the noise you hear, is me exhaling

The official word came today that I succesfully passed my Comprehensive Exams. I discovered that one of the answers/questions went to a third reader, which means one reader passed me and one failed me so a third reader broke the tie and passed me. The answer in question was my Specialization, which focused on blogs. Basically in my synthesis I argued that blogs were an emergent narrative genre meaning that blogs allow users to be authors, that blog readers co-author narratives on/through blogs. I argued that this narrative is dynamic and character-centered and occurs because of the technology that drives blogs and the individual personalities and ethos(es, ethi?) of bloggers. I did not think that most people automatically saw blogs as a fixed genre. In my opinion, the genre is fluid, changeable and not completely defined. I could be wrong about this and apparently the reader thought I was. The comments he/she offered amounted to: So what? I feel he/she missed the point that I was attempting to argue that blogs were not a fixed genre but rather an emergent narrative genre.

Well, the question that was asked by my advisor was where did I see the blog genre in ten years. The idea is that if blogs are an emergent genre, where will they be 10 years from now? I began by answering that question. I did not re-establish the argument of my synthesis because that wasn't the question asked of me. I suppose I should have because the respondent did not feel my work was foregrounded enough. He/she also took exception with the way I used narrative theory, genre theory and my sources.

The third reader who passed me, called my answer innovative and edgy. So go figure.

One of the readers for my pedagogy answer said he/she considered my answer a marginal pass because I only cited 7 sources. I cited 7 sources in a 10 page comp. answer; is that not enough? Also, I provided no works cited page. I wasn't under the impression that we were supposed to do that considering I wrote for four hours straight without any source material around me. Was I supposed to memorize the citation information?

Ultimately, I passed. Not with distinction, mind you, but I passed. So while I am relieved I don't feel happy, elated, joyous like I thought I would. Why am I focused on the negative part of this?

academic resolutions revisited

Since it is the end of the semester and I noticed some other people revisiting their resolutions, I thought I'd do the same. I broke my goals into categories. Here's a recap:

Self-discipline:1.Try not to get caught up in the drama of the program, despite the insistence of others who attempt to create it.
I actively resisted the drama but nevertheless being in administration is going to lend itself to being involved. However, I was aware that it was drama and so was able to separate myself personally from it. I'm going to give myself 80% successful for this one.

2.Try not to inflict violence of any sort onto anyone this semester, including murdering any colleagues because I’ve had it up to here with Straight White Maleness. I managed not to kill anyone though I did dream about it a few times. 90%

3.Read productively. This means not feeling guilty, insecure, or any other negative emotion attached to reading for comps, classes, teaching.
No matter how hard I try to ease up on myself about reading/studying, I always feel like I should be doing more. Or at least I feel like I should feel like I should be reading more. Still, I managed to get a lot done/read and felt incredibly productive. 60%

4.Try very hard to be an organized mentor/administrator.
I did much better at this than in previous semesters. And considering I had Comps. this semester I'm giving myself a 85%.

5.Be present during Office Hours.
I was around so much this semester. I canceled office hours a few times but overall I was available. 90%

6.Avoid toxic people. ( see #2 above).
All things considered, I pretty much achieved this goal. 90%

Research skill development:

1. Do some historical research on the evolution of the book for historical grounding of theories.
My research went in another direction but I did manage to gather some interesting sources for this approach to textual studies later.

2. Ignore research that seems really interesting but doesn’t really pertain to my topic(s).
For the most part, I stayed on track. 95%
3. Try not to get discouraged.
Yeah, not so much. I struggled with this a few times, especially during the last exam. 45%
Actual research:

1. Enjoy reading texts from diverse disciplines.
Oh yeah! I checked out cookbooks, architectural magazines, quilt patterns, all kinds of stuff. 100%

2. Don’t worry about connecting it all… yet.
I did pretty good here. I just read and read and read and wrote and wrote and then freaked out. 88%

3. Revel in the process of research, of learning something new.
I tried. While reading, I enjoyed discovering new things. While writing the syntheses I didn't do so much reveling. 80%

Personal goals for the Ac-Year

Physical Fitness:

1.Start bicycling so I can walk up a flight of stairs without being short of breath.
Failed Miserably! 0%

1.Reduce stress level by only listening to my positive friends.(see #6 above)
I'd say this worked really well. I faltered at first but managed to come around. 90%
2. Continue therapy.
I am continuing intermittently but because that was what we agreed on. 100%

3. Take my doctor’s advice, even if it includes medication.

I eventually gave in to taking sleeping prescriptions but rarely use them. 75%

4. Don’t blame my neuroses on my mother.
She's been a tremendous help this semester and I'm working on not blaming her for all my problems. 70%