Winter 2012 Challenge

If you joined us last summer, and you are still not finished with your dissertation, you can join us again. The in-person 2012 Winter Dissertation House at UMBC starts January 17-20, 2012, and the online blog session (Winter 2012 Challenge) will run until July 2012.  Join us as online we start the New Year working on establishing new goals and revising old ones.  Even if you have never posted on a social network before you can start posting here. This blog is dedicated to graduate students working on their comprehensive exams, proposals, and or doctoral dissertations. We have found that when working on a long-term goal it is important to let others, including loved ones, know what you are trying to accomplish.   Just writing your goals down helps you to stay on track and posting them to a blog helps you to maintain some accountability to someone other than yourself.

Setting your deadlines is an important task.  Not only do you need to set a long-term goal such as finishing your deadline or graduating in 2012, but it is important to  set mini-deadlines for when you want to complete your a draft of your dissertation, chapter, section, page, paragraph.

What will you be working on this semester? Join us online. We are excited to see who will be the first to post in 2012.


Update: March 2012

This blog session now has more than 1200 comments. To join, page down to the bottom and login.  Introduce yourself and post your goals. Come back daily for motivation and to let the group know how things are going.  This blog will be in session until July 2012.

2,105 Responses to Winter 2012 Challenge

  1. Day 84. Hi Dissertation House!

    I’ve been away on a few life adventures and it’s time to center myself and dig my heels in for the final stretch. I hope everyone’s well.

    I told my advisor I’d get a draft of Chapter 3 updated. Let’s see if I can get something good to turn in tomorrow (after a full two days of leading a teaching portfolio retreat!). My eyes are closing but they’d better stay open for the next few hours..

  2. Jodian says:

    I’m back and I am focused! Every day I am making a progress in my research. I have started to realize that even the small progress counts.

    My work plan for the break was not a great success due to the internet and software issues, however, I have a mini-symposium coming up, so I worked on my poster.

    In 2011, I started a running PowerPoint of my research data and based on Dr Carter, started included summaries of key observations and methodology. In 2012, I plan to start a Word document of my research goals, methods, and key observations.

    Also, since I getting more accustomed to the project I’m working on, I have started to pre-plan the next day’s goals/experiments.

    Today the goal is to: 1) perform work on my project involving a ligand of interest and start working out the kinks of a new program I will be utilizing and 2) start my Word document of my methods.

    Welcome back Alexis and everyone! Have a great day!

  3. Day 83 and counting. Alexis was the first to post in 2012 (after me of course)Congratulations!!
    And in the no.2 spot was who? Jodian? Good for you welcome back and a great start to the new year.

    Stay focused everyone and we await, Lenisa and dr2b Westmoreland’s return. Happy New Year 5 days in. Every little bit of forward progress works.

  4. Michelle says:

    Good morning Everyone,

    I know it has been a while since I checked in but I wanted to wish everyone a happy new year!! I also wanted to share my update and goal for today

    Update: I defended my proposal on December 20th 2011. It was a great holiday gift to myself.

    Goal for today: Finish first draft of IRB application and send to advisor for her review.


  5. Hi again,

    I finished a draft of the IRB application. I will look it over once again tomorrow and send it out to my advisor.

    Plan for tomorrow:
    1. Edit IRB application
    2. email to advisor
    3. do some research on Atlas ti


  6. Good morning Everyone!

    I’m not feeling too motivated today but I’m here in my office. I’m made it out of my house (yeah!!). Just printed out my IRB application to edit.

    I guess I’m feeling a little overwhelmed because I have a few other things that I committed to do today in addition to my dissertation stuff. I’ll check back in when I finished my dissertation goals, which I plan to do first.


  7. drwestmoreland says:

    135 Days. This is really fasle because its my graduation ceremony countdown, once I set my defense date I will change this to 2 weeks before that date and then I will have a mild panic attack and carry on.

    I had a not so great winter break, concerning my dissertation. I was sick and then I came back Saturday ready to work and I got sick again, this time worse. I am just getting back on my feet. My advisor is back from out of the country so I will meet with her later this afternoon to discuss some things and a date for my dissertation. She mentioned to me this morning about moving the date earlier by a few days because one of my committee members is going to be out of town.

    I have so many things to do I guess I will start with making a todo list.

    Let’s get to it!


  8. Day 82. Happy New Year, everyone! Dr. CV, Jodian, Michelle, Nikki, it’s great to “see” you!

    Let’s work through the storm. Dr. Marinelli at the Counseling Center quoted from the 12-step program: Progress, not perfection.

    I overslept today but I’m working on my analyses now. I had some weird descriptives the other day, so I’m making sure that those are taken care of, then I’m updating my chapter 3 to submit to my advisor.

    After this I will get more of the big questions answered, piece by piece. Steady progress.

    Happy Friday.

    P.S. is anyone going to the Community of Writers potluck tomorrow on Frat Row? I don’t have a dish yet, but that’s secondary to committing to the writing!

  9. Hi Nikki and Alexis good to know that I’m not working by myself today.

    I like your reminder Alexis, progress not perfection. Today I finished the edits to my IRB application and sent it off to my advisor. I checked out Atlas.ti and found that they had a free trial version to download. I’ll play around with it this weekend. Anyone knows how to use it?

    Have a great weekend!

    Alexis, Robert and I will be at the Community of Writers potluck tomorrow. Don’t know what I’ll bring yet either, maybe my usual fruit 🙂


  10. Glad to see Lenisa, Michelle, and Nikki are back. Happy New Year; It’s also good to see that we are not totally giving up even when we are overwhelmed and not motivated. Progress not perfection is good saying for all of us to adhere to. Have a great productive weekend.

  11. Ok, working isn’t so bad when you HAVE to come back to it. I got some of my reliabilities run, and although I have some questions, I can still do my chapter 3 edits with what I have so far. I will go to the COW potluck tomorrow and put in some more work.

    So, for the weekend, edit as much of chapter 3 as possible in time to turn in a new draft Monday morning.

    Over and out.

    Dr. Smackdown

  12. lenisaj says:

    Hello Everyone and Happy New Year.
    I am at the Community of Writers Potluck. In seat and working on a scholarship application. My goal for today is to do as much of the application as I can in 3 hours. Ready set Go!

  13. Day 79: Finishing and turning in updated draft of chapter 3 + agenda for meeting tomorrow

  14. Hi Everyone,

    I’m really sleepy, but again I made it out of the house and am in my office getting ready to work. Yeah!!

    I just got feedback about my IRB application from my advisor and plan to work on them today and tomorrow.

    Happy writing everyone.


  15. drwestmoreland says:

    Day 63….

    I met with my advisor Friday and I might be defending on March 26th or 27th. Anyways, today I am going over some papers I have from my advisor to see if they belong in my dissertation. I am giving myself 2 hours for this task then I need to organize some things and re-plan my writing schedule that originally went through April and now ends at the beginning of March.

    I e-mailed my committee members and I am waiting to hear back from just 1 person so see if they say the same. My advisor is leaving the country again so my window of opportunity is limited to the week when she is planning to come back.

    I should be freaking out but as Dr. CV. says I don’t have time for that. Onward and upward I am marching towards my goal. I spent most of my morning organizing myself and my desk. I have my TADA Journal out and I am fired up and ready to go!

    Happy Monday


  16. Happy writing! I’m definitely struggling with not freaking out. No time! But there IS time to do a little more, and that’s where my focus needs to be. The light’s still green.

    I submitted my draft and my advisor won’t have time to read it before tomorrow, but she said I can walk her through it. So I can do a little more filling in of the numbers and decide what needs to happen next.

    Some steps:
    – Fill in school and district level public data to get a sense of response rate
    – Think about how to deal with irregular item responses and missing data
    – Review information on power analysis/calculating recommended sample size (a limitation)

  17. drwestmoreland says:

    Day 63 went well…..

    I have my final “to done” list and I am going to meet with my dissertation mentor tomorrow to re-work my calendar but I kind of already have it figured out. I will just go for a little confirmation and emotional support.

    I went through like 7 papers today and a book section for my dissertation. I put a few paragraghs in that I thought were important here and there. Tuesday will start and end with my last coding spree which will probably then continue the rest of this week according to my schedule.

    After I walk in the snow to my car I am going to reward myself with Starbucks for a mostly successful Monday.

    My 2nd mother from church asked me today “How does a person eat a elephant?” and I said “BarBQue it and then cut it up??” to which she replied “One bite at a time, and that’s exaclty what your going to do with that dissertation”.

    So here I go here I go here I goooooooooooooooo!




  18. Day 78. Saved a new data file with demographics to include in my description in Chapter 3. Have to run to my assistantship to lead this last week of portfolio retreats. Super sleepy. Meeting with my advisor today. I have a new consequence for missing days of work. If I go a day without contributing something toward my dissertation, I have to send my advisor an email: “Dear Kathy, Today I did not work on my dissertation. – Alexis” and face whatever consequences. More than likely she’s just going to wonder how far off the deep end I’ve gone, but I hate the idea of her reading that, so it’s just enough internal/external motivation…


  19. drwestmoreland says:

    Day 62.

    Alexis, that e-mail sounds scary….let me try….”Dear Linda, Today I did not work on my dissertation. — Sophoria” ahhhhhhhhh, oh no I don’t like that it’s for bad people. 😦 Today I am going to start coding and probably meet with my advisor during lunch.

    Let’s get to it!


    • Yes! Let’s get it. Today went well. My advisor meeting was actually bearable, and I even told my advisor about my email strategy. She smiled and said, “And the key is what I’ll send you back as a result of getting that message.” I said, “Exactly. I don’t want to know so I’d better not let it happen!”

      Some quick edits to my chapter and I’ll get back into the results/analyses. I can do it!

