GRE: Part 2

I am taking the GRE–the general graduate school exam–again and applying to doctoral schools in the United States.  I studied this time, so I hope my exam scores improve.  They were alright before; however, I would like them to be better.  While it has been difficult to make myself study for the exam, I think even my medium amount of preparation will help.  Now, I will remain calm and apply the skills I learned.

I still don’t know if applying to doctoral school is the best course for me, but I would like to try.  Doctoral school would allow me to use my research skills to a fuller extent than now.  I would (hopefully) be paid to learn about topics I love during my time in school and after.  Also, it would be cool to have people call me “doctor.”


Thesis penultimate bar

Whoo!! I loved seeing this in my comments window today:

“From this point forward, I will only be looking at the first few pages of each chapter. My role is not to line edit any section of your draft, but to point out common errors so that when you go through the editing process, you’ll have a better idea of what kinds of errors you’re looking for. This means you’ll have to go through the entire draft yourself and address the same kinds of errors I’ve addressed on reviewed pages. Your draft is really clean (and I mean REALLY clean!!), which will make your editing process both easier and harder. You’ll find fewer mistakes, but unfortunately, those errors will be anomalies, rather than common mistakes that I can point out to you as things to scan for specifically.”– love, the grad dept.

I finished almost all of the edits, and I am SO ready to finish.  I can’t wait to tell people I am done.

How to not write your thesis

It’s been a while since I published anything here.  Life and schoolwork have kept me busy.  I finished the first final draft of my master’s thesis.  It took my chair three weeks to read the new part and return it, which means I am on an even tighter deadline than before the delay to graduate this semester.  And yet, I am beating myself up again for not working harder and faster on my paper this week in order to turn it in by Friday.  I will have to turn it in Monday, as my professor suggested when he gave it to me.  It probably is for the best, since I have to run additional tests on data, check my APA formatting, etc. before I give it to him.  I’m going biking Saturday, so I really have to buckle down and finish what I can before and after jazz band and my hopefully very brief student meeting tomorrow.

Here is a list of ways to avoid writing (or editing) your thesis:

  • Check out blogs and other websites; possibly follow up by writing about your inability to focus on your project.
  • Watch “just one” episode of an engrossing TV show, and let it turn into a five-hour marathon of intense soul-searching through the characters in the program.
  • Practice your music, which has nothing to do with the thesis
  • Workout and view information on sports health
  • Drink and socialize because you’re worn out from worrying about your thesis and your physical health
  • Agonize over running shoes online
  • Look for the latest and greatest new bands and their albums

The list is infinite.  What would you add?

Work & Life

Here is a great podcast transcription from the Freakonomics team on analysis of the factors contributing to the gender wage gap.  It’s a little different than what most people assume.  The section on the effects of blind auditions in orchestras struck a chord with me because of my experiences as a musician auditioning for different programs or placement in groups.

I am still working on collecting data for my thesis.  I feel frustrated because it’s taking so long, and every time I take what would be considered normal breaks, I feel guilty because I am not working on my paper.  I think I’ll try asking my boyfriend if he would be okay with us chilling together this weekend while I work.  If he sits near me, I feel more inclined to work because of additional guilt if I waste our time by not working.

My assistantship bothers me a little less this semester, partly because I am doing less in it.  However, I still wish it was over.  The sooner I finish my paper and graduate, the better.  Therefore, I will resume working.

Advice from the Cat

Finish the laundry.  Fold it and put it away.  Otherwise, I will cover it in fur.  Even if you put it away, my fur will cover everything.


I am so far behind on my thesis.  The extra classes and assistantship sapped my time and energy yet again.  I will still aim to finish my data collection before the next semester.  The other data coder seems to have retreated from the university.  I don’t know if I can rely on her to code anything else–she finished the second pilot study–and training a new coder may be difficult.

I should finish it and put it away, before everything is covered in fur again.

frustrating myself

Every time I talk about procrastinating, my boyfriend reminds me, “Procrastination is like masturbation.  In the end, you’re only screwing yourself.”  While it is true, a constant lack of completion despite working on projects can make working difficult.  See the gif below for my current state.  I have a short essay due tomorrow in a class where I feel I am constantly on the cusp of being behind.  I also have over 200 videos to analyze for my thesis, and I have to make sure my partner reviews them, too.  I haven’t balanced my checkbook in almost four months, and I may say “forget it.  I’ll start over with the bank’s numbers,” because the balance is so off.


I decided I need to finish booking my Australia trip in order to cross it off the list.  I have other things to do, but it’s getting to the zero hour for booking.  I can write my ethnomusicology review after.

Also, I have decided pursuing a PhD in ethnomusicology isn’t for me.  While I love foreign places and music, I think spending another three or four years in school is something I do not want to do.  I want to see the world.  Maybe after I work for a few more years I will go back to school for a PhD in one of my areas of interest, but right now, I need a break.  I would also like to be financially independent.


I’m surprised to say, I love teaching.  It’s fun, and I feel like I learn as much from it as my students.  Sure, everything doesn’t go exactly as planned, but I learned how to roll with the punches and modify my lessons and goals based on what happens in the classroom.  Teaching also caused me to reassess my own behavior and see where I can improve my life.  I think I can be happy teaching, researching, and writing/creating art.  It’s amazing to watch people as the lightbulb clicks in their head and they understand how to do something.  Sometimes less than pleasant experiences emerge, but that’s true in any field–even ones you love.

Teaching is a way I can make a difference, one life at a time.