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PhD-ing Mamas! Acheiving and Believing in 2009! - Page 8

post #141 of 252
well, hello again, mamas

i have a quick question. how long, as in number of weeks/months, do you typically budget for writing a chapter?

and/or, did you find your subsequent chapters to go a lot faster than chapter 1?

i know this is going to depend on a lot of things, including how many chapters you have in your diss, and what happens to you life-wise while you're writing them

in my field, 4 chapters + intro is customary. my first chapter was 40 pages and took me 4 months to get a solid draft of (this is with 25 hours/week childcare).

i have the second chapter underway, and while it is in the very rough stages, i have gotten about 15 pages written in a week, after researching for about 3 weeks.

do you think i could bang out a 35+ page solid draft between now and aug. 1? i'm finding it hard to believe the second chapter could be so much faster. is this typical?! it would help me to know as i think about planning when to go on the market, and when/if to TTC
post #142 of 252
Wow, you ladies are inspirational!

I have an M.S. in polymer science and engineering, and worked in my field as a scientist for 6 years before returning to university to do a PhD in materials science and engineering. A few weeks into my new program, I found out I was pregnant! (never planned to be a mom, was always very career focused). I took classes and worked until the birth and never returned after my maternity leave was up. I just couldn't leave my high needs baby as much as I would have had to do to do my coursework and research. My homework alone took up as much as 30-40 hours per week.

So now, dd is 3, and I am looking into returning next year, perhaps in the summer.

I am looking into changing over to biochemistry and biomedical engineering or chemical engineering, from materials science.

I am in a panic, b/c I feel I have not retained mathematics or even chemistry and physics knowledge in the past 3 years. I also still cannot imagine leaving my dd. She won't be parted from me at all now, so in a year I worry it will still be awful. She is extremely bright, extremely needy, extremely spirited, extremely sensitive, and often quite contrary, LoL. I imagine most childcare places will return her to me once they've had a go at her. (or worse, will damage her spirit, I fear).

I wanted to homeschool her, but honestly, am not sure our finances will bear my being a SAHM forever. I have tons of student loans, just borrowed to supplement my tiny stipend back in the nineties that has gotten huge with interest these past years. (6 figures). I also have two friends, SAHM's, whose dh's are dying right now, and I realize I *need* that PhD as insuarance, ya know?

I want to try to make all this work, but I feel ill even thinking about it.
post #143 of 252
What drives you to get your PhD? Is it just because of the debt? If it is, I wouldn't go for it. Have you thought about adjuncting at a local university? They may pay about $1000/credit hour and are always looking for engineering adjuncts - I would e-mail dept heads and HR depts directly. It only requires a master's, is extremely flexible, and you only need a sitter for contact hours and office hours. A PhD is more than a full time job, especially in the first few years of coursework as you well know.
post #144 of 252
I gotta read further into this thread . . . so excited to have found other PhD mamas, and sad that it wasn't sooner! My dissertation in cultural anthropology has a focus on parenting. I'm going to read more posts and get back to you later.
post #145 of 252
Quote:
Originally Posted by readytobedone View Post
well, hello again, mamas

i have a quick question. how long, as in number of weeks/months, do you typically budget for writing a chapter?

and/or, did you find your subsequent chapters to go a lot faster than chapter 1?

i know this is going to depend on a lot of things, including how many chapters you have in your diss, and what happens to you life-wise while you're writing them

in my field, 4 chapters + intro is customary. my first chapter was 40 pages and took me 4 months to get a solid draft of (this is with 25 hours/week childcare).

i have the second chapter underway, and while it is in the very rough stages, i have gotten about 15 pages written in a week, after researching for about 3 weeks.

do you think i could bang out a 35+ page solid draft between now and aug. 1? i'm finding it hard to believe the second chapter could be so much faster. is this typical?! it would help me to know as i think about planning when to go on the market, and when/if to TTC
I certainly hope so. I have a full first draft due on August 1, and I have two chapters left to write. I absolutely think it can be done, and that subsequent chapters go more quickly because of what I will now call, "the dissertation zone." This, er, theory states that the more you write, barring major disruptions that take you out of "the zone," the easier the writing process becomes. If I am away from it for a while, it takes me longer to read, and longer to write. But the sheer momentum of having written that first chapter might surprise you (and your committee).
post #146 of 252
Ok, third post to this thread, and I am just now introducing myself. I'm mama to three (DD 8, DS 6, DD 2) and currently writing my dissertation, although I won't technically be ABD until my committee reviews the two chapters I just sent them. My DH finished his PhD in Dec 2007 and, after what seems like over 50 applications, has yet to find academic work.