  20. drwestmoreland says:

    Day 62 has stolen from Day 61….(theivery I tell ya)

    I finished all my Spring 2011 coding which was a BIG hurdle for me. I made myself finish. I also met with my advisor today and we talked about a paper that we are trying to get out by Friday which will also probably turn into my Chapter 3 or 4 or something like that. Today I felt that “backing off” that is what every good advisor should do when the bird is ready to leave the nest, it felt weird though. I was somewhat hesitating on being assertive because I didn’t want to seem rude, weird I know but in time I will get used to it.

    I am trying to figure out how to get my officemate to stop talking to me, he is a very sweet guy but he talks too much. I don’t feel bad saying it here because he even says it himself all the time. Maybe I should wear a black ski mask or put a sign on my back that says “busy” or “invisible please leave a message”. I like it quiet which is why I LOVE the winter semester because bay bay’s kids are still at home.

    I need to make a flow chart for the paper before I go home, well not really I just need to draft it so it can be on my mind for me to decide what I really want it to look like.

    My hands are swollen and red from too much typing and writing….:(




  21. Day 77. Oh my goodness, Nikki, you are cracking me up over here. From the black ski mask to the bay bay’s kids, I’m rolling. That probably does feel weird – the backing off – but it’s a great sign. Also, the assertiveness is something I struggle to attain, too, because it’s necessary. But it’s not rudeness. Anyway, even if it is considered rude, well-behaved women rarely make history. 🙂 Congrats on pushing through the data! Did you give yourself a cookie (or a cupcake)?

    I’m cleaning/organizing data to have my set ready to go for all the analyses (Ready, set? Go!). I’m not sure how long it will take, so I want to push through like Nikki before and after the retreat today.


    P.S. Happy birthday, Dr. CV!

  22. You ladies are funny. Keep pushing on! You can do it!

    Yesterday wasn’t such a good day for me. But I’m making up for it today. I just submitted my IRB application. Yeah!!!


  23. drwestmoreland says:

    Day 61 was filled mostly with sleep and thoughts about sleep. I am working on a paper with my advisor but my mind is drifting and I need a early start because she is coming in early tomorrow so I will call it a night and start back in the morning possibly with some coffee from McDonald’s since they are having a $1 sale on any size. I don’t usually drink coffee but theirs is pretty good.



  24. Go, Michelle! Good luck with the IRB. The people there give good feedback if there is anything to edit. And Nikki, happy sleeping. I’m on my way there, too, so I can be productive in the morning before the last day of retreats. 🙂 I see the promised land, and I’d better get there with you!

    Good night, #TeamFaSho!

  25. Day 76. The cleansing rain has passed and there were splashes of brilliant pink and orange in the morning sky. Today will be a good day.

    I’ve discovered a gem for working in my office – so excited to see SPSS AND MPlus installed on our computers!! Gotta clean some more data and this will help a lot. I’m planning my next steps for today/tomorrow/weekend right now. I will go to the gym after my FINAL day of portfolio retreats for the YEAR – woohhoooo!!! They’re so good but they’re so intense – I’m worn out afterward. Then tomorrow is the on campus writing group that Learning Assistance Service is hosting. I should get a good amount of work done there.

    So good.


  26. drwestmoreland says:

    Day 60. The rain and my blankets played trickery on me and I thought it was still night so I didn’t get out of the bed until after 7. Anyways, McCafe’ and me are here and ready to work. I sat in my car and watched the sun rise on the roof of Lot 5 now I am inspired to rise to the occasion and get my work done today. I agree Alexis, today will be a good day.

    I am working on the paper today and prep for my next coding marathon which is segmenting some of the data into chunks that I will code at a later date. The segmenting helps me go through them faster and get into my groove.

    Keeping my mind on Jesus.


    Mmmmmmm good.


  27. It has been a grrreat day. I tried to get myself to do some more work in the office after my last day of two weeks of leading portfolio retreats (plus cardioboxing and abs classes), but my brain is fried. I’m going to post what I want to accomplish next (big goals) and get home and eat some leftovers before I crash…

    Learn and execute stats – the closest ones for me to attempt next are for my 2nd and probably 3rd research questions. I will start there once I’ve gotten some notes started. So as I take my notes, I will try to reflect on how I expect the stats to come out and things to remember that are specific to my dissertation (application recommendations)

    Write up the basic tables. I realized that I had to go back and clean up certain parts of my data set to re-run a descriptive analysis, but I dunno if I actually went back and re-ran the analysis to compare to the previous descriptives before I added in new data. So I have to make sure I have that and everything looks copacetic (probably the most complex slang term I’ve ever used).

    Draw up draft of chapter 4 with new results once analyses are coming together. Meet with stats person and advisor to check in as I go. Generally survive this phase of my life.

    So, yeah, these can’t be done in one day. I start with the stats reading tomorrow, since all I’ll have to take to the writing session at the library will be my books rather than my laptop. Oh, and a bunch of water, snacks, and caffeinated drinks.

    K. Gnite, #TeamGetItDoneCauseICan’tThinkOfMuchMoreToNameThisThing

  28. drwestmoreland says:

    Day 60 is DONE!!!

    Day 59 is trying to steal but I’m not gonna let it! I just finished a 15 HOUR work marathon…:( Anyways I am taking Day 59 off for some doctor’s appointments and etc. I think it was the coffee. I don’t normally drink coffee but I thought I needed a pick me up this morning. And let me tell you, it picked me up and it won’t let me down. I probably won’t fall right to sleep when I get home. I feel like the energizer bunny….

    Since I am taking off tomorrow I wanted to check a few more things off my list before I come back Saturday and kind of make up some of tomorrows lost time. I did a bunch of stuff but mostly spent like 12 hours working on that paper/new chapter. I think it was worth it because I am happy with the work I did. The most important things I did today though were apply for graduation and reserve the room for my dissertation defense!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂 Oh I got a JOB INTERVIEW scheduled yesterday!!! It’s next month in Texas so I will need to start preparing for that also soon. Ooooooooh LaLa!! 🙂

    I am probably going to see blue/gray bunnies hopping across the road on my way home, that’s what I always see when I am sleepy. I will try my best not to kill the non-existent creatures.

    Saturday I am set up to code at least three journals from Fall 2011. Maybe more depending on what time my morning meeting at the museum ends. Our new exhibit on Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello opens at the end of the month. If anyone has a free day (like in your dreams when you do) stop by and see it. (



  29. Wow! Nikki that is awesome!! I’m working on stats at the LAS writing retreat. Was so confused by these formulas and then realized there was an error in the book description. Anyway, making my way through the current chapter so I should be able to tackle the rest soon. After I’ll go see my friend at the hospital. Praying for her.

    Have a good weekend, #TEAMGETITDONE!

  30. Day 74. Super sleepy. Saturday morning syndrome. 🙂 More stats today. Phone is acting weird so I’ll be brief: Goal is to finish a chapter with some notes on application.

    Good day – we made it thru Friday the 13th alive with only minor surgical scars (my friend is doing fine).

    Thanking God for healing and a new day. #TEAMGETITDONE

  31. Day 73. Long day but grateful for good health in loved ones and near misses from what could have been tragic. Didn’t get anything done but I could do some skimming before I fall out….

  32. drwestmoreland says:

    Day 56. I am doing my community a service today by working on my dissertation and one day being an inspiration to someone else to go out and get an advanced degree. I think Martin would support my efforts and what I am trying to do here. I’ve been to the mountaintop, I’ve seen the promised land, I am going to get there.

    Today I am coding. I can’t really expect that I will get to much more besides maybe a job application or some job related research on my breaks. My plan is to work until around 6pm and then I’m out and we’ll try again tomorrow.



  33. drwestmoreland says:

    Day 56 was GREAT! I was so motivated. I would probably work another hour if I wasn’t hungry because I forgot to pack food this morning so I am going home to eat. I think it was because I was for the most part uninterupted by whatever. It was so quiet and I made it through 5 and 1/2 design journals. I mean I coded 5 and 1/2 design journals and I also transcribed their interviews after I coded each journal.

    I have 15 journals, so 5 down and 10 to go. I spent my entire day on journaling today and that will probably not be a reality the rest of the week so I will make a goal of 3 per day until Friday then I will be done.

    My goals for the week are:
    1. Code 15 journals
    2. Transcribe 15 interviews
    3. Trabscribe 1 video interview
    4. Work on DCC Conference Paper

    I have a reward waiting for me on Friday to go see the movie “Red Tails” with my girlfriends!!! 🙂

    I am preparing myself to get all my sleep tonight so I can be here fully prepared in the morning. Tuesday might be a McCafe’ day…..:)



  34. Day 72. Happy MLK, Jr day and my dad’s birthday and just general celebration of life and freedom day.

    I took a while to get into things but I managed to read more stats and plan out how much time it will take me to work thru all of the reading while getting the rest of the analyses complete. I actually timed myself to see how long it takes me to get thru a certain number of pages, so I won’t expect too much and shut down.

    I have had some health issues come up in my family over the past day, but I think things will settle down this week. Basically i’ve been at the hospital friday (for my friend), Sunday, and today. I might be back tomorrow depending on how the tests go. It’s been scary to say the least but I have been able to stay focused on getting some dissertation tasks accomplished while being with friends and family in meaningful ways. I’m also very thankful for the support I have received from loved ones. This all reinforces how important it is to me to get this degree so I can be there even more for them.

    Good night, #TeamGetItDone

  35. Susan Mitchell says:

    Hello once again! If you haven’t been to a Dissertation House before, you’ll be pleased at how much you’ll learn and how much you’ll get done. I’m finally in my last semester! I just turned in my Application for Diploma. At this Dissertation House, I plan on 1) talking to Dr. Carter about my status, 2) finish some transcription, 3) create the outline for the remaining chapters of my dissertation, and 4) work on writing one of the sections. (Subject to change!)

