akawil: Powerpuff Wil (Default)
So my advisor just told me that my Black Friday letter will tell me that I'm being asked to take a leave of absence.

Background. I started in the Ph.D. program in Computer Science in September 1994. In January 1997 I switched to my current advisor. Since then I've gotten some papers written, but (apparently) not enough of them, and created quite a lot of software, but of actual thesis writing I've done none, though the papers should be recyclable into a dissertation.

Every semester, the faculty of the department meet to discuss all the grad students. This is known as "Black Friday", even though it's always held on a Thursday. At the end of last semester, my letter told me that I'd be expected to have a thesis written by the end of this semester; I don't.

What my thesis advisor told me, which I agree with, is that it's pretty clear that the "It didn't work last time, so let's try it again" strategy (so beloved by World War I generals) is no longer an option. Sitting in my office, alone, with little communication from the outside world is a good way to get me to read LiveJournal, Usenet, fanfic, and many other exciting things on the web, and a very bad way to get me to write papers and a thesis.

My advisor told me that if I can convince my committee, by the beginning of next semester (January 21, roughly) that I have a clear plan of Doing Something Different which they believe will lead me to actually finishing a thesis in a reasonable timeframe, they'll convince the chair to let me stay.

Alternately, I could take the leave of absence, and get a Real Job (for Real Money). The economy's pretty bad right now, but I'm pretty sure I could find something -- I seem to actually have connections, surprising as it seems. (Though it looks like my expected default choice, Bell Labs, wouldn't be able to hire me right now -- Lucent's in a terrible financial pinch.) In the future, I can try to convince the department to let me come back.

Or not, if I don't feel like it.

I don't know what I want to do, where I want to go, how I want to proceed. On the one hand it seems so terribly stupid to stop now, when I've put this much time into the whole Ph.D. thing. On the other hand, there's the question of throwing good money (or time) after bad, a.k.a. not basing future decisions on sunk costs. On the gripping hand, I don't actually like writing papers all that much; I'd much prefer to write software. (This LJ post is probably the most prose I've written all at one sitting in quite some time.)

Sigh. Sigh sigh sigh.

Bah.

Anyone have any thoughts about what I should do?
akawil: Powerpuff Wil (Powerpuff Wil)
Once again, I prove I am the master of work-avoidance!

LMG showed me the make-your-own PowerPuff pic generator. So of course I had to make one. And adjust it to be the appropriate size for a LJ userpic. And then tweak it in GIMP to make it "accurate," since they didn't have proper beards or quite the right color of hair.

This is much the same spirit of work avoidance which has led me to re-read the entirety of Undocumented Features in the past two weeks or so. UF is a fabulous story, now, don't get me wrong. It proves that it really is possible to do self-insertion anime fanfic spectacularly well, and it does mind-boggling megacrossovers. (How many stories do you know that feature Utena Tenjou, Slappy Squirrel, Babylon Five, and the Transformers -- and make it work?). But is this really what I needed to be doing just now?

I've gotten LMG reading it now, too. Though she won't admit it. It's a virus, I think.

All this while I've got a paper submission due for a conference tomorrow. It was supposed to be due today, but the conference's submission site was apparently having problems, so they extended the submission deadline by a day. Personally, I suspect someone mounted a denial-of-service attack against their server so they could get an extension.... I'm not complaining.

All this writing has gotten me through a writer's block, I guess, so LMG's nagging to get me to write a LJ entry finally got through. Writing's not that hard, once you get into the flow of it. Weird.

Oh well, that's enough for now.

Mood: Either accomplished or stressed. I can't decide.

First post

Feb. 19th, 2002 09:38 pm
akawil: Powerpuff Wil (Default)
I don't imagine that I'll be posting in this very often, but you have to have an account to get yourself onto a Friends list.

My dear sweetie Lady Mondegreen introduced me to this whole journal stuff, thus the name at the top -- she's proclaimed me to be "Wil" in her pseudonymic journal entries, so I figured I'd go along with the theme...

Time to go stop the chicken from burning.

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akawil: Powerpuff Wil (Default)
akawil

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