Monday, May 13, 2013

The beginning of the summer

It's basically the first day of summer. Even though graduate students are never supposed to take breaks, I love the feeling of having nothing scheduled, no obligations other than my own work, no one making demands of my time. If I want to take my work to the park with a fabulous friend, I can.

It's amazing the weight that is lifted off my shoulders by finishing the spring semester. I had a good one, by all accounts: incredibly busy, but I got to teach an excellent class, present at a top-notch conference, begin working toward publications, and nearing the end of my preparation for candidacy.  But despite all the good I experienced last semester, it feels great to sleep in, rearrange my schedule as I feel like, and pause to blog a bit.

At the end of this month, I'll begin the first half of my candidacy exams: qualifiers, comps, whatever you want to call them. Basically, I'll be locked in my carrel in the library for 72 hours, typing as much as I can in response to two questions. Until then, I'll be frantically reading. I've been reading about language, composition pedagogy, and rhetoric of science--theory, theory, and more theory. But I love it--there's so much knowledge in my head, and so many ideas of how to use that knowledge.

After I take the exams (and assuming I pass), I'll begin work on my dissertation prospectus, which I intend to defend before the start of the fall semester.  I'm moving right along, and beginning to really feel like a full-blown academic professional, a scholar. I love it.

This summer, though, I'm looking forward to having time to do my own work, explore my newfound drive for reading and writing, and getting publications out.  Without the burden of teaching and with the flexibility that summer enables.