    • drwestmoreland says:

      Hi Susan! Happy Dissertation House week. As a three time alum, I agree completely! Bets wishes on your goals this week.


  36. Yasaman says:

    Happy day everyone! I plan to start writing a paper that I have been working on for the 2 past months! Starting with writing the introduction….

    Good luck to all,

  37. Wes Griffin says:

    After hearing so much about Dissertation House, I am excited to finally attend. My main goal for this week is to finish the Introduction to my proposal. I plan to accomplish that by 1) writing a problem statement, 2) summarizing my background material, 3) writing the significance of my research, and 4) stating a hypothesis.

  38. Margaret Dabek says:

    My goals for this week:

    1. Start filling out thesis template (downloaded today- yay!)
    2. Update EndNote Library
    3. Copy Candidacy Proposal over to template
    4. Write up rationale for 2 projects (10pgs each)
    5. Update background (10pgs)

  39. Amanda Davis says:

    Day 1 of Dissertation House.
    Here are my goals for the week:
    1. Finish my proposal, I have three paragraphs and some minor edits to make.
    2. Replicate the methods used in an article to see how they set up the data
    3. Download and format data from the 1999 Census Transportation Planning Package
    4. Work on my presentation for my proposal defense
    5. Outline my introduction of my dissertation.
    -Amanda D.

  40. Goals for this week:
    Discuss how my work is related to:
    * Jadhav et al
    * Pawar et al
    * Pospieszalska & Ley
    * Caputo & Hammer
    * Bagchi et al
    * Chen & Springer
    * Shao & Hochmuth

    Take some notes on 4 unread articles

  41. Gretchen H says:

    I am ready to start working! Day 1 goal is to complete a detailed outline for Chapter 1.

  42. Hye-Sook says:

    Hi all,

    Things that I will/ need to do for today:
    – Come back to literature and clarify my topics
    – Clarify my topics by writing issues of my study and send them to my advisor
    – Revise my interview questions based on the topic
    Hope we all can accomplish our goal of today!

  43. Carlos R. says:

    My Goals:
    Day 1. Outline of the Dissertation. Based on this => Deadline for finish with requirements
    Day 2. Intro & Results for Chapter 2a
    Day 3. Intro & Results for Chapter 2b
    Day 4. Intro & Results for Chapter 2c

  44. drwestmoreland says:

    Day 55.

    Today started with McCafe’ so I know it is going to be a GREAT day working into a GREAT week. I am being kept in perfect peace. Today I am going to work on my DCC conference paper and code and transcribe 3 design journals. I plan to work until 6pm and go home, that means I have 3 hours for both tasks starting at 12. I have a few e-mails to write and prepare before I get started.

    Alexis I will be praying for you and your family members, things that take us away from the dissertation are uncontrollable so keep your mind on Jesus and he will carry you through. This is a time for you to take seriously your schedule and monitor your physical/mental/spiritual health to minimize stress.


    Let’s Go People!


  45. evesdawn says:

    WOOHOO!! Day 1 of winter DH! I have my own blog, but I posted my goals and the results of meeting with Dr. Carter already there – here we go!!

    Margaret 🙂

  46. Pingback: Dissertation House @ UMBC started this morning at 9 AM sharp! 58 comments online so far! | The Dissertation House

  47. Hello All
    It’s day1 of the Dissertation House. Welcome to those of you participating on line. If you have even been in the DH, you know how busy I am. I will post later on tonight.


  48. future "Dr. Faizah Carr" says:

    Hello everyone,
    I am attending my second Dissertation House. I am excited to be on campus. This type of DH will be different than the retreat, but I have made a sacrifice taking leave from work to gain motivation from these great resources.
    My goals are to 1) incorporate Andersen’s conceptual model to both my abstract and literature review, 2) make additions to my introduction, 3) make additions to finish the research & methods 4) request data from AHRQ for SEDD, and 4) create a schedule to work on dissertation on a weekly basis outside of Dissertation House.

  49. Margaret Dabek says:

    life-changing words of the day: “If you have time to wallow, then your schedule isn’t tight enough!” -Dr. Wendy Carter-Veale

  50. evesdawn says:

    Good evening, DH!
    Time to wrap things up, here’s my post for my wrap up of today, and where I want to start tomorrow! See you then!


  51. Gretchen H says:

    Goals for tomorrow:
    1. Continue expanding on my outline for Chapter 1
    2. Continue to write sections of Chapter 1….make them concise and flow easily
    3. Work on getting all of my sources into endnote

    Let’s make it happen!

  52. Susan Mitchell says:

    I made good progress today. But the transcriptions that I have to do are taking longer than I thought. I also actually had 6, not just 4, to do. I completed two. The day was almost over at that point, so I began looking over my dissertation to see where I need to go next when I pick up writing again. Tomorrow, I’ll do 2 or 3 more transcriptions and maybe some writing to break the monotony. Goodnight!

  53. Hye-Sook says:

    It was a short day for my work – ;(
    I have been outlining some aspects that I will focus for my research –
    Need to finalize my interview questions by tomorrow.

  54. Rah says:

    Intro part1 done..working on part 2

  55. drwestmoreland says:

    Day 55 was good. I had some minor distractions but I pressed my way through. I had a permanent retainer put in my mouth yesterday so I feel like I have been swallowing metal all day. I don’t know how much I am going to like this. I finished journals 6,7, and 8 both coding and transcribing. I also worked on the DCC conference paper and sent a new draft to my advisor for her review. Maybe she won’t review it tonight and then I can probably finish all my coding tomorrow. Okay, maybe not but we shall see.

    I’m out.

    We ARE #TeamGetItDone!


  56. Patti Ordonez Rozo says:

    Hello everyone,

    Greetings from Cambridge…. I am working on getting some data and possibly a post doc… but in the evenings I am working on my dissertation! It’s so great to see everyone working hard. I will do the same remotely. I just spent the last few weeks working on my results. I, like Margaret, have a blog to share with you…

    I see the count downs everyone has. I think I should do the same, but since it is the third time I am counting down, I am a bit hesitant to do that. Dr. CV, set me straight.

    Have a great week everyone! I will peak in from time to time…

    Patti PhD(c) <— that means PhD Candidate soon to be Dr.

  57. Carlos R. says:

    Good Morning …
    The Challenge is ON!!!!!!
    Goal today: Intro-Results Ch. 2a
    Thanks everyone

  58. Good Morning, Dissertation House! Goal for today is to enter edits for Chapter 2. My primary goal for the week is to complete the edits for chapters 1-4 and set a realistic deadline. Second goal is to get my dissertation committee to finalize a date. I have been working on this for a month! Very frustrating because it is out of my hands, but will keep moving forward.

    Happy day! Patti

    • evesdawn says:

      WOOHOO!! Go Patti, go!! We’re missing you here at DH, but know you’re working just as hard as if you were! I know how frustrating it is to get your committee together – maybe pester your advisor(s) until the point they give up and finally set one? (I’m sure you’re already doing that – just a thought though!). Good luck with everything, and just as Dr. Carter-Veale says, “A good dissertation is a done dissertation!” and just because you always love my quotes, “Work smarter, not harder.” -Ron Carswell

      Good luck, girl!


  59. Susan Mitchell says:

    Good morning! (Patti O.l — I sympathize. I’m trying to heard my “committee cats,” too!) Hello everyone else! Back to work today. I’m going to transcribe at least 2 of my remaining 4 interviews today. I may break them up (it can get sooooooo boring) by typing a little on my dissertation. Hoping to be productive. I have such a problem with eye strain (contacts and glasses) by the end of the day that I usually can’t continue through the evening. Have a good, productive day!

    — Susan

  60. Yvette Williams says:

    Day 2: I am almost done with data entry! Horray!

  61. Gretchen H says:

    Dissertation House Day 2:
    I am going to expand on my outline for Chapter 1 and work on writing more of Chapter 1. I need to add more sources into Endnote also.

  62. Thishan says:

    My name is Thishan and I am planning to do most of the editing today.

  63. Jie Du says:

    Good morning! I had revised my semantic net and run a simple experiment to test my hypothesis yesterday. Today I will further explore the semantic net and refine my conceptual model.


  64. Margaret Dabek says:

    Day 2 of DH- Plans for the day:
    1. Outline Dissertation TOC
    2. Write chapter on most recent work
    3. Outline experiments left to do

    • Margaret Dabek says:

      Things I have done on Day 2:
      1. Outlined Dissertation to the best of my ability (before meeting with Dr. Carter)
      2. Wrote Rationale for chapters 4, 5 and 6
      3. Outlined experiments left to do
      4. Added experimental procedures into experimental section (chapter 8)

  65. Kelly Schmidt says:

    Day 2 goals – review the grad school website so I familiarize myself with policies, procedures, and dates and then can formulate a timeline and task list. Also I will continue to develop an improved statement of the problem which will guide my edits and reorganization of my first 2 chapters. Finally, I can continue to update the first 2 chapters with new articles from lit searches.

    ~ Kelly

  66. Rah says:

    good goes slower than I like..but I have still 4 more hr..

  67. Nohemi Voglozin says:

    Hello Everyone,
    I am not much of a blogger, but I think I will enjoy writing in here, as much as I enjoy reading everyone’s post. I should definitely get back to work instead of reading them by the way.
    First time attending DH. I really wanted to, even though I am not feeling that great. And I can only say that I am so glad I did because I already gained so much!
    My goals for the week:
    – enter some survey data in the Access database. I am shooting for 22 (2 villages)!
    – come up with an outline for my thesis
    – start writing down part as part of chapters what I have achieved so far
    – read papers to identify key statistical analyses to perform on survey data.
    So far, I have entered 3 whole questionnaires in the database and I expect to enter 7 more today. We’ll see at the end of the day how many I was able to input.
    I have to say that this experience makes all that process so real. I can actually picture an end date, and start counting backward from there. How wonderful! I should probably stop there for now and get back to work!

