Sunday, March 29, 2015

Spring 2015 and the Prospectus

This is a special post where I am apologizing for my lack of posts this semester. The qualifying exam process was quite stressful, but the prospectus process has proved itself even more difficult. Graduate school has been educational in more ways than just content. My classes have taught me theories, methodologies, scholars, and critical thinking, but I've also learned outside of the classroom. From time management to scheduling to interfacing with administration and advisors to supporting peers and colleagues to entering scholarly conversations through publishing, the graduate school experience is truly a unique experience.

Retrieved from PhDComics

I have been focusing on writing my prospectus, which is the document that works through and justifies my argument for the larger dissertation. What will eventually become chapter 1 of the project has been difficult to conceptualize. From my original focus on evolution, I then incorporated other religious controversies such as the environment and creation care. Now, the dissertation focuses on Burkean theory and how we tell stories to explain the world around us. I am currently very comfortable with my argument and look forward to entering the full writing stage.

Retrieved from PhDComics

The iterations of the project were certainly time-consuming, but what was more stressful was the unexpected change to the committee make-up and the need to meet the expectations of different people with the same project. These types of changes can certainly disrupt the graduate experience, especially because of the reliance on our advisors and committees. Although the American system, and specifically communication and humanities/social sciences programs, do not always have a strict mentor/mentee relationship, flexibility is not always a blessing.

Retrieved from PhDComics

All in all, I am proud with my progress this semester and am learning more about the intricacies of the committee relationship and the process behind the degree. Now approved, I hope that the blog posts will become more regular on Sundays, except for holidays or traveling.

Onward to the dissertation!