking what can we do to make Charlestown stronger, from retail and residents, trying to push community pride and effort and funding into making Charlestown more pleasant for residents to live in. Charlestown is forgotten neighborhood in Boston. My grandmother was from Charlestown 100 years ago, was community of hard-working people. Affluence equals attention. I love where I live, don’t want to put words in the mouth of those townies who lived during hard times when neighborhood was difficult, but over 20 years neighborhood has really improved.

Coffee donations and random words of kindness and support welcome. Always.

What’s in It For Me? Lessons Learned from Micro and Macro Systems in Action

I had the great pleasure of presenting at the Northeast Conference on Public Administration with Lynn Curran, a social worker at the Gretchen S. and Edward A. Fish Center for Women’s Health. Our presentation was titled: “What’s in It For Me? Lessons Learned from Micro and Macro Systems in Action.” Here’s the official description:

Many in the public and private health sectors are interested in the efficacy of the “medical home” model. Is this model worthy of the time and the money needed to create needed supporting infrastructure? How does a primary care clinic integrate mental health services effectively? Public service agencies are also looking for ways to streamline and integrate care more efficiently. Are there parallel practices on the micro and macro levels that can serve as “lessons learned?” What are the benefits and outcomes of such collaborations? What does this look like over the long-term?

This presentation discusses the facilitation of interagency collaboration among non-profit and government agencies on the macro level, which parallels interdisciplinary collaboration among primary care physicians and mental health clinicians on the micro level. Such efforts could streamline service delivery, leading to financially successful agencies while also addressing social problems.

You can view our presentation here – enjoy!

Graduate Student Barbie

UPDATE January 28, 2014: Now available in doll form! Courtesy of reader Deanna Foster who writes, “A very good friend of mine is doing her PhD, and I was inspired by your blog to give her a “Graduate School Barbie” for Christmas. I made some modifications to a barbie I picked up at WalMart. She really enjoyed it – thanks for your blog post!”

xmas2013 A

xmas2013 C

xmas2013 B

UPDATE November 26, 2013: Now available at the USA Today!

UPDATE November 4, 2013: Now available at the Huffington Post!

UPDATE August 8, 2013: Currently this post is at ~300,000 views (298,742 to be exact). THANK YOU INTERNET!

UPDATE December 6, 2012: Folks, I am deeply humbled by the attention this post has received. Here are recent stats:

IMG_1772

Welcome!! Over 48,000 of you, most likely current or former graduate students, stopped by to say hi and laugh just yesterday alone. Most of you found this post via a link shared on Facebook or Twitter. I’m so glad you are here, and I hope the post made you laugh and cheered you up. I drafted this post at an incredibly low point in writing my dissertation. I felt horribly alone in the struggle to finish and honestly just felt so hopeless about ever finishing. I still cycle through these emotions. At another low point recently I glanced at my blog stats and was just flabbergasted by how many folks have visited this past week. A great many of you have left comments, shared your experiences, reblogged the post on your own blog, shared the link with others, and liked the post. You cannot imagine how beautiful this gift is to receive from you, and I don’t know how to truly express my gratitude to you all. Even though we must all overcome our own individual struggles to complete our own PhD/graduate school journeys, I am forever grateful that to plainly see that we are, truly, not alone here. Thank you for stopping by, and I truly hope your journey is successful, fruitful, productive, and OVER AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. THE ONLY GOOD DISSERTATION IS A GOOD DISSERTATION – GET ‘ER DONE!!

* Results may vary but not by much

Graduate Student Barbie (source and major props for awesomeness)

A new gift idea for your loved ones: Graduate School Barbie (TM).

Graduate School Barbie comes in two forms: Delusional Master’s Barbie (TM) and Ph.D. Masochist Barbie (TM).

Every Graduate School Barbie comes with these fun filled features guaranteed to delight and entertain for hours: Grad School Barbie comes out of the box with a big grin on her face that turns into a frown after 2 weeks or her first advisor meeting (whichever comes first). She also has adorable black circles under her delightfully bloodshot eyes.

Comes with two outfits: a grubby pair of blue jeans and 5 year old gap T-shirt, and a floppy pair of gray sweatpants with a matching “I hate my life” T-shirt. Grad School Barbie talks! Just press the button on her left hand and hear her say such upbeat grad school phrases like, “Yes, Professor, It’ll be done by tomorrow”, “I’d love to rewrite” and “Why didn’t I just get a job, I could have been making $40,000 a year by now if I had just started working with a Bachelor’s. But noooooo, I chose to further my education, I wish somebody would drop a bomb on the school so that I’d have an excuse to stop working on my degree that’s sucking every last drop of life force out of my withered and degraded excuse for a soul…” (9V lithium batteries sold separately)

Grad School Barbie is anatomically correct to teach kids about the exciting changes that come with pursuing a higher education. Removable panels on Barbie’s head and torso allow you to watch as her cerebellum fries to a crispy brown, her heart race 150 beats per minute, and her stomach lining gradually dissolve into nothing. Deluxe Barbie comes with specially designed eye ducts. Just add a little water, and watch Grad School Barbie burst into tears at random intervals. Fun for the whole family!

Other accessories include:

Grad School Barbie’s Fun Fridge (TM) Well stocked with microwave popcorn, Coca-Cola, Healthy Choice Bologna (99% fat free!),and a small bottle of Mattel Brand Rum ™.

Grad School Barbie’s Medicine Cabinet comes in Fabulous (pepto-bismal) pink and contains Barbie sized bottles of Advil, St. Johns Wort, Zantac, and your choice of three fun anti-anxiety drugs! (Barbie Medicine Cabinet not available without a prescription).

Grad School Barbie’s Computer Workstation. Comes with miniature obsolete PC (in pink of course), rickety desk, and over a dozen miniature Mountain Dew cans to decorate your workstation with (Mountain Dew deposit not included in price. Tech support sold separately).

And Grad School Barbie is not alone! Order now and you’ll get two of Barbie’s great friends! GRADUATE ADVISOR KEN, Barbie’s mentor and advisor in her quest for knowledge, higher education and decreased self esteem.

Grad Advisor Ken ™ comes with a supply of red pens and a permanent frown. Press the button to hear Grad Advisor Ken deliver such wisdom to Barbie as “I need an update on your progress,” “I don’t think you’re ready to defend yet”, and “This is no where near ready for publication.”

Buy 3 or more dolls, and you can have Barbie’s Thesis Committee! (Palm Pilot and tenure sold separately.)

REAL JOB SKIPPER, When Barbie needs to talk, she knows that she can always count on her good friend Real Job Skipper ™, who got a job after getting her bachelor degree. Press the button to hear Real Job Skipper say, “Sometimes I wish I went for my masters degree” and “Work is so hard! I had to work a half an hour of overtime!” Real Job Skipper’s Work Wardrobe and Savings account sold separately.

WARNING: Do not place Grad Student Barbie and Real Job Skipper too close to each other, as there have been several cases of children leaving the room and coming back to find Barbie’s hands mysteriously fused to Skipper’s throat.