  68. future "Dr. Faizah Carr" says:

    Yesterday I put the finishing touches on my abstract. Today I am tying all of the loose ends on my literature review. I created a table for my literature review. There were some articles I didn’t finish summarizing. One article is a thorn in my side because I cannot find it ANYWHERE….it is by Chiu, KW and Aronsky D and titled “An emergency department discharge framework for identifying potential adverse events at the time of discharge”.
    I have sectioned out my literature chart in the Lit Review and singled the section to be landscape. This was a formatting feat for me.
    Based on today’s lectures I believe I want to begin journaling my dreams. I do not suffer from writer’s block as much as I suffer from dreading the mental space in need to be in TO write…instead of just writing. This journaling should get me in the practice of writing SOMEthing just to be in the practice of capturing my thoughts. I want to get out of the habit of “thinking” about my dissertation and masking that as “working” on my dissertation.

  69. Amanda Davis says:

    Day #2:
    I finished the three paragraphs my advisor wanted me to add to the introduction of my proposal! I have also HEAVILY edited the introduction (which my advisor did not want me to do, but hopefully it will be OK).

    Tomorrow I will make edits to the rest of the proposal and maybe have time to start some of the other things on my list.

    Amanda D.

  70. evesdawn says:

    Good evening, DH!

    2 days down, 2 to go! Here’s my wrap up and my goals for tomorrow:


  71. Gretchen H says:

    Today I finished my detailed outline for Chapter 1. It contains 7 sections and I have completed 2 and put them in the dissertation template. Tomorrow I will work on the next 3 sections. My goal is then to finish the last 2 sections on Friday and over the weekend read/edit it to have a rough draft of my first chapter by Monday! 🙂 Time to get it done!

  72. Merlin Mann:
    > Recent advice, summarized: Write your way out of a thinking block—because you’ll never *think* your way out of a writing block.

  73. Yasaman says:

    I will continue working on the Probit model subsections tomorrow!… best of luck to everyone!

  74. Today, I planned to:
    * Read Jadhav et al and write something about it
    * Read Chen and Springer and write something about it

  75. Jie Du says:

    Today I explored the semantic net and finished the experiment design. Tomorrow, I will work on the experiment by revising my VBA codes to incorporate the new features that I added in the design phase.


  76. pagla8me says:

    I did realize that i need to be more efficient in managing my time.
    Downloaded the thesis template, read up on latex, glanced over few masters thesis.
    things on the check list – made a brief outline of the thesis. – done.
    for tomorrow:
    make the outline more specific, get more samples of masters thesis from, make bibliography excel sheet structure, write abstract.
    – Arun Kannanganat.

  77. Today I:
    * Read Jadhav et al and wrote something about it
    * Wound up making a system for writing an annotated bibliography. I can keep track of which sources cite which and who has common topics and so on.

  78. Yvette Williams says:

    Data entry done, but I discovered an extra step to fix. Hope I can get through this tomorrow!

  79. Susan Mitchell says:

    Well, I finished 1.5 interviews — my goal was two. But both of the interviewees were sooooo chatty! Hopefully, the last two aren’t. I didn’t expect that this is what I’d spend the majority of my DH time doing! But I have to remind myself that if I were home, I probably would just put it off in favor of something more “fun.” I’ll finish up the interview that I didn’t finish today tomorrow. And probably one more. That will leave only 2 more. I hope to do some dissertation writing at least on Friday. Goodnight!

    — Susan

  80. Rah says:

    1. I have start the Inro part 2
    2. Endnote web is up and running…
    3. Looking forward for tomorrow to work on Intro part 2.

  81. Thishan says:

    Today I got a lot of comments especially on inserting a problem statement as early as possible. Now I have to insert it properly and edit rest of the material appropriately.

    Goal for Thursday is to complete the above task.


  82. Margaret Dabek says:

    Goals for Day 3:
    1. Finish writing chapter 6- most recent work
    2. copy in figures for chapters 4 and 5
    3. Fill in more details into experimental chapter 8
    4. Work on specific aims chapter 3

    decided to hold off on the intro, background and abstract sections for now

    ~til tomorrow!~

  83. Carlos R. says:

    Finished Intro for Chapter 2a, working on results. Tomorrow finish 2a and start Intro/Results Chapter 2b.

  84. Hye-Sook says:

    So far, I had productive days which is good-!
    I created a draft of my possible research topics and sent it to my advisor & ready to talk with her about it.
    But I haven’t come up with interview questions yet – hope the planned talk with my advisor can help me move forward.
    Tomorrow, I will work on my literature review – start with revising my outlines and the paper.
    Hope you all had a productive day!

  85. Things for tomorrow:
    Read, take notes on, and write about:
    * Pospieszalska & Ley
    * Caputo & Hammer
    * Shao & Hochmuth

  86. Weslet Griffin says:

    I started the day with a plan to read the Proposal Cookbook and work on my introduction. It turns out I spent the entire day working through each section of the cookbook and now have an excellent idea of what my proposal should include. I also have a problem statement and statement of purpose and have rough outlines of my background and significance sections. My goals for tomorrow are to type everything up, expand my background and significance and hopefully revise my existing lit survey.

  87. Nohemi Voglozin says:

    Day 2: 3 full questionnaires entered, almost finished with the 4th. I can’t believe how much time each one of these take to be entered in the database. Tomorrow morning, I will start the day by working on my outline. I can continue entering the data in the afternoon. At least, I will be able to cross something tangible off my list. See you all guys tomorrow!

  88. Kelly Schmidt says:

    Things I accomplished today: reviewed information on the grad school website, marked down essential dates/deadlines to start formulating a timeline, created a tasks list, e-mailed committee members to get an idea of availability for a fall defense, scheduled a meeting with my adviser, sent e-mails to study participants to finish some data collection, and did literature searches for updating my lit review. Dr. Carter provided feedback on my statement of the problem which I need to improve.
    Tomorrow: Elaborate on my statement of the problem, look at the dissertation template, meet with my adviser to work on an analytic plan for my data, finalize a timeline, edit my proposal.

  89. Nohemi Voglozin says:

    It turns out that I just finished entering the data for the 4th questionnaire I mentioned earlier. I feel better. I’ve done more than yesterday. So far, 7 out of 22 done! Still an accomplishment, even though I would have liked to have worked on more.

  90. Patti O PhD(c) says:

    Yesterday, I managed to get most of chapter 2 done. My goal for today is to finish chapter 2 and send it off to my advisors for approval!

  91. Carlos R. says:

    Insanity Countdown: 60 days

    Ready at the House….Gladly the door was open. Woke up 5 times last night by son Gabriel (3y/o). My other son Daniel (7y/o) told me “ need to listen to me…… you need to focus and finish your Ph.D.”

    For today:
    1. Finish to add the tables to results for Ch.2a
    2. Intro draft writing…transitions later
    3. Figures & Tables for Results Ch. 2b
    4. Get a group to continue at this least on weeknights and weekends

  92. Carlos R. says:

    5 burpees to wake up

  93. Susan Mitchell says:

    Today, I’m going to finish up the interview transcription that I didn’t quite finish yesterday, and probably one more. I will be meeting with Dr. Carter this afternoon, so I have to prepare for that (have an agenda). I hope to do some writing re: my study company background to break the monotony of transcribing.

    — Susan

  94. Wes Griffin says:

    I have two goals today before meeting with Dr. Carter this afternoon: expand both my background and significance sections.

  95. Thishan says:

    Good morning,

    Today I am planning to finish my abstract and edit rest of the material that I completed yesterday.

  96. Margaret Dabek says:

    Getting ready to start the day…planning on keeping the goals I set for today after my meeting with Dr Carter 🙂

    Re-posting my goals for today (originally posted last night)
    Goals for Day 3:
    1. Finish writing chapter 6- most recent work
    2. copy in figures for chapters 4 and 5
    3. Fill in more details into experimental chapter 8
    4. Work on specific aims chapter 3

    decided to hold off on the intro, background and abstract sections for now

  97. Good Morning All

    Day 3 in the DH. This morning we are going to work with the dissertation template.

  98. Hye-Sook says:

    Good morning everyone!
    After I have started to get up early, I got up earlier every day. So I woke up 5 AM this morning that makes me now very sleepy… :&
    Whatever, here are my progress this week:
    – I got my IRB approval so I am ready for my interviews next week
    – made an outline for dissertation topics and am waiting for my advisors’ feedback
    I will start work on my literature review today and
    I will try to revise my interview questions (need some clear idea…)
    Hope you all will have a productive day!

  99. pagla8me says:

    Good Morning everyone!,

    Wish you guys good luck for today. I won’t be in cause i need to attend one of my friends dissertation. Will See you guys either in the evening or tomorrow !.
    Enjoy your day!!. 🙂

  100. drwestmoreland says:

    Day 53…

    Day 54 was a #fail.

    Moving forward today I will be coding starting with journal 9 and hopefully getting to journal 15. I have not heard back from my advisor about the paper yet, that is due tomorrow so I will just try to free myself up to work on that tomorrow. After these journals I have 1 video interview to transcribe I will try to push myself to get that done today also and I will be on-schedule for the work that I planned to get done this week.




  101. Amanda Davis says:

    Day #3:
    Today I will be making the final edits to my proposal. Hopefully I will have some time to start formatting the data from the CTPP as we need that to run some stats on for a conference in Feb,
    Amanda D.

