I moved to Iowa City in 2006 to start my Ph.D. in the History Department and haven’t left. I’m currently writing my dissertation on marriage disputes in 15th century Paris using court cases from the archidiaconal courts.
I received my BA in history from Millersville University in Millersville, Pa., and my MA in medieval studies from Western Michigan University. I’m currently a TA in the History Department, but I have taught rhetoric as well.
I am quite active on campus. I am a member of GSS and currently serve on the Graduate Council, the Executive Council of Graduate and Professional Students, and as co-chair of the GSS Travel Funds Committee. I am a member of the Council on the Status of Women, which is a diversity organization on campus, and chair its Herstory Committee. We produce the UITV show, “Women at Iowa” as well as many Women’s History Month events on campus.
As an Italian-American from New Jersey, I have to say that I like this place. I hope I leave it better than I found it and that my being here has made a difference... and I hope I finish my dissertation.
It has been a long time since I've written a blog post. I don't really have an excuse other than I've been so stressed out about writing and job applications that I felt focusing any attention on the blog wouldn't be productive. I came to a realization today, however, that I want to share with you all.
Writing is an organic process.
Next time I create a blog post, I will do it from my apartment in Paris... but I get ahead of myself as I haven't written this post yet.
I'm leaving for a 5 week research trip to Europe on Sunday (less than 48 hours away), and I beg you to not let me travel in the middle of the semester again. This is honestly the most stressful trip I've ever taken, and it is by no means the longest. I'm not packed, I have a list with 15 items on it (including "pack" and "blog post") and I have a day to do it. It will get done but I'm stressed.
Sometimes life gets away with you in this dissertation process, and you lose focus.
The problem with writing a dissertation is that it is just so HUGE. In my case, I have to write about 300 pages not including my bibliography, and it is just daunting. I remember when I defended my prospectus I left the room terrified. All I had left to do to get my PhD was write a dissertation; that is terrifying! Huge also means that the deadlines are far away and in between you have other things that happen which seem to take precedence.
I had planned on posting about juggling work, school, committees, and significant others when my computer got a virus and now all that has changed.
First, I want to say that I didn’t quite make my deadline from last week. I tried very hard, but it seems that writing a dissertation takes a while, even when you know what you want to say. I did make some of it, just not all. Things aren’t quite working out the way I had planned but I am quite flexible and always have schemes.
Ok, back to my computer.
Deadlines, in general, terrify me.
I don't know how most advisers deal with deadlines for their students, but my adviser doesn't have a set plan for every student. At some point after she meets them, she decides who needs more guidance, and who can be left to their own devices. For the former she tends to give deadlines for projects, or parts of projects; for the latter she lets them come up with their own deadlines, and usually it is for a finished draft of said project.
I fall into the latter category.
As I'm sure you all know, we are currently in the midst of "Winter Break." I think, in general, students have a visceral reaction to the idea of a break. It is a time when we can kick back, relax, and watch judge shows all day... until the second day when we realize that we are grad students and we don't get a break. So what does a break really mean to us as grad students (especially in the humanities and social sciences)?