Remember when I mentioned that one of my committee members was unavailable for, oh, the whole semester? Well, I ended up replacing him with Dr. Magoo, a bit of a bumbling professor who is actually familiar with my research. All was well with the world, and there were rainbows and puppies everywhere. Except, well, Africa and the Middle East and maybe also Capitol Hill, but I digress.
On a Friday afternoon conference call for a committee I serve on, coincidentally with Dr. Magoo, though it has nothing whatsoever to do with my University, we were all attempting to schedule the next call. I mentioned that I would prefer late November, as my defense was scheduled for November the 13th. We all had a good chuckle about my nerve for scheduling it on Friday the 13th, and then went back to scheduling – at which point Dr. Magoo mentions he also would prefer late November, as he will be in Asia until the third week of November.
He will be in ASIA until the THIRD WEEK of November.
You have got to be shitting me. I email him immediately, while still on the conference call, and as soon as the call ends, I call his office (fully expecting him not to be there, as it is now 5:30 pm on a Friday and he is not known for his diligence). He answers, and I ask him about the alleged Asia trip – he happily answers, NOT EVEN AWARE that he is ruining my life. I bring up this point, in a much mature fashion than I am presenting it here, and he is utterly unconcerned. He says he will get back to me with the specific dates of his trip, but that he will definitely be out of town for the currently scheduled date.
You CANNOT reschedule a defense this late in the semester. Not for 5 busy scientists, and not around all the other room requests. Not before Thanksgiving, which is absolutely necessary. And so, this is how I came to replace the replacement member of my committee a month before my defense.
I emailed the graduate coordinator and asked her to be on my committee; as she is the one who has to sign change of committee forms, she will presumably exercise a bit more foresight about her availability. She agreed as of this morning (I spent the weekend hyperventilating), but I’m asking again, just to be sure.
In the meantime, I’m trying to get my dissertation formatted as per the graduate school’s instructions… so far that’s three hours of my life I would have rather spent scratching my ass and staring at a wall. Why is it important for an electronic dissertation to have suppressed page numbers on the first three pages, and the first page of every section? Why must it have 1.75″ margins on the first pages as well as the first page of every section, and 1″ margins elsewhere? Why can’t they provide templates for this shit if they are going to be so bizarrely nit picky? And why do the instructions contain jerry rigged approaches for this formatting? And the sample pages contain dummy text about how infuriating formatting is. I will cut you, grad school. You better run.
Sigh. Husband got his official start date, and it’s in 3 weeks, so he’ll be moving a good bit in advance of me. I think it’ll be fine, since I have so much work to do anyways, but I will miss the support. It’s sort of a weird dissonance – preemptively missing my husband and wanting to join him as soon as possible, and feeling totally unprepared for moving away from my friends and family. I think the ambivalence will morph me into a crazy jerk for a bit (obviously I am totally blameless in this shift in my disposition), and thus, I am sending myself to bed.