    • Amanda Davis says:

      Finished editing the proposal! Now it is ready to get sent off to the committee. I am going to wait a little bit though, as we have not been able to set a date for the defense when everyone is available.

      Today I also downloaded the CTPP data that I need and cleaned-up one of the files that we can use for mapping data later. I am waiting to hear back from my advisor on some technical issues that I don’t know how to tackle. Tomorrow I will either work on the data or try to start my PP presentation for my proposal defense (but it sure would be nice to have some snazzy maps to show them).


  102. Kelly Schmidt says:

    Good morning, DH. This morning I have a meeting with my adviser, my agenda with her includes drawing up a plan for my data analyses and possibly even doing some analyses together. I am also going to set a tentative date for a defense in the fall. Later today I have a book chapter to read for my lit review and will continue to edit my statement of the problem. Have a productive day!

  103. Jodian says:

    Hello All and especially to the new faces at DH,

    I have been away, but rest assured I have been working on getting some data and preparing for a poster presentation I have tomorrow.

    I have also been updating my data powerpoint and my word document.

    Today, my goals are to 1) complete reading a review article and 2) update my method sections in my word document.

    Happy writing/researching everyone!

    • Hi Jodian! Good to “see” you online. Did you finish your article and your update? Let us know! The DH set-up is different this time. You’d probably get a boost from seeing all of the people in this Winter’s DH. We had to re-arrange the room, so it’s different from the way that you experienced it last summer. If you’re on campus, come by and take a peak while you’re on a break.

  104. Hye-Sook says:

    Hi all,

    Hope you all have a productive day!
    Today was a little bit distracting for me due to things in my office.
    But I still got some things done: revised interview questions, got some new ideas for formulating my topics after discussing with Dr. Carter (Thank you!).

    Tomorrow is another day and see you all early tomorrow morning as refreshed!

  105. Gretchen H says:

    Winter 2012 DH:

    I didn’t blog this morning but I attend a dissertation defense for someone in my lab but I will tell you what my goals were and how productive I was today.

    My main goal was to get three more sections of Chapter 1 written. I was able to work on several sections of Chapter 1 and was able to complete 2 and then work on several parts of 2 others. My goal tomorrow is to get something written for each section of my Intro and then spend Sat and Sunday adding/editing/polishing so I can have a rough draft to give my adviser on Monday!

    See you all tomorrow!

  106. Thishan says:

    For Friday : EDITING

  107. Jie Du says:

    My progress on writing codes and running experiments is slower than I expected. I will continue working on experiments tomorrow.


  108. Wes Griffin says:

    After a great meeting with Dr. Carter, I now know I have to answer the question “So What!” Tomorrow, my main goal is to revise and expand my problem statement into paragraphs with additional motivation and no terse, technical language. I also will expand my background section.

  109. future "Dr. Faizah Carr" says:

    Today I added the remaining pieces of my literature review. Only thing left is to complete the bibliography.
    After this task, scheduled for tomorrow morning, I plan to review my Introduction and Research and Methods Section. I am not sure how much I can get done tomorrow, but my goal is to write, write, write.
    I have my DH meeting with Dr. Carter scheduled for tomorrow morning.
    I am happy about my progress because the fine-tuning and changes I needed to make were a block for me. I didn’t know where to start. NOW it is 98% complete (the literature review).

    • Dear Faizah, I know that you wrote this at 4:54 yesterday afternoon, but if you haven’t completed the bibliography yet, please plan to get that done this morning. You’d be surprised how much you can complete in a concentrated period of time. I call them “orange juice concentrate moments” … it’s like that frozen, reconstituted juice in the frozen can where you add water. Finish the bibliography today and know that you’ve fully completed that task. Then review your sections and plan what to tackle next.

  110. Yasaman says:

    Now, I have the first drafts of the intro and approach for my paper. I’ll be working on the market simulation section tomorrow. Looking forward to it…
    Good evening everyone!

  111. Susan Mitchell says:

    Well, I have just one more transcription to do, but I was hoping to be a little closer to being done with all of them. Oh well, tomorrow. I met with Dr. Carter this afternoon. We talked a lot about how I’m going to handle teaching full time this semester while trying to finish up and defend. This is what really freaks me out! On top of that, I can’t get my 5 committee members to agree on ANY date in April! Don’t know what I’m gonna do. Now I’m super-freaked out. I’ll vent to my understanding husband tonight. Hopefully, that’ll help. EVERYONE: Get your committee to set a date as soon as you possibly can!!!

    — Susan

    • Susan, can you bring in some guest lecturers? If you control your course, perhaps you can revise the syllabus so that you can have guest lecturers on the last day of the week that you teach (e.g., Thursday or Friday), and have someone be the guest facilitator. You can also “hybridize” your course by having one day be an “online” day where students follow the slides and then discuss or post on Blackboard. You can resolve to “check” their posts at night (giving you the day to write). You teach computer science, so this wouldn’t be too far out of the box. Since you teach 100 and 200 level courses, you can ask a senior grad student to be your facilitator … feel free to pay them a little bit. $50 can go a long way in a grad student’s pocket.

      • Susan Mitchell says:

        Dr. Tull: Thanks for your concern and advice. I do have a couple of colleagues that I may be able to ask this of. I had them cover my classes one week last semester and it was amazing what I got done. You’re right — I should definitely do this. Thanks!

  112. My goals for today were to read, take notes on, and write about:
    * Pospieszalska & Ley
    * Caputo & Hammer
    * Shao & Hochmuth
    I did the last two, and started on the first.

  113. Margaret Dabek says:

    What I did today:
    1. Rearranged my outline (aka started a new template) due to issues with one from yesterday- thanks to Dr. Carter’s meeting 🙂
    2. Filled in more experimental info into Chapter 6- would say this is about 80% done
    3. Drafted specific aims
    4. Added 20 more references into my endnote lib…still have about 100 more from previous work that was never added…aka fail
    5. I now have a clear idea of how to finish this thing soon and oh yeah, how to talk BETTER in 2mins 😉

    What I will do tomorrow:
    1. Draft background section
    2. Write 10 pages of background (Chapter 2)
    3. Fill in pain-staking details into Chapter 4 when goal 2 drives me crazy.
    4. Add more references into endnote…

    Sorry so wordy!!!

    See everyone tomorrow, bright and early 🙂

  114. Tomorrow, I will read, take notes on, and write about:
    * Pospieszalska & Ley
    * Pappu et al
    * Chen & Springer

    • Hi Alex!

      I meant to ask if you do annotated bibliographies? I used this method in grad school, and it helped me to go through hundreds of papers. I set up templates. Each had the paper’s title, authors, authors’ affiliations (since it’s always important to remember who is doing what, and where), and the journal reference. Then I had sections for Background, Methods, Results, Discussion, Conclusions, and Next Steps. Having *these* versions of the journal articles, made it easier for me to synthesize the information. Since I knew that I would do this for each paper, it also made it easier for me to keep track of what I’d read. I had a file for these annotated bibliographies on my computer, but I also printed each of them out and put them in a loose-leaf notebook, with dividers by broad topic area. My broad areas were acoustic phonetics, vocal physiology, and speaker recognition. Later, I ended up having 3 notebooks. Best wishes and you move forward!

      • Dr Tull,

        That’s a great tip. That’s what I wound up doing this week, and I wish I’d done it sooner. I have found that I’d rather write if I’m complaining about someone else’s paper instead of trying to write my own results section! I didn’t realize how much I needed a document that acted as a bridge between my notes and my article. Using LaTeX, I was able to set up a PDF document that collects all of my notes, and has hyperlinks between related articles.


      • One category that I have in my system (and this is easy to do electronically) is plots that I like from papers that I read. There are some papers where the most helpful thing is a clever and clear presentation of complex information.


  115. Thishan says:

    I actually sent a few paragraphs to for any comments, as I thought this space would not enough to insert.

    • Hi Trishan! You’re our only physicist this time. I see that you’re planning to edit today. Let us know some more specifics. How is it going? Are you editing by the page, by the paragraph? Are you editing for grammar or content? What is your full goal for today?

      • Thishan says:

        Good morning Dr.Tull. Thanks for your reply. 1st I wrote without worrying about grammar and then did the editing. I showed it to Dr. Carter on Wednesday. She pointed out that the problem that I am chasing is not explicit in my introduction. So I inserted it. Also she highlighted that it is better to have transitional words from the document that we all got on the 1st day. Based on these comments I started to edit the document, paragraph by paragraph and also I had to change the location of paragraphs to have a smooth going. Yesterday night I finished that work also (which was the last goal that i had set up for this dissertation house) and sent it to my advisers as my UMBC advisor will be gone for a conference all next week and the proposal that I am writing is due week after that. Full goal for today is to draft the problems that I encountered during my data analysis last week and send those to my advisers so that they can advise me how to proceed.

    • Margaret, you make me laugh!!! You have *WAY* too many question marks in your blog post! (LOL!) Ok, let’s start with this. Pick ONE thing to do today. I suggest that you spend 1 hour on your schedule, and be deliberate about your days. CONSOLIDATE your TA days. Your TA meeting and prep days should be on the same days that you TA (teach, run lab, correct exams). Do NOT let your TA duties, nor your “other” project duties take over. TA days are TA days, period. Don’t let them spill over. If you TA on Tuesday and Thursday, then all of your TA duties, including set-up and prep, should only be done on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If you can in any way control your days, consider letting your dissertation writing days be Friday through Monday. Let Tuesday – Thursday be your concentrated days for other projects and TA duties, but put some dissertation time into those days as well. Perhaps 7AM – 11AM, or whatever works for you.

