Sunday, May 29, 2016

I'd like to thank the Academy . . .

Part of the submission requirements for my dissertation includes an "Acknowledgements" page. Which is great--I'm all for gratitude, and I certainly could not have written this dissertation by myself.

But acknowledgements always end up sounding super cheesy. I mean, I want to thank the obvious--my rockstar supervisor, my parents, mentors who helped me get to Oxford, the librarians, etc. But there are so many more things that also helped me write my dissertation--the practical things like the fact that I don't have to use a typewriter and that so many of my resources are online.

If I could write an appendix to my acknowledgements, I would definitely include:

-The Original Broadway cast of Hamilton.  For pump-up music and for making feel hip, cultured, and intelligent. (And for keeping me awake while I wrote bibliographies and footnotes.) Not throwin' away my shot, ya'll.

-The cold, rainy English weather for forcing me to stay in the library and actually write my dissertation.

-Spell check. And the synonym finder on Word (for those times when you use the word "essential" way too many times).

-Dry shampoo. Obviously.

Couldn't have done it without you guys.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

What writing a dissertation looks like.

Hi, folks.

I'm emerging from the depths of my cave to briefly let you know that I'm alive.


But I'm alive.

My dissertation is due on Monday. (Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh)

Despite the internal (and external) screaming, I'm actually feeling pretty good about it. I just have some loose ends to tie together, conclusions to strengthen, etc., etc.

But all I really want is a Magnum ice cream bar.

Too bad all of the stores are closed now and I have no food in the fridge.

Because, that often happens when #dissertationofdoom is at your doorstep.

And this is what writing a dissertation looks like.

You forget to buy groceries and rely on free food at seminars to get you through the day.

You also realize that you really, really, really have to do laundry. And that dry shampoo only goes so far. Clean clothes/clean bodies are actually a good thing. What?

You have way too many papers piled on your desks both at home and at the library.

You constantly have bags under your eyes.

[Help. Me.] 

You become a walking time bomb. Anything can set you off in either torrents of tears or fits of rage. Or hysteria.

Did I mention that I still really want a Magnum bar?

Tomorrow I'm going to treat myself. Because I'm worth it. And because I hear that ice cream is actually brain food.

*This post brought to you by Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture. Because I'm writing about both Wars of 1812 (the British/American and the French/Russian ones), and there's nothing like some cannon fire to wake you up when you have to revise footnotes.*

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Come the May, I say.

Posts will be few and far between this month. At least, that's what it feels like. Because I'm working on #dissertationofdoom. And it's due at the end of this month. So, you know. I'm kinda dying over here.

But tonight you get a blog post because in the midst of Megan wading through drafts and papers and books, laundry has to be done sometime. I mean, clean underwear is kinda important.

So, this post is brought to you today by the laundromat and the month of May.

Because did I mention that it's May in Oxford?

And it is incredibly, insanely beautiful.

Unreal, really.

I mean, just look:

I am in love with spring in England. 

It smells of green and growing things. 

The mornings are light and the evenings don't get dark until 9. 

My morning runs are perfect. 

There is a bush I walk by every morning and night that perfumes the air. I just want to stand under it for as long as I can (but it would look weird--especially since it's on High Street. If it were on a different, out of the way street, maybe I could get away with it). 

[Oh haiii, favorite bush.]

Also, May in Oxford means May Morning, which is basically where the Magdalen College Choir Boys climb to the top of Magdalen Tower and then sing to welcome in the spring. 

It was a beautiful moment, watching the sun hit Magdalen Tower and listening to songs of May. Honestly, it was magical. 

(Less magical was almost being crushed by 10,000 of my closest friends on the way back from Magdalen Bridge, but I made it out alive.) 

May Morning/May Day also meant that I made blini for my friends. Which just made the start of May absolutely wonderful. 

Let's just say that I am a fan of this month in England. It's like a different world from the grey that I am used to here. The sunshine, flowers, and light are so good for my soul. 

I just wish I didn't have to worry about #dissertationofdoom and could picnic in Port Meadow and make daisy chains all day long. 

Stay forever, please?