I’m breathing a huge sigh of relief right now. I’ve faced the inevitable, spoken to the appropriate powers that be, and officially postponed my taking of a special area exam until next semester. I wrote about the special area exam (hereafter SAE) in some detail here, but as a quick reminder, it’s an exam that all PhD students must take before they can officially register for dissertation hours. I knew aiming to take the SAE this semester would make my life incredibly hectic, but I forged ahead with the plan anyway. Things were going pretty well until I got my first batch of essays to grade as a TA and, during the very same week, found out I had diverticulitis. I feel like that’s when everything got derailed. I got behind on things and haven’t been able to catch up. Then Creegan arrived, about two weeks early, which was semi-expected but nevertheless added to the craziness for several days. The deadline for taking the SAE this semester is now a mere two weeks away. It’s an impossibility at this point, because it took something like four or five weeks to do just the preliminary work on only about half or the articles I need to read. Bottom line, I probably still need a couple of months to prepare. And so, I’m thinking late January, early February. Either way, it won’t matter, because it won’t be within the next couple of weeks. Really, it should be a lot easier because next semester I won’t be taking any regular classes. All of my non-TA efforts can go directly to the SAE and then to preparing for a dissertation prospectus. If those are the only things on my academic plate outside of my TA responsibilities, I think I might actually get somewhere. Regardless, not trying to take the SAE this semester is a huge weight off of my mental shoulders.
Looking at the next month or so, I’ve got another big batch of papers coming in next week that will need to be graded. A couple of weeks after that, I’ll have a final paper due in the seminar I’m taking. And that’s basically it, school-wise. Not shabby at all. Quite tolerable. Again, I should be working on preparing for the SAE even now, but that can safely go on the backburner as needed. All in all, I’m feeling good.