I always looked at people who were ABD and wondered how they spent so much time on research. They always seemed harried and running around from thing to thing. I didn't get it. They were done with classes, done with exams, most of them weren't teaching...what the heck were they spending all their time on?
Now I've become one of those people. I spend about 3 days a week working on my dissertation, one working on another ongoing research project, and one working on miscellaneous other things (right now: applying to jobs and revising my syllabus for next semester). And yet I never seem to get anything done. I remember last year taking every Friday off, and yet feeling like I was getting an insane amount of work done. And yet now, it's the freakin summer, I'm going into my office 5 days a week, and spending long hours there (I'll be here until at least 6 or 7 tonight), and then coming home and feeling guilty cause there's still more things I can be doing instead of watching the Olympics.
The whole summer went by so fast. I had four months off from any teaching work. What did I accomplish? I wrote and defended my dissertation proposal, and got a very good start on my dissertation research. I revised and resubmitted a paper to a journal. I revised and submitted an old paper to a different journal. I did a bunch of research for an ongoing project, but we still haven't gotten any final results, or written up anything. I submitted a proposal to a conference, and was accepted. I submitted a grant proposal that I still haven't heard back from. I wrote a cover letter template for job applications, but still need to write a research and teaching statement. I also need to start sending out applications, as deadlines are a month from now. I started working on revising my syllabus for next semester (at least I've revised the dates, but I still want to change some of the readings). Today I renewed my student ID, which expires after four years. The semester starts in less than 3 weeks.
I went to 3 music festivals and will go to a fourth next weekend. I went to the ASAs and had two job interviews, and nearly had a nervous breakdown. I spent a week in the midwest at B's parent's house. I got engaged, and booked a venue for the wedding, but haven't done much else. I went to a few concerts, but not nearly as many as I would have liked to. I walked to school and back almost every day of the week (2 miles round trip), and my legs still hurt at the end of every walk (when does that stop?).
And now the summer is nearly over. Back to school advertisements are everywhere. More and more undergraduates are on campus everyday. I haven't been swimming once. I spent far too little time outside. I spent almost no time in the park. I haven't spent much time with friends...but most of my friends don't live nearbye anymore. But I haven't traveled to see them either. I spent too much time watching tv. I spend too many nights going to sleep at 9pm, exhausted from a day spent re-coding variables on a more-confusing-than-necessary dataset.
I'm moving my office tomorrow. I spent some of today packing up all my stuff- it took 8 boxes to pack up 4 years worth of crap, that somehow all fit into my tiny cubicle and on 2 shelves of a shared bookcase. I went up to my newly vacated office, and rearranged furniture so that I'm closer to the window and a bit more isolated from my new officemate. Not totally isolated, but there's a tall filing cabinet between us. B is coming in tomorrow to help me move. I worry that all my stuff won't fit in the new office, even though I will have a filing cabinet twice the size and a bookcase of my very own. I'm no longer going to spend my days in a cubicle. I'm moving on up.