Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Busiest Summer Ever

It's happened again - I got busy and started to neglect the blog. If my blog were a regular diary of things that happen to me, I would post more often. However, I usually tend to have something to say about something before I post - my posts are usually about something or other. Occasionally, I'll have updates on here. This is an update post.

I have been more busy this summer than I have ever before been - with the possible exception of the time when I was studying for my engineering entrance exams, and even then the exams usually were held in May or June freeing up the second half of summer. This summer on the other hand has been and will continue to be exceptionally busy. Here is a list of things that I have on my plate this summer -

1. Teaching: I'm teaching a class M-F. Teaching every single day is taxing. Add on to that the fact that I have never taught this class before and need to prep as I go along. Thankfully I am teaching only for one month which ends this Friday!
2. Prelims: My Ph.D. qualifying exams are in August. If I fail, I don't get my Ph.D. And I need to cover EVERYTHING that has ever been contributed to the field of Psychology. Okay, maybe not everything - but at least everything in the past two years, and every major research article before that. This adds up to hundreds of articles and so thousands of hours. Sadly, prep in this area hasn't begun yet. I am waiting till I finish teaching before I even think of tackling this one.
3. Dissertation Proposal: If I don't want to be stuck in Ames for another year, I need to propose my dissertation by late September. I haven't even got my committee formed yet. And I need to do an exhaustive literature review. I also need to have the whole thing written and ready to go by the time the new semester begins in the Fall. The upside of this is that I am using a pre-collected dataset. The downside is that the dataset is messed up and I need to spend some time figuring it out. No prep in this area yet either.
4. Work: I need to survive - in today's non-hunter-gatherer terms this means I have to pay for food, shelter and cell phone. Being on a nine-month contract, I don't automatically get paid in the summer. Summer funding is very competitive and I have been lucky to get a 1-month teaching position and a 1 month research/administrative position. The teaching is almost at its end, but I still need to work an additional month at the counseling center - and this will eat into my prep time for prelims and dissertation. However, the upside to this is that I can set my own hours and so probably will end up haunting the counseling center hallways in the middle of the night.
5. Hobbies/Relaxation: With all the above going on, if I did not spend some time unwinding, I'd probably end up having a nervous breakdown. Relaxation for me includes telly, gardening, browsing the internet and reading. And these also demand that of which I have very little - precious, precious time!

There it is - the busiest summer ever. Hopefully - if I pass prelims, successfully propose my dissertation and get an internship, this will be my last full summer in Ames. A year after that, I shall be in full-time employment. It shall be the end of my student life, the end of research, the end of teaching, the end of working way past 5pm, the end of having to give up life's little joys for lack of time, money and other resources, the end of enforced frugality and the end of a lot of other unpleasant things. Oh, sweet, lovely thought!!

P.S. I now belong to the Counseling Psychology program Ranked #1 in the nation. (Check the link out: It's the FSP index indicating that Iowa State is ranked #1 among the Counseling Psychology programs. It's under "Social and Behavioral Sciences", and then under "Counseling Psychology".) I am part of an extremely competitive program. I have done exceptionally well within this program - I have had my pick of the assistantships and practicum opportunities, I have an unbelievably high amount of counseling experience for a student at my level. All this hard work I am doing must be worth it eventually. I pray to God every day that this will eventually lead to a brilliant internship and a plum job!


Aarti said...

..and I pray for that too :)
oh btw, you should come visit us sometime...hopefully we can help u unwind (read: booze, nightclubs, mindless, crap movies!)

MJ aka Paps said...

dear ashu. hang in there :-)
it will all be worth it in the end. i owe you a mail but i am also burning the midnight oil a lot these days. we'll catch up soon.

Asha Stephen said...

Thanks a bunch! I'm still busy but the end of teaching has been good since now I get to work at night and sleep in for as long as I want to - my preferred schedule. Isn't it a pity that I won't be able to do this forever. But again, maybe I can turn this into a profitable business venture - "Dr. Stephen: Psychotherapist for Nocturnal Individuals. Appointments 9pm - 5am." I could make good money that way! :-)

Aarti - partying and watching crap movies sounds like heaven, especially when I have you two to do the fun things with.

MJ - take your time replying. I know what it's like being behind on everything! Had no idea you had a blog. Will now be a regular reader. :-)

Flux said...

After long time I visited your blog as I was on vacation for 10 days this month. I understood that you were very busy. So... you are going to get a doctorate, greate!!!