I’m in one of the worst phases: no experiments to prepare, and only stuff to write up in various shapes and forms. Since I seem to be one of those people who works better when there are others around, this sometimes makes it hard for me to focus. Contact with other people makes things better, but at the moment my office is empty, except for me. I’m actually not sure what happened to the student they moved in, I haven’t seen her yet this year.Also, there’s nobody online.

Anway, to help myself find motivation and some accountability, a list of all the things that need doing:

– processing comments on journal article

– turn journal article into chapter 4

– write introduction & theoretical background for chapter 6, then mesh it together with the methods and the results

– write chapter 2, based on articles

– write chapter 3, based on other articles

– write chapter 1, a.k.a introduction to the whole thesis

By that time I should have received feedback on a number of things, so I’m sure I’ll be able to add those to the list.

Also, it’s strange how getting a new PC can be a boost and a downer. Boost because, hello pretty, and you’re so shiny and pretty and fast! Downer, because, hello, everything still needs to get its own place and my iTunes ratings don’t transfer, and lots of the artwork seems to have gotten lost in the process.

After a long day yesterday, the discussion and conclusion of the journal article are written, the abstract added, all figures and tables numbered and rendered to black and white. The article has gone on to internal company review, and is send to supervisors as well.

The grant proposal is already at its third version, and today I’ll finish that too. It’ll get send once more to the prospective boss, and maybe one current supervisor. Still need a nice, catchy title in 5 words or less. And a good summary / abstract. Tomorrow I plan to look at the online submission process, and check to make sure that I have all the recommendations etc. lined up.

Monday I can thus write the method section for the last experiment, and make sure the last data are in put in the database.

Why do I tend to go for the hardest choice? Sometimes because it’s more fun, but when you’re running the actual experiment and have to turn away participants because, sadly enough, they’re not the target group, things can feel a little sour.

Less than 4 months before my funding is up. Scary. 3 more weeks before this experiment will be finished. Also scary, the last experiment I might run in a while. Until I find a post-doc, that is. In which case I need to get my butt in a chair, and write the proposal draft this weekend. This post is meant to remind me of that bit. There’s more to life than data-entering and exploration, even while running a massive experiment.

It’s finally that time of my PhD: the first serious draft for a journal article has been sent to my supervisors. I’ve collected feedback (including some from my promotor), and can now make some more headway. Mostly it consists of explaining terms differently, making better connections and re-connections and explaining the underlying motivations. All things expected really, so that’s positive! Also, the better it is when I submit the article, the better this will be for the actual thesis, since this should become a chapter in the end.

Of course, there’s a multidimensional challenge: interpreting data is never easy, but having non-orthogonal axes in 2D or more Ds is an especially tricky one. Let’s hope 3 dimensions (or 2,5) are sufficient, because it’s a wee bit hard to have 3D figures in an article.

I’d like to submit this to the journal by the end of august, and I’m starting to think it’s a realistic deadline.

After reading Prof. Chaos part on the lost generation, it seems fair to assume that a couple of those have ended up in my class as well.
All the necessary information is in the syllabus, which is on the website and you can even get a paper copy from me if and when you manage to find my office. We have classes on monday and discussions on wednesday or thursday, according to what was scheduled by the administration’s office (don’t blame me for having to be there at 8:45, I wasn’t consulted either). Deadlines for essays and such are all on wednesdays and no, you cannot get an assignment before the rest of the people just because you’re going on vacation and didn’t notice discussion are on thursdays for a change.

Also, to the students who were giving comments on my comments: if you insist on doing this in the hallway while my door is open, don’t be surprised that I’m prepared for annoyed faces. Also, don’t tell me that asking for clarifications and definitions has nothing to do with the content of the essay and that there were no comments about the content of the essay itself. They did catch me unprepared for that, since I’m not sure how to explain that if you don’t tell me what a term means (according to you), then I can’t assess whether or not you’ve understood the literature. Also, if a couple of those terms are essential for your argument, why would it not be a good idea to define them?

I understand it’s not that easy to write a clear, concise (i.e. limit of 500 words) essay sometimes, but that’s partially what you’re here to learn for. If you’re not prepared to listen to my comments, don’t ask for feedback (although that might not stop me giving feedback) and only look at your grade. Now, if you’re interested to learn ask how you can improve and we’ll continue to have a constructive discussion. Up until that time, maybe you might stew a little longer and feel like you’ve been treated unfairly. Next time, be prepared to be tested on whether you got breast milk or formula as a baby! Or whether you were dropped on the head…

In the interest of full disclosure: when I was about 3, I managed to fall and drop myself on the head.

The workshop proposal is mostly written, huray! I will have to ask for an extension, but that’s more to guarantee that my co-chairs have time to write their ‘about’ pieces and give the last version a once-over to see if they agree with everything. At least we’re all in the same time-zone!

Surprisingly enough, writing this workshop proposal seemed a lot easier than writing a regular paper. Maybe because here, the one point that the workshop would run around was clear form the beginning. What we needed most was an example of how to write it down properly and relevantly. CompanySupervisor2 provided that example (she’s not one of the co-chairs though), and it helped a lot with shaping our own proposal.

One of the toughest things to do was to find a good title, so FSP’s last post about choosing the right title came right on time. First, I considered a title with a colon, as in “Evaluating X: appropriate methods and techniques”. That seemed a little too generic, and not that attractive. After looking over the examples, we’ve now settled for “Challenges in evaluating the X user experience”. Less generic, more attractive, still tells you what we would like to look at in the workshop.

Since my master student just left for an extended vacation I won’t have to edit his thesis either, which is good news. The time allocated for that will probably go to interviewing prospective students for three other internships though… so I don’t think I’ll feel like I have nothing to do with students this month.

One of my reviewers just walked in with feedback. Back to workshop proposal I go…

To reiterate Dr. Brazen Hussy

“International acaDemic Writing Month is the academic’s answer to NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month.”

The goal for this month is to get out a workshop proposal (due 7/11), write a studyguide and tutor-instructions for next semester’s course (first version promised 11/11), and write the introduction and theory part for my first journal article.

In addition to that I will probably have to edit my student’s master thesis and do a thousand other things, but this writing? Very important for me right now.

Also, I was recently in the Bay Area and while watching Gilmore Girls 7-21, I realised I knew what Logan was talking about with his University Avenue!