You are all inspiring to me, especially isaoma, probably because I was in the same boat back in April when I retrieved my own "unsatisfactory progress" evaluation form out of the graduate student mail room minutes before walking over to confront my committee for a prospectus defense. My chair basically indicated that my coursework was excellent but that I should be defending my dissertation that month. I was mortified, but after an uncomfortable yet extremely productive meeting with my committee, I came away energized (and with clear deadlines).

I have a results chapter due at the end of the month and still have data to collect! But all I can do is to keep plugging away . . . don't panic, don't panic, must get back to work now . . .
post #147 of 252
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carita View Post
What drives you to get your PhD? Is it just because of the debt? If it is, I wouldn't go for it. Have you thought about adjuncting at a local university? They may pay about $1000/credit hour and are always looking for engineering adjuncts - I would e-mail dept heads and HR depts directly. It only requires a master's, is extremely flexible, and you only need a sitter for contact hours and office hours. A PhD is more than a full time job, especially in the first few years of coursework as you well know.
What drives me most is that it has always felt like "unfinished business," even when I was working full time as a researcher in my industry at the same level as PhD scientists. It was a piece of credibility I felt I was lacking. Also, I simply miss the research. I love to work on a project in a lab, and to write and present results. Being a scientist gives me a thrill like nothing else.

I *wish* that my coursework and proposal were done. It would have been so much easier to return if I had those under my belt prior to childbirth.

I could look into the adjunct possibility, but UF is so huge, it seems like they only use PhD's for anything. The local 4-year community college might need someone though.
post #148 of 252
The only way to find out if they need adjuncts is to ask. Many universities are hiring adjuncts in this budget crunch because they are much cheaper. There are no benefits and no guaranteed course loads each semester, so many universities are looking to adjuncts and graduate students to teach their courses, including lab courses. One thing also you can do since you love the research aspect is to inquire if anyone needs a lab assistant - again, professors love cheap intelligent laborers. I know a mom here in the animal science dept that is a full time tech and has her masters degree. Its a bit stressful to be on soft money, but its a very flexible, mommy-friendly job & she loves it.
post #149 of 252
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carita View Post
The only way to find out if they need adjuncts is to ask. Many universities are hiring adjuncts in this budget crunch because they are much cheaper. There are no benefits and no guaranteed course loads each semester, so many universities are looking to adjuncts and graduate students to teach their courses, including lab courses. One thing also you can do since you love the research aspect is to inquire if anyone needs a lab assistant - again, professors love cheap intelligent laborers. I know a mom here in the animal science dept that is a full time tech and has her masters degree. Its a bit stressful to be on soft money, but its a very flexible, mommy-friendly job & she loves it.
I have considered looking to see if any of my old profs need some help in the lab. I am particularly interested in doing some SEM, AFM, or thermal analysis for hire. It would need to be in the evening or weekends though, b/c working during the day for $10 an hour and paying that much for childcare makes no sense. If I simply wanted to return to the workforce, my earning potential is a lot more than what the univ. would pay a part time employee, so I might as well look for a job in industry, ya know?

My struggle is with wanting and needing (there is a time frame for this) to return to school to complete my PhD, while at the same time experiencing nearly physical pain at the thought of dd being in any sort of childcare or school. I am quite old now, so if I wait until she is high school age, I will be 50'ish. I know women who have returned to school at that age to do law school, med school, and PhD's in various fields, but have not ever seen or heard of it being done in my particular field.

I would love any encouragement or thoughts regarding my hopes for eventually resuming my PhD pursuit.
post #150 of 252
I am sorry - didn't mean to upset your dream. A PhD is a hard road, especially in the STEM fields. I am there and unfortunately, even now that I am done with classes completely, my son is in FT daycare. It is extremely hard, but I had to decide which was more important, and make it work against all your mothering instincts to hold your child forever. For me, the only thing that helped was mind over matter, and I knew a couple of years in the front end would have long term payoffs. I also had minimal coursework left and minimal teaching responsibilities. I practically took a year sabbatical from research to some quality with my son during his first year, but that doesn't help me get in hours at the lab. So we transitoned DS from 2 days/week at 7 weeks old to 4 days a week by about 7 mo, and FT by 1 year. Even with him at DC FT, it goes slow - but my home time is my family time, and I'm not willing to sacrifice that.

Some people find the time to do everything - staying up to 2 am, then waking up at 6 am with the baby, or have a great support system of relatives that can share care. I am not that person. And my brain doesn't work properly at those hours. My DH is wonderful, but also hold a very demanding FT research job. I hope to be my version of that person though - I am currently making a huge lifestyle change and going to try to finish my dissertation from "home" (aka where all my family is) and DH accepted a much less stressful and more flexible teaching job.

