Long Overdue, Grad School Update
Posted on 2019-03-14
It seems that I have been away from my blog for exactly eight months now. If you’re still following my writing even with my inconsistency, then, thank you. If you’re no longer following and just happen to be passing by and seeing this post, I also want to thank you, because you shouldn’t have to put up with something that is not consistent. Due to my inconsistency, I have merged my more personal blog with this one, so that all of my blogging is under one umbrella. Hopefully, this makes it so that blogging doesn’t seem like an overwhelming feat for me–in terms of thinking which type of post goes where, etc.– which may help me be more consistent when it comes to blogging.
To start off this post, I will say that I am officially a Ph.D. candidate after successfully defending my dissertation proposal at the end of Black History Month this year!I still technically have to submit my D-3 form hopefully by next week and definitely before the end of this month. My date was set for February 26th from 2:30pm – 4:30pm, at which I found out I had a successful defense at 4pm.
Prior to my defense, I felt nervous– not because I didn’t think that I would have a successful defense– because I could not pull myself to do any work at all. 2019 started off with me staying in New York longer than I wanted to because I had to get dental work done. When that was 2/3rds done, I got back to Miami and had an underwhelming (personal/social) January that was full of work. At the beginning of February, I also received a lot of comments from one committee member which essentially wanted me to change the direction that I was going in for my project. The change in direction being something that I did not want to do and expressed that it was not the direction I was taking my project. This also made me feel unmotivated to do any work. Everything just seemed like a lot–including the fact that as all of that was happening, I had not even started making my powerpoint for my defense. My powerpoint was put together exactly three days before I had to defend (something that I’m not proud to admit). This was possible because I have an amazing advisor who gave an insight into the five topics you need to touch during your proposal defense.
Defending your Proposal
I’m not an expert by any means when it comes to defending ones proposal. Seeing that I did not start a powerpoint right away however, and my powerpoint eded up being good, I am simply sharing what goes in the making of a PowerPoint to defend your proposal, given these 5 points that my advisor gave me:
1) The Central Research Question/Thesis.
2) The Significance of the Research Question/Thesis
3) How other theories have addressed (or failed to address) the question.
4) How you plan to investigate the question (your methodology)
5) The potential impact of your findings for future research.
My entire powerpoint for my defense was eight slides. My three additional slides were just the title slide (with my name, topic of my proposal, and acknowledgement of all committee members), a background slide (before I just blatantly and directly have the thesis slide), and a “questions, comments, constructive criticism” slide.
Seeing as I have not updated my blog for eight months, some of you may be asking “how did she get here?” Especially because my last blog post on grad school was about failing one section of the core part of my comprehensive exams. Unsurprisingly, I retook and passed the core part of my exams early September in the Fall of 2018 with a score of 17/18. The academic hazer was not a part of the process, even though he probably would have wanted to fail me again due to his own need to haze and feel better about himself. However, the first fail did have real impacts, as the entirety of my Fall semester was spent writing my dissertation proposal to defend early in the Spring, since the first “fail” score, set me back by a few months.
In the Fall semester, I believe that I burned myself out. At Florida International University (FIU), including my department of SIPA, there’s this structure that they use which pays TA’s and Ph.D. students sub-par wages for a period shorter than the average time it takes to graduate. This forces many of us into adjuncting and receiving a decrease in our already low pay but an increase in work. My time as a Ph.D. student has been me rushing to get to the finish line to not have to adjunct. I’m already poor and can’t afford to be even more poor because of our for-profit University system that only encourages richer applicants into the Ph.D. pool in society.
Successes adding up towards my end goal
In spite of my lack of motivation when it comes to writing, I have been getting active in and about applying for different grants, contests, and fellowships as a “just in case” I don’t complete my dissertation before the Fall 2019 when I am out of funding. The scare of adjuncting honestly pushes me through some days, to send in applications– even if they are rejected– so that I gain practice in applying for various opportunities to help ensure an early and successful end towards my goal of obtaining my Ph.D.
I was runner-up contestant in the E-IR contest for my article Settler Colonialism and Financial Exclusion of Banks in the English Caribbean. I was accepted to present at this years ISA Annual Convention in Toronto at the end of this month. I was also denied funding by the Hayek Fund for scholars application to attend the ISA conference. I was also denied funding by FIU GPSC to attend the ISA conference. If you follow me on Instagram (where I am actually more consistent), I do have and post regular updates about grad school things in my stories and captions as they happen.