Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Have You Ever Dated Someone a Second Time?

As I settled back into my office after a three-hour meeting on Monday morning (Gah!), I found an email from Thesis Advisor #2 waiting in my inbox.

All in all, he really like what I sent him a couple of weeks ago. He said I showed "tremendous command of the theoretical framework" I am working with, which completely made my day. His suggestions for Chapter 2 are clear and I should be able to handle those without too much misery.

If I am able to address the issues in Chapter 2 that he pointed out then the issues with Chapter 3 will be clear and pretty easy to deal with, as well. So, not too bad. I am not overly worried about this.

Check me out! Did you read that last sentence!?!? "I am not overly worried about this." HOLY COW, you guys.

So, yeah, I am in a rather good place with The Thesis right now. 


Thesis Advisor #2 is going on sabbatical. He warned me of this, so that is not really a crisis, just a REALLY BIG BUMMER. I asked him who he recommend take his place as chair, and he said he "actually" (his words) recommends Thesis Advisor #1! Gah! Thesis Advisor #1 does have the best background for what I am doing, but.... shit. 

Thesis Advisor #1 has published about one of the spaces I am looking at. That should be a good thing. Right? Except what if he is so dead set on his own ideas that he refuses to acknowledge mine and what I have done so far? I am not worried about my idea getting tossed so much as I am worried about getting buried in a muddle of vague "ideas" and "suggestions" from Thesis Advisor #1. Like before.

But, before I was neck-deep in depression and anxiety. Maybe this time I can see through the shit, or at the very least, call him on it and insist on clarity? Wha?

If I do go with #1, I am going to explain up front that he needs to respond to me and my requests within a week or so. I am not afraid to do this. (Yay! The old me, the REAL me, wouldn't be afraid to do this, either. Maybe I still am a bit of a spit fire!) Maybe if I say this out loud so IT IS OUT THERE he will be embarrassed enough by his past behavior he might make an effort to be available. Maybe.

Thesis Advisor #1 does not like fiddling around with abstract theory. This IS The Thesis: fiddling around with abstract spatial/social theory and creating a methodology based on it to apply "on the ground." I think this is exciting. Thesis Advisor #2 admits #1 isn't a fan of abstract theory, but because that chapter is "really solid" I shouldn't have to worry.


Since the gist of The Thesis is to create a methodology based on abstract theory and simply uses this particular space as a testing ground for said methodology and is not trying to definitively explain this particular space, it should be okay. Right?

Thesis Advisor #1 is totally content to let me run on my own without bugging him, obviously. So maybe he will just help me finish and call it good?


Potential Thesis Advisor #3 really isn't into spatial theory stuff I at all, and isn't familiar with the theorist(s) I am working with. But, she is curious and a bit of a dare devil, so I think she would be willing to dive in. However, given this, it may take longer to finish with her than Thesis Advisor #1.

Do I really want to chew my way through THREE ADVISORS? 

So much for the good place.

For now, I am fine tuning Chapter 2 and re-writing Chapter 3 and ignoring the fact that I don't have an advisor. 

What would you do, Oh Wise Internets?


  1. Hmmmmm
    No idea... sorry I am useless.
    I would lean toward #3 but don't know why

  2. Oh man, that's a tough one. #3 sounds interesting, but you know what you're getting with #1. If you're willing to talk to #1 about the problems you had before, he might be the better way to go.

  3. Oy. OK, first of all I think the "OH NO THREE ADVISORS" argument should be thrown out. It's not about how many advisors you've had, it's about who will be the most helpful and supportive for you moving forward.

    So... well, hm. I am distrustful of #1. Yes, he lets you do your own thing. But I'm not sure that's what you need. And at some point he will have to get involved, and then it will take too long, and it doesn't sound like what he has to say will be particularly constructive.

    But #3 is a wild card. Can you meet with her and talk about all this without committing? And see how you feel after that?

  4. my vote is advisor number three! why? because i like that even though she is not familiar with all your work, she seems genuinely interested and i have always found that i am more productive when i am learning/teaching. thanks for writing about The Thesis, now i have a slightly better understanding of what i need to do!

  5. That's a tough one. If you could meet with #3, you could get a feel for her attitude and how she would handle things. If not, definitely let #1 know how you are going to do things and what you expect from him. Good luck!

  6. i've re-dated boys on two separate occasions in my life.

    neither one worked out. :-P

  7. jnyfritz - the best way to go about a thesis is to do the EXACT OPPOSITE of me. Then you should be set! Hee!


    Maybe because some people seem to muddle and confuse EVERYTHING they have a hand in, and #1 seems like one of those people. Run away!

    On the other hand, suggestions here to "meet with #3 first" and "get a feel for her style" are probably wise.

    In any case: remember, it's your thesis. If someone makes a suggestion that is confusing, tangential, or just plain wrong, you can always just listen politely, nod, and then do things the way you want. It sounds like you're on a roll--like you have a strong sense for how you want it to work. I'd say go with that!

  9. How long is this sabbattical?

    If you think you have made enough substantial progress that you know where you're headed and don't need as much support, I might go with #1 and just do your own thing in the interest of speedy completion. But meeting with 3 isn't a bad idea either.

    (Um, am SO CURIOUS about your topic. Do you accept unqualified but enthusiastic outside readers?)


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