All But….Dissertation? Day 0

September 22, 2013


Howdy folks!

I know it’s been a VERY long time since this blog has been active, but I’ve been really busy. Let me catch you up on the goings on of the last year:

1. I had a baby.

Me and Baby A @ 3 weeks
Me and Baby A @ 3 weeks

Baby A was born in April of 2012, and he has been nothing short of joy personified since he entered our lives. But the moment he came, it was like, whoa…I have three kids. THREE KIDS.

All the rumors about having three kids are true, especially the analogy to basketball. When you only have two (assuming you have a full-time parenting partner, which I am lucky enough to have), taking care of them is man-to-man. Three – right to zone defense. There is no other way to do it. Parents are always outnumbered. And the kids now it. Simply put, having three children is exhausting.

But despite having a third child…



2. I graduated from law school.



Well, “graduated” implies I have degree in hand, but I don’t. See, because I am also getting a PhD in a joint degree program, I won’t actually have the JD until I finish the PhD. But all my courses are done, and the law school let me walk as a testament to how done I really am. Yup.


3. I am ABD.

For those who don’t know, ABD stands for “All But Dissertation” meaning one has completed all the requirements to receive the PhD except for the most important and critical: the dissertation. I count today as Day 0 on my journey to dissertation because tomorrow marks the first day of the the last Autumn Quarter I will ever have as a grad student.

And this is how I feel:


I am in my seventh year and beginning to write my dissertation. My goal for completion, as in an almost final product for which my advisors and other readers will  give me comments, is May 1. Therefore, I have

  • 7 months, 9 days, or
  • 31 weeks, or
  • 221 days, or
  • 5,304 hours to complete my dissertation.

This includes tasks such as interviewing, transcribing, coding, analyzing, and writing. If you consider I need 9 hours of sleep a night (I know, its a bit much, but that’s how I operate), that reduces working hours by 1,989 to only 3,315 hours, or the equivalent of 138 days. If I cut out Saturday and Sundays (because everyone needs a break, damn), then I’m down 1,488 hours to 1,827 hours to work. That’s 76.125 days. Now those are 24 hour days. I can do that.

(See what I did there? I made a hugh task seem really huge, but then I broke it down in parts and figured that what I am being asked to do in less than one year is really not that bad. Or something like that.)


I’ve decided to take you all on this journey through 221 days with me. I am committed to writing here every day for the next 221 days + the days to graduation (I’m too tired to do those calculations here). I will write here if I have a great day or a bad one, if I’ve written 500 works or only two, and somedays I may be so tired that all you get out of me is “TDB,” short for Too Damn Tired.

I’m doing this because I wish I had it when I was going through the process. I’m going to write about my good days and why they were good, and my bad days and how they could have been better. I’m going to write about those days where my kids get sick, or do something outrageous at school for which I am so mad or upset to every focus on my own work, or do something so cool and amazing that I’m just dumbstruck by the fact that they came from me. I’m going to write about how my husband is taking up some of the slack so that I can truly make writing this document my one and only job. And generally about how awesome he is.

If you want to know about how I do something, like keep my house clean (hint: I don’t) or cook dinner every night (hint: I don’t) or simply stay sane (hint: I…well) let me know in the comments. Or just simply say hi! I believe this year is the one I’m going to need as much support as possible, and I know you guys are down for the challenge.

Until tomorrow…

8 thoughts on “All But….Dissertation? Day 0

  1. We are here for you, you can do it, you WILL do it!!!! We did it, so you can too. And it is SO AWESOME that you’ll be done in 7 years. ‘Cause you already know it took me TEN and I only had TWO babies who were born only halfway through. Sigh…

    I’m sure writing here will help you because it will also make you feel like you’re accountable to us somewhat.

    P.S. thanks for sharing not only your accomplishments, but also those awesome photos!!! Congrats! And in less than a year we’ll be saying congrats all over again, I’m sure! YOU GO GIRL!!!


  2. Congrats on your new addition and on finishing your JD–both are amazing (but I’m sure the JD isn’t nearly as cute as the baby). Just catching up on your blog–you can do this! I just finished after my seventh year and had the same approach. Picked my target end date and pushed pushed pushed like mad to get it done. Plan for at least one two week set back in there and don’t be too hard on yourself. Good luck good luck and I’ll be commenting and checking in!!


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