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Dissertation late nights

It’s another long day, but progress is progress. I want to graduate on time and I’m going to give it my best shot in making it happen. My dissertation is complicated and my proposal was a lot of work, more work than I wanted, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do in order to graduate. Since collecting all the data for aim 1 is finished, the rest, at this stage anyway, is up to me. It’s another late night, but the end is so very, very close!

Work, dissertation, sleep, repeat. That’s basically how it’s been going the past few days. Oh and obviously the blog, but that counts as sleep, right? So it’s a lot, but that was what I signed up for I guess. With several deadlines quickly approaching I would like to be ahead of schedule for once, so I’m treating it like I’m behind schedule in the hopes that I can get far enough ahead that I exceed my expectations for where I think I should be.

Ignoring the incremental work I’ve gotten done between yesterday’s post and today, I’m very behind my original dissertation timeline. I should be finishing aim 1 completely at this point, have the manuscript written (mostly) and be focusing on the second aim. Instead I’m barely cutting into getting the first aim accomplished. So while I want to graduate on time and I’m doing everything I can to make it happen, I’m also routinely checking my proposed dissertation timeline while I try to catch up to it as the days tick by.

Ignoring my hopes for graduation, where are we at the moment? Well still processing data! I’ve finished six of the ten datasets and in the next day or two I’ll have all ten done and ready to dig into. That will be time consuming work on its own, so I want to give myself plenty of time to get the basic analysis done for the next presentation I have, which is in about a week and a half. I’m hoping to have several days to work on the data and just focus in on what needs to happen. There is a bit of urgency here since not only am I presenting to surgeon-PI, my DARPA Risers deadline is days afterwards.

Meaning whatever I get done is what I have to present at the DARPA Forward conference. So you can see why this is important to me. School-PI was suggesting it would be nice to have a fully finished product to present before the conference because several of the people coming to the conference will be stopping by the lab to see the school lab specifically to see the work we do. I think he’s being overly optimistic about the amount of work I can get done between now and then. Especially with the amount of work I have at, well work. Since my PhD is what I’m doing in my “free time” now, I don’t have as much time as I used to have to dedicate to it. Even if I did, I don’t know that I could get THAT much work done.

That doesn’t mean I won’t be making an honest attempt to getting everything done though. I have about a month between now and the DARPA Forward conference and while I don’t think I’ll have a totally developed and ready to go product, I think we can get something at least a little impressive for them to see. This, of course, assumes that it works and I have something to show for all the effort. If not, well then it’s going to change a whole lot of my plans. I mean I’m hopeful and the first dataset looked semi-promising. Not fully promising, but it wasn’t a flat no either.

Anyway that’s the update, still working, still nervous, and not much of an update really other than the fact that I have 6 of 10 of the datasets processed, so not too much more work to do (hopefully) before we can get to the analysis part.


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