Friday, January 6, 2012

30 While 30 - Back to School!

One of my 30 While 30 goals is to make some progress on earning that PhD I never finished. The only things standing between me and greatness are a theory class, a preliminary exam, a literature review, and a dissertation. In December, I submitted an application to be re-instated to my PhD program. December 30th, I received notification that I had been re-admitted. On Tuesday, I started that theory class. It's official, I'm a "non-traditional" student. I remember that back when I was a naive 1st-year MA student I looked at the PhD students who had "real jobs" and families and wonder how in the world they made it work. As luck failure to complete my degree in a reasonable time frame would have it, 7.5 years, a marriage, and a 3-year old later, I'm one of the 30-something-year-old students who shows up to class in professional clothes and feels slightly self-conscious about carrying a backpack.

I used to have an office here, three floors from the top. Crosley Tower is one of the largest poured-concrete structures every made. It's also quite possibly the ugliest building I've ever seen in person. 8 windows per floor, no natural light in the hallways, and one bathroom (either men's or women's) nested under the stairwells in alternating floors.

It's a long uphill climb, as I've been out of the loop so long that there are three new faculty members to get to know, an entirely new prelim structure, and a ton of research to catch up on. My dissertation will be going in an entirely different direction than originally planned, given that there's been 5 years worth of development in cohabitation and I'm now in the health field. It just makes more sense to start over, and if I'm starting from a blank slate, I may as well choose a more relevant topic.



  1. That is one ugly building. Congratulations and good luck on completing your PhD!

  2. dissertation - one of the "only" things.  I would think that is the toughest one.  Best of luck and I hope you have fun learning new stuff about the world and yourself.  One of the best things in life is learning.  I was in my late 20's, married and one daughter when I finished my BSEE.  Nothing beyond that except a few grad credits that I'm not sure are worth a cup of coffee now.  Adult students are more serious because they appreciate the value of education.

  3. yes I know this is the second comment and I hope you don't mind, but I stumbled on to this and thought about your PhD work.
    Scaling of differentiation in networks: nervous systems, organisms,
    ant colonies, ecosystems, businesses, universities, cities, electronic
    circuits, and Legos.

    Did you notice "Legos" in the title?  You could do you dissertation on the underlying math operations in Legos.

    who knew?

  4. Good for you! That's very exciting. I am 3 credit hours and a mini-thesis away from a MA, but I have zero motivation to finish it (especially since all my credits are at UC and we moved to Boston before I finished)



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