  116. Carlos R. says:

    Very productive afternoon, Finished 2a, started intro for 2b and got people interested in meet2finish group. Finalize Intro 2b and work some analysis for 2b.

    1. Table 2b_activations
    2. Table 2b_correlations
    3. Table 2b_connectivity
    4. Figure 2b_activations
    5. Figure 2b_correlations
    6. Figure 2b_connectivity
    7. List of pending Table and figures for 2b

  117. Nohemi Voglozin says:

    I wrote down the first lines of my thesis today! I started the day working on my outline, and I am really happy with what I was able to accomplish today! I also started filling the blanks about some of the stats to perform on my data. Tomorrow, I will continue working on the outline, the stats and writing! Can’t wait!

    • Dear Nohemi,

      Those words, “Can’t wait”, brought such a smile to my face! I love the excitement! Now THAT is the kind of exuberance that we like to see. I think that you took Dr. Han’s words to heart. She asked everyone to find the joy in the process. It looks like you’ve tapped into it. Good for you! Wouldn’t it be great if people around the world who are working on their dissertations could go to bed at night, and wake up in the morning with a smile and say, “What a day, I *can’t wait* to work on my dissertation!!!” Spread the love Nohemi … spread the love!

      Enjoy your day!
      -Dr. Tull

      • Nohemi Voglozin says:

        Thank you Dr Tull! If I knew how much motivation I will get by participating to the DH, I would have done it way sooner! Like I was telling some of my fellow DH participants, I found myself waking up at night wondering why it’s not morning yet so that I can get up and get ready to go to DH! I really needed to dig up the fire that used to burn inside me and that brought me all the way from Africa to start my PhD! And like Dr Carter says, if I find the time to complain about this or that, I can definitely find the time to work on my thesis! Thanks for the support and your time, Dr Tull and Dr Carter!

  118. Kelly Schmidt says:

    Accomplished today: met with my adviser, I wanted to create a data analysis plan with her but because I have not collected data from 110 participants (as I proposed based on a power analysis) she said I can’t start doing analysis yet 😦 However, if I re-calculate my power analysis and can demonstrate that a slightly smaller sample will not significantly affect power, I can petition my committee to ask for permission to stop short of 110. I got other suggestions from my adviser on how to better manage my data. Also, I continued doing lit searches and read a chapter in a book that I need to return to the library before I go home.
    Tomorrow: Finalize a timeline with tasks to be completed, re-read my proposal. I have asked for permission to leave early since it is an 8 hour drive back to Ohio and it is supposed to snow…

    • Dear Kelly,
      Meeting with your advisor, face-to-face, was key! That alone was worth the trip! If you need help with the stats, consider contacting Dr. Mario Sto. Domingo who was an adjunct in your department, he also conducted some research for Dr. Ken Maton. Consider making a list of the tasks that were proposed and approved, then check off those tasks that have been completed. Have a safe drive back. Once you return, continue to blog! You will notice that some of the people on this blog, e.g., Nikki and Alexis, have been blogging almost daily for the past year and a half. Become part of #TeamGetitDone, resolving to continue until you finish. We have three other DH’ers who have started their own blogs (one has the countdown!) Fellow DH’er at your table, Margaret G., has her own blog as well. The blog is a public (or private if you adjust the setting or limit the readers as one DH’er has chosen to do) journal that keeps you on task.

      Resolve to “never again” have a day where you do nothing, unless it is a *scheduled* break. You may remember my story. I took a day of rest to go to church, have brunch with my friends, spend time with my husband, SLEEP, and then by 6:00 PM Sunday night, it was time to get back to work. Those Sunday nights were not always intense, they were the “ease back into it” days where I looked over what I done during the previous week, and planned what I would do the next week. Sometimes, that was a good time to organize the rest of my life in advance (TA hours, what to cook, were the clothes clean?) Before you leave today, blog about what you are going to do this weekend. Give yourself a “measurable” task and make sure that you finish it. We’ll be looking for you. 🙂

      Have a good trip back. Drive safely.

      Best wishes,
      Dr. Tull

      • Kelly Schmidt says:

        Thanks for the words of encouragement Dr. Tull, I appreciate it. It is very easy to get in the habit of putting aside the work when I am so far removed from academic life and tell myself that I will get it done “someday”. Being at DH has made it very concrete for me and re-energized me. Just figuring out what I need to do to finish has been very helpful. It has very much been worth the trip! PS I hope I still feel that way after I make the drive back through snow and freezing rain 😉

        • Hi Kelly! You’re welcome! Once you get home and get settled, you can remind yourself of the experience by reading the blog, and reading through what you have written this week. You will SEE that you have accomplished much in a short amount of time. You met with Dr. S. and you have some direction. That meeting was worth the ride. Believe me. In these final months of finishing the dissertation, you cannot underestimate the meetings with your advisor. You’re probably prepping to leave now. Enjoy some good music or a good book on tape as you drive. Safe travels! We’ll see you next week here on the DH blog!

          • Dr. Tull,
            These are good words you have shared. I really like your Sunday idea – I have been struggling with the concept of working every day and honoring the Sabbath, which people have been repeating around me lately. Not sure what’s the best thing to do about that, but when I take a whole day it’s so hard to pick back up again…

  119. drwestmoreland says:

    Day 53 was good, I kind of got tired and really just kind of cranky in the middle of the day but I pushed through. I had a job interview through skpye that just ended and now I am going home. I went through journals 9 through 13 and completely coded and transcriped the interview. I transcribed journal 14’s interview and I already set up the journal for coding. So technically tomorrow I only have journal 15 and half of 14 to do and the video to transcribe. I thought I could push myself to stay tonight but thats going to be a no.

    My conference paper is my priority tomorrow and I have a doctors appointment that will wisk me away for a litle while in the afternoon. The paper is due tomorrow so right now I will just put the journal coding to the side until Saturday unless some miracle happens tomorrow, which is quite possible.

    Great JOB to all the DH folks at UMBC, Dr. CV is an angel so listen to every word she says.

    All is well.



  120. Hye-Sook says:

    Good morning everyone,
    Last day of the dissertation house! 🙂
    I was procrastinating this winter but I could focus on my work this this week (thanks to all).
    So far, I became clear with my research topics that I am going to talk with my advisor this morning (so I will miss morning sessions). I set up interview schedules for next week and hope that I could come up with better interview questions (cross-fingers). Wish you all a productive day!

    • You came to the right conclusion …. NO more procrastination Hye-Sook! 🙂 Having a meeting with your advisor is very proactive. Good for you. Talk with other students in your LLC cohort or in others before you about interview questions. There are some tried and true methods. Mirror the style of some of the interview questions that you see in your key journal articles. This will give you some direction. Good luck to you!

  121. Yvette Williams says:

    Thanks to Dr. Carter and the Dissertation House team for the T-shirts and certificates!Today, I am switching gears from data entry to writing. I hope everyone finishes strong today!

    • Hi Yvette,
      The shirts were made possible through our PROMISE grant. They were an incentive for the Dissertation House, coined and inspired by Nikki Westmoreland and Alexis Williams The Dissertation House at College Park. Alexis is a graduate student in Human Development, and Nikki is in Mechanical Engineering. #TeamGetitDone began as a tag line on Nikki’s Twitter feed! We designed the shirts with the simple message … get it done! Have a good writing day!

  122. drwestmoreland says:

    Day 52…..

    Today I am working on my conference paper and then we’ll se what I can do outside of that, I’m looking for a miracle today, I sit in expectation of getting things done!!!! 🙂

    Yes Dr. Tull “Redtails” is my reward tonight, I’m excited!


    We are on the move!


  123. Susan Mitchell says:

    Last day! I’m GOING to finish that last transcription! I’m still struggling with getting my committee together. I also hope to do some actual writing today.

    — Susan

    • Yes, Susan, you WILL (you WILL, you WILL, you *WILL*) finish that last transcription. Since that is your goal. Go for it! Don’t even read email until you finish it … don’t even open a window for email! (This method works when you’re on a mission!) Don’t worry about the writing this morning, focus on the transcription.

  124. Margaret Dabek says:

    My plans for today:

    1. Draft background section
    2. Write 10 pages of background (Chapter 2)
    3. Fill in pain-staking details into Exptl section (Chapter 5) when goal 2 drives me crazy.

    • Dear Margaret,
      One tip for getting a lot of writing done is to continue writing without all of the details. For example, you can plan to write and when you draw a blank, literally draw a blank line on the page, and keep on going. When you can’t remember a reference but you know that it belongs in a certain spot, you can write “(REF)” and keep on going. You can go back in fill in the details later (like you’re going to do for #3!) You might consider focusing on #2, and “rewarding” yourself with #3 tomorrow. It might not be as pain-staking as you think it will be. You can fill in details a little bit at a time; you don’t have to have them all in at once. Allow your document to “live and breathe” … it grows as you go. You don’t have to do everything in succession, you can continue to edit and refine along the way. Best wishes!

      • mdabek1 says:

        Thank you for the advice, Dr. Tull! This is precisely what I have been doing all week! I think you called it free-writing (or was it raw-drafting?) when you spoke to us earlier this week. I personally have a case of writer’s block, trying to search for the perfect words, etc. On Tuesday I started the dissertation template, literally wrote my name on it for the first time, and I now have about 15 pages of raw-drafted content! GREAT ADVICE! Thanks again! 🙂

  125. Carlos R. says:

    Insanity Countdown: -59 days
    Last night..too anxious….not much done. I need to get back into Krav

    1. Finalize Intro 2b
    2. Finalize analysis for 2b.
    3. Table 2b_activations
    4. Table 2b_correlations
    5. Table 2b_connectivity
    6. Figure 2b_activations
    7. Figure 2b_correlations
    8. Figure 2b_connectivity
    9. List of pending Table and figures for 2b

    Get it done!!!!

