As I’ve alluded in the past few weeks, Alan is finishing up his dissertation. He accepted a job in Hartford four and a half weeks ago, and immediately went into gotta-finish-the-dissertation mode.
For reference, let me back up to early November 2012. Alan had just interviewed with a company in DC, and they tentatively offered him a job, which he tentatively said he was interested in. He started to work hard to finish up: working occasional overnights, working six or seven days a week. He’s always been a hard worker. I’d say he’s worked at least 60 hours a week his entire graduate career. After the DC job offer he bumped that up to at least 80 hours a week. I didn’t like it, but it seemed temporary–for a while he was hoping to finish before the beginning of 2013.
So at the end of May when he accepted this other job offer (the DC offer was materially changed as a result of the Sequester/Fiscal Cliff budget cut, so when Alan was recruited by this Hartford company, he pursued the opportunity), I was incredulous that he could work any more than he already was. He had been working 80-100 hours a week for five months!
But he did: he started working harder and longer hours. Alan’s a night person. He gets a second wind around 10pm, and does his best work of the day after that. Additionally, his entire “group” at the university uses the same lasers, so it’s worth it to run a bunch of experiments once they are set up. And working over-night is good because the rest of his group is generally not there, so the laser is free.
Alan has worked every night for the last four weeks. He works overnight, comes home somewhere between 2am and 6am, and sleeps until about noon. Then he goes back to school, and works the entire afternoon, evening, and overnight again. A couple of times a week we eat lunch together before he goes back in. And a couple of times a week he comes home at 8pm for dinner, and goes back in at 9 or 10pm.
I am excited because it’s almost over!
The absolute drop-dead date is June 28th–less than two weeks. That’s the deadline for turning in his dissertation if he wants to defend this summer, and he does want to defend this summer! He’s aiming to turn it in a week early, so that if there are any issues he can resolve them before the 28th. So as early as this Friday he could be done with the intense, 125 hour weeks! We are both so, so excited about that!
People have asked me if I’m excited about moving and selling our house, and I’ve said that I simply cannot think about that yet. Alan’s crazy schedule affects me: I pick him up and drop him off if he’s too tired to run to work. I bring groceries by a couple of times a week. I sleep fitfully until he comes home, and don’t start working on projects (like the bathroom) until after he wakes up at noon. If I start thinking about the new house and such, I’ll want to talk to Alan about it. And he simply doesn’t have the spare emotional energy!
So in a week or so our lives (and by extension this blog) will be much more exciting. I’ll finish up the bathroom renovation, and start on other projects around the house. We will be researching real estate agents and looking at houses in Hartford (I visited one when Alan interviewed that I looooooooooove, but who knows if it will still be for sale when we sell our house). I will focus more energy on getting a job in Hartford. And we’ll have time to do fun things again, like go on bike dates and visit my grandma’s cottage in the Finger Lakes.
Do you have any stories about graduate school? Did you or someone you love write a dissertation? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!