Good Luck! I hope sharing my experience helps. Your case will be much different bcause your LO being older will make the hormones and other side effects of new mommy-hood less of a factor. Maybe it will be easier?
post #151 of 252
Thread Starter 
hey everyone,

what's up? how's the gearing up for fall semester going? or are you in denial that summer is almost over!!??

well, i've finally got a little fragile groove going with my writing of my first chapter. teaching two classes this fall. i need to solidify my syllabus for one. i'm really not excited about teaching this term but i am thankful for the gig.

its been a challenging summer in terms of getting work done but very slowly and surely i'm making some progress. i just hope the everyday hustle of teaching/grading/prepping along with mama-ing and wife-ing doesn't throw me off my writing path.
post #152 of 252
Quote:
or are you in denial that summer is almost over!!??

Yes, indeed I am. I am REALLY looking forward to my classes next semester but first I must take (and hopefully pass!) the German reading exam (August 25th--think good thoughts!) .

If indeed I do pass, then I will have QE's in December which stresses me out, too.

I am also currently shopping for viable dissertation topics. I've gone thorugh about 10 ideas so far and nothing is really sticking for me.

But the best news is--I am NOT teaching next semester!!!!! Woo hoo!!!! I have taught five days a week for the past three years and am SO looking forward to a small break.

And the class that I am currently scheduled to teach in the spring is only three days a week And it is a culture class I haven't taught before (I have always taught language classes--hence the five day a week schedule) and I am really looking forward to it.

So I do have lots of good things going on, just the small matter(s) of the German exam and the ensuing QEs bringing me down
post #153 of 252
big life change here - just moved for DHs job - he is moving from gov research to academia - i think he is crazy LOL. The position is stafff for now but will be "converted" to tenure track. I do not have FT care anymore, but won't be teaching either. I will have PT care help from my parents. Technically I am on leave from the University.

GL everyone!
post #154 of 252

second chapter draft turned in! woohoo!

i just had to come share this with people who would get what a big deal it is.

i got my first chapter draft turned in mid-may, and now i am done with the second. only 2 more to write, plus an intro. it was my goal to have 2 chapters turned in by the start of fall semester, so yay! i did it!

i have no idea how "good" it is, but it's done, it's in one piece, t's crossed and i's dotted, and i just sent it to my advisor.

:::

sadly, i don't get much time to celebrate, because now i have to quickly switch gears and work on getting my syllabi together for the 2 classes i am teaching this fall.

school doesn't start for 12 more days, but we're going out of town mid-next week to visit family and attend a wedding, so i need to get all of my teaching stuff squared away by tuesday.

i can do it, right?!
post #155 of 252
I just wanted to check in because I am lurking : a lot.

I got accepted to a PhD program this year but about two weeks later also found out I was pregnant so I have deferred until next September (making my DS about 9-10 months old).. I figured it was better to not start out and then have to chance dropping out right before the end of the semester or sometime mid-semester due to complications etc.

Has anyone started their PhD programs with a newborn/toddler and managed to do it without going insane? My husband works from home which means childcare is being split, as much as it can when you are breastfeeding..
post #156 of 252
Quote:
Originally Posted by ithappened View Post

Has anyone started their PhD programs with a newborn/toddler and managed to do it without going insane?

I started my PhD program when dd was just short of three months old. My sanity is questionable, however
post #157 of 252
Welcome! I had my DS after my exams. I think it really depends on the type of program, the atmosphere, and your advisor. And well pregnancy and PP hormones do different things to different people. Hopefully you will have an easy going DS and can get lots of studying done. I do recommend FT childcare. At leas for me, with my studies and an assistantship, it was the only way to get anything done.
post #158 of 252
Catira-

full time is considered what? I know this is a silly question but living in Europe the definition changes dramatically country to country :P
post #159 of 252
Quote:
Originally Posted by ithappened View Post
Catira-

full time is considered what? I know this is a silly question but living in Europe the definition changes dramatically country to country :P
our daycare is open 10 hours a day, 5 days a week. DD is there probably 8 hours a day, 3 days a week. that is enough time for me to dissertate OR teach but not both

so like right now i am just dissertating, in the fall i will be just teaching, and then next spring/summer no teaching and i will finish up the diss.

i think with a 9-10 month old, you will feel that you're getting back to your normal self, and it should be doable at that point. you may need to find somewhere to pump depending how long of a stretch you need to be at school.

i went back to school (really, it was just teaching!) when DD was 3.5 months. and i don't recommend that
post #160 of 252
I was planning on trying to do half days at daycare with my DH taking him in the afternoons, say after 2pm.. . . and alternating 'work' days.

I figure that gives us both 3 days of work a week plus a day off together .. ?
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