  126. Margaret Dabek says:

    INSANITY!!! You can do it! 58 days….

  127. FYI, you all are not crazy. (LOL!!) It can be done!! And yes, get back into Krav if you can. I think that the feeling of “power” will be great for you! Get those endorphins going.

  128. Thishan says:


    Today I am planning to write some emails to my professors regarding things that I came across in my data analysis. I have already finished my goals for this week.

  129. Amanda Davis says:

    Final day of DH. Today I will be working on my proposal defense and some data collection.
    -Amanda D

    • Hi Amanda,
      As you prepare for your defense, remember that it’s not just about how well you know your project, it includes questions like:
      “Is this project doable?”
      “Has she garnered enough knowledge to tackle this issue?”
      “Has she thought about all of the tools needed to complete the task?”
      “Is the project focused enough?”

      Your methods section will be especially important because you want to be sure that once they say “yes, approved”, that you can hit the ground running and do the project. I recommend that you focus on the defense as your goal for the day. Be comfortable with working on that and filling those gaps.

  130. Wes Griffin says:

    Today my goal is to expand my problem statement into a couple of paragraphs to be less terse and provide more context. I will then expand my background section in the same way.

    • Hi Wes. This sounds like a good plan. Since you are working on your proposal, if you haven’t done so already, feel free to write the sections (headings if nothing else) into your document. As I’ve mentioned to others, you don’t have to do everything in succession, do a “core dump” where you put all of the things that you already know into the respective sections. You can edit and refine later.

  131. Good Morning All

    Today is the last day of the Dissertation House. We finished up our last 2 minute presentations this morning in the Good Morning Dissertation House format. Keep up the good work. I hope that you keep blogging long after you leave the DH.

  132. Gretchen H says:

    Good Morning DH!

    I can’t believe it’s the last day of Dissertation House! I wish I had the time to do this every day until I’m done! Today I will be working on Chapter 1 yet again and putting some more sources into endnote. I hope to have 2/3 of my intro done by today so I can finish up the rough draft over the weekend.

    Get it done!

    • Hi Gretchen,

      Make a plan with others in your group to come together again and do this … until you’re done. Remember my story? I worked with my friends nearly every day until we all finished. By the end, I was the only one there, but I went to that Barnes and Noble coffee shop at the mall every day until I finished. My friends, Brenda and Jacquie were already being called “Dr.”, but I had to press on. Students at UMBC and College Park have done the same thing. They have come together to work in groups. In some cases, they have been able to reserve a room within a department, and work there. Good luck and best wishes!

  133. Jie Du says:

    So far, I have completed:
    1. extending my original semantic net for financial investing
    2. exploring the semantic net and designing the experiments
    Today I will write VBA codes to implement the experiment. The first thing I need do is to revise the original codes to separate the training and test sets.


  134. pagla8me says:

    Hey everyone!,

    Good luck for making the best out of the last day of the dissertation house.
    – Arun Kannanganat.

    • Arun … what are YOU going to do today? Please share with us. I want to make sure that you’re able to meet your goals too! 🙂

      • pagla8me says:

        Hello Dr. Tull, Sorry i checked the blog only now.
        thanks for your encouragement!. I think the dissertation house exp. has certainly catapulted me into getting more serious about writing my thesis. I have finished my specific outline of my thesis. I used most of my time today to read other thesis examples in proquest.
        Have a great day!.

  135. Kelly Schmidt says:

    Last day – not looking forward to driving through snow and freezing rain 😦 This morning I am going to re-read my proposal, take notes on it looking for areas that need to be updated/revised. Leaving at noon… hoping everyone has much success in completing what they have set out to do. Anyone planning on Dec. 2012 graduation? I will see you there!

  136. Good morning everyone! Congratulations on your dedication to the process of the Dissertation House! I’ve taken some time this morning to write to nearly everyone who has posted within the last 24 hours, so please “page up” to see my comments. I started around 7:45 this morning, and I think that I’ve now reached out to everyone. A “shout out” goes to Alexis and Lenisa (from the College Park DH) who are taking care of some personal matters today. They are missed. Michelle B-H, looking for your update soon. Congrats on the IRB! And if anyone sees Maritza G., let her know that we miss seeing her here.

    To those in UMBC’s DH, you did it! Four days of intense concentration on your work. I love what Margaret Dabek said in an earlier post:

    “Margaret Dabek says:
    January 17, 2012 at 1:58 PM

    life-changing words of the day: “If you have time to wallow, then your schedule isn’t tight enough!” -Dr. Wendy Carter-Veale”

    *Life-changing words* … that’s great. Yes, we put a lot of time and thought into this process and Dr. Carter-Veale definitely gives of herself to make sure that you get things DONE!

    For those of you who are trying to get a date from your committee members, I recommend making appointments with them in person and working with them to see where the flexibilities are. I think that I’m going to write a blog post about this on the main page. Look for it on the home page in a few minutes. 🙂

    • Mari says:

      Hi Dr. Tull,
      I’m here 😉 Thank you for thinking of me. I’m back, and with a new countdown. Striving for early Fall… proposed deadline to self an advisor. Proposed countdown to self– 9/18/12 (228 days). Most immediately I am counting down to writing paper based on my dissertation which I hope to present April 25. Need to finalize abstract by March 20. I will begin posting more often Dr. Tull & Dr. CV 😉

  137. evesdawn says:

    Hello, all!!

    Last day of DH *Tear* – but it doesn’t end here! I have plans for meeting my goal of finishing in August. I can do it. I am capable. I WILL be Dr. Grow by the end of summer!!

    But for now, here are the goals for today!

    Have a great, productive day!!

    Margaret G.

  138. Hello everyone, I finished the post with some tips for setting a defense date. Here it is: You can also get to it by clicking “Home” on the menu at the top of the page, or by going to the top post on

  139. Kelly Schmidt says:

    Logging out now so I can get on the road. I set a defense date this morning as I had to complete the Nomination of Committee Members form for the grad school (due 6 months in advance of defense) – it is October 26, 2012 (but subject to change based on availability of committee members). Setting a date is both exciting and terrifying!! Praying you all have much success in completing your projects. If you pass through central Ohio sometime, say hello! 🙂

  140. Day 68. *Sigh* The week’s events threw me for a loop but God’s bouncing me back… I’m at the grad office finally checking in again. Today is a stats day – as are all of them until probably mid-February – and I’m organizing data and running analyses. Funny how this point seemed so far away and unreachable a while ago, and now I’m looking at 1st and goal and the goal seems far away and unreachable if I let myself believe the lie.

    – submit agenda for advisor meeting on Monday
    – look over data and make sure it’s clean and reliable, no weird reverse codes or repeats/missings
    – run an analysis or two and try to make some sense from them
    – plan next steps for weekend/next week

    Grateful for this support. Grateful that when I didn’t check in, someone checked on me. Grateful to be prayed for and to be able to pray for others. Grateful to be alive and breathing and strong.

    “If I had known my life would be a wild ride into the unknown, I would have been brave enough to put my head back, laugh, and enjoy the trip.” Some woman in New Jersey 🙂

    Getting it done with #TeamGetItDone

  141. mdabek1 says:

    So I did it…I made a blog to chronicle my daily to-do list, DH-style 🙂
    It’s not meant to be beautiful or amazing, so please don’t expect that…just trying to get some much needed dissertation writing angst out there…maybe you can relate? 😉

  142. future "Dr. Faizah Carr" says:

    Dissertation House has helped me refocus my priorities. Ignoring them does not make the priorities go away…the procrastination just leaves less time , more dread, and is unprofessional. The legacy I want to make will be what I create.

  143. evesdawn says:

    DH IS DONE! But the dissertation is not!! More posts to follow, so feel free to follow me on my blog and comment! If anyone has a blog other than here, please let me know about it! I follow everyone’s blogs 🙂

    Til next week! Rewarding myself tonight with a Hibachi dinner with friends!


  144. Gretchen H says:

    Happy Friday Dissertation House! 🙂

    This week has been helpful and I feel prepared to tackle my dissertation…..hopefully in a very timely manner (aka 55 days)!!!!!! I have two sections left of my intro and I hope to write those and flush out some other sections this weekend. I have told my advisor I would have a draft to him on Monday and that is the first task on my “Dissertation Check List” I have created in order to graduate in May.

    I hope to stay motivated and blog my progress!!!

  145. Yasaman says:

    Happy Friday and weekend everyone!

    I had a productive week, I wrote draft of 2 sections of my paper, which was killing me! 🙂
    I’m happy and ready for a good weekend now!

    Good luck to everyone and thanks to Dr. Tull and Dr. Carter!


  146. Carlos R. says:

    Thanks Dr. Carter!!!!
    Gracias Dra. Tull!!!
    This was better than Xanax and Ritalin…….You know what I mean!!! 🙂

  147. Carlos R. says:

    And again..
    Thanks to Natasha and Miguel for the help and support.

  148. Amanda Davis says:

    The final day of DH is over. I feel really good about where I am now and I also have a good plan for moving forward. I really enjoyed DH and I look forward to checking-in on everyone’s progress!
    I hope to announce that I am a candidate by the end of Feb. (depending on my committee members’ schedules!!)
    -Amanda D

  149. Today, I planned to read, take notes on, and write about:
    * Pospieszalska & Ley
    * Pappu et al
    * Chen & Springer
    and I did! I completed all of my goals for this week, and I wound up, on my way, starting an annotated bibliography, which has helped me greatly in collecting my thoughts across the literature.

    Thanks, everyone, for providing a quiet, productive, energetic environment with wonderful camaraderie!

  150. Carlos R. says:

    At home!!!

    Trying to manage time…..I will finish finish tonight
    1. Table 2b_activations
    2. Table 2b_correlations
    3. Table 2b_connectivity
    4. Figure 2b_activations
    5. Figure 2b_correlations
    6. Figure 2b_connectivity
    7. List of pending Table and figures for 2b

    Common People….Let’s finish this
    NO excuses! Just Get it Done

  151. drwestmoreland says:

    Day 52….

    I just finished my paper and I submitted it to the conference. It is in God’s hands now. I had a small freaking out moment because my advisor forgot the attachement in her 4:30pm revisions e-mail to me. And she said in her e-mail that she was going out meaning away from her desk probably until tomorrow. So I had to make a decision about what to finish with the paper and how to make it look before I sent in the final version. I hope I make her proud, I did the best I could with the knowledge I have in my little head. I just had to keep reminding myself that it is a DRAFT. It is a DRAFT. It is a DRAFT. Oh me Oh my!

    I prayed for a miracle this morning and not getting that last version of the paper just might be it. Even though I don’t understand it right now. Also this meeting I had in the morning just got cancelled so I can sleep a little bit later and get started on finishing my coding earlier HENCE I will go to bed on time tomorrow in preparation for my 5am rising on Sunday morning. #OhitisJESUS!

    In regards to the Sabbath convo earlier I actually don’t do any work at school or at home. I bust my behind the rest of the week both and home, church, and school and the only thing I do on Sunday is church. watch football, and nap. God rested after creating the world, I can rest after working 6 days on my “little” document in comparison to making the sun the moon and the stars. That just works best for me.

    Well I’m off to the show.

    Tata now.


    Another week almost done!


  152. Nohemi Voglozin says:

    Final day of DH. I’m sad to see it come to an end. However, don’t they say that every good thing has an end? I kept working on my outline, I got some writing done and read a few papers. I haven’t met the goals I set at the beginning of the week (I knew they were a bit ambitious, like always!), but I’m satisfied with the work I got done this week. I was able to stay focused enough to work, think, and produce a tangible result. Which is good.
    I have started my countdown, which makes the whole process more real. I have decided to set weekly goals, realistic ones! and do my very best to achieve them, and well. I also took the resolution of putting on my #TeamGetitDone T-shirt each and every time I can, to inspire me to get it done. The only way it can be done is to work on it! and that’s what I will be doing. I am also thinking of the rewards I can get myself (I will not let this one slide!) after I reach milestones in my research. For example, what will I give myself when I will be done growing my plants in the greenhouse? or when I will be done extracting the DNA from my samples? I still have 150 seeds to work on. I have predicted the end of the work in the greenhouse for the third week of March. That will be a big milestone, considering that I have started that process since August 2011!
    It was a pleasure meeting you all, DH Winter 2012 participants. I hope to see you each weekend in the Commons! Keep up the good work!
    PS: It’s fun to blog! I didn’t know I had so much to share. Maybe I will follow your example, Margaret G. and Margaret D.!

  153. Carlos R. says:

    Insanity Countdown: -58 days

    Buenos Dias!!!
    Next 90 minutes: I will continue with the following:
    – Figure 2b_activations
    – Figure 2b_correlations
    – Figure 2b_connectivity
    – List of pending Table and figures for 2b

    “It is all about myself”

    • Carlos R. says:

      Insanity Countdown: -58 days

      Almost 90 minutes……worked the whole time…ignored family and I got the Figures for 2b activations. That was good. Now I know that I was unrealistic about the timing for the amount of things I was planning to do in the 90 minutes period. Now…next 30 minutes and Call Susan to see if we can still meet today….Got some snow and freezing rain.
      Keep Going. I couldn’t plan todays day, but I am Trying to pace myself to focus on Pictures for Ch. 2b.

      “i a going to do it”

  154. Carlos R. says:

    Insanity Countdown: -58d 1h 40m

    Talked to Susan: We are going to stay home due to the roads conditions, but keeping tabs on each other. Next 90 minutes get figures for CH2b correlations. I got unexpected company at 1 am…in-laws stopping by because of the weather (couple and 3 kids)…Here is a party right now….but even I haven’t seen them for months (including my Godson)…I got to remember that the next 58 days it is about ME…then I will have time for them in the summer.

    Keep going….I am going to do it…………

    • Carlos R. says:

      I put my “TeamGeItDone” shirt…so people will learn when not to talk to me!!!!!!

      • “Alexis likes this” (Re: the next 58 days are about you, and wearing the shirt reminds people not to talk to you. Also liking the posting of very short-term goals like “next 90 mins.” I think that might help me more, too.) Oh, but be sure to play during the scheduled breaks! Esp. if you don’t get to see them that often. 🙂 every moment counts. With that said, where’s my post?…

        Go get em, Carlos!

  155. Carlos R. says:

    Hi Susan What’s the plan today????

  156. Carlos R. says:

    Insanity Countdown: -58d 00h 21m

    Got figures for CH2b correlations..Reward myself… A DOS EQUIS AMBAR 🙂

  157. Carlos R. says:

    Insanity Countdown: -57d 22h 31m
    Got my beer, time to go out with the family to play in the snow. Now some lunch/nap and continue….actually I am going to call Susan and Margaret to see why no posting……no excuses….Just get insane and do it!!!!!

  158. Day 67. I am so stealing Carlos’ T-minus days-mins-hours countdown as soon as I figure out how to count like that… 🙂 But seriously I am inspired – he has raised the bar.

    Today’s agenda (I was slow in starting):
    – finish week’s goals and task list
    – outline my specific stats accomplishments thru the end of Jan
    – finish skimming/noting chapter 3 in Brown CFA for Applied Research
    – park downhill

  159. Susan Mitchell says:

    It’s much later than I had planned, but I’m up and ready to go. I can’t believe Carlos’ energy today! We were going to meet at UMBC at 9:00am, but the roads are icy around here. So, we’re going to both work at home and blog. Confession: after calling Carlos around 8:30 to tell him I was staying home, I stayed in bed until 11:30. I was exhausted and feel so much better now. He and I are going to blog back and forth today and see if we can meet up tomorrow. This weekend, I need to prepare for the start of the classes that I am teaching — they begin on Thursday. So, I need to:
    – Put up and review the CMSC 202 web site
    – Get my CMSC 202 notebook ready
    – Put up and review the CMSC 345 web site
    – Get my CMSC 345 notebook ready
    – Merge my teaching, dissertation, and personal calendars together on Google Calendar so that I can schedule when I can work on my dissertation and what I will be doing. (Thanks, Dr. Carter!)

    BTW, I found out yesterday afternoon that my defense date is April 6th, a couple of weeks earlier than I had hoped for. I have to get my dissertation to my committee on March 9th — a tight schedule. But I’m NOT going to let this go into the summer or I’ll go crazy! It’s all about ME until I’m done!
    — Susan
    Go Carlos!

  160. drwestmoreland says:

    Day 51…..

    Today I have 3 tasks:
    1. Code Journal 14
    2. Segment and Code Journal 15
    3. Transcribe 1 video interview

    I like everyone’s posting and the energy! I was reading on my phone at home and I was like oooooooh I gotta get to my office and do some work!!! I am going to have to work at home (ugh~!) some later because I need to make another sick-n-shut in visit.

    Go Carlos!
    Go Susan!
    Go Alexis!
    Go Nikki!

    We are #TeamGetItDoneEvenOnSaturday

    Can’t Stop Won’t Stop!!!

    From “Red Tails”….From the last plane, to the last bullet, to the last minute, to the last man, we fight!

    For “TeamGetItDone”….From the last data set, to the last chapter, to the last paragragh, to the last advisor, we FIGHT!

    Let’s Do It!


    • Carlos R. says:

      Insanity Countdown: -57d 19h 12m

      Thanks Nikki, Susan, Alexis!!!!
      I just woke black coffee, Coke zero and looked up for the iGoogle countdown to share it but didn’t find it…..I look to the countdown again and realized It took me 35 minutes. Sorry, couldn’t find it.

      Hi Susan…..Good to see your posting..I got more energy
      My Kids are fighting..for the tv, pc wii.I just told them that if they don’t play together I will put them in their room until I finish my Ph.D work for today….Wow ..It worked.

      MargaretS!!!! where are you??????????

      • Carlos R. says:

        Get figures for CH2b connectivity for BA47 in 60 minutes (Keeping it simple).

      • Margaret Dabek says:

        Thank you for the motivational call today, Carlos! You really got me working! I put in about 4 hours of solid work and am documenting all of it on my own blog, so don’t worry, I am not lost! 🙂
        Keep up the good work!

  161. Susan Mitchell says:

    48 Days
    So, I’ve started my countdown, too. I have 48 days until I have to turn my dissertation in to my committee. I worked on my CMSC 202 web site earlier, but have a lot more to do. My husband and I planned the day out: when we’re having lunch (did it), what he’s going to get at the grocery store, and when we’ll eat dinner. We discussed how making a schedule each day will help me and also help him to help me. I’ll keep you posted on whether or not it works. If it doesn’t, maybe somebody will have some suggestions.

    Back to work!
    — Susan

    • Carlos R. says:

      Insanity Countdown: -57d 17h 56m

      Go Susan!!!!
      I call one of my wife’s friends for them to get together tonight. My Kids don’t want to play with me now that I have 30 minutes. so nobody needs me..then next 60 minutes connectivity for Ch2b BA 44
      Keep Going…..

  162. Carlos R. says:

    Done for BA_44 connectivity!!
    short break……to Enjoy Salpicon!!

  163. Susan Mitchell says:

    I’m almost done with the CMSC web site. My computer’s been giving me problems, so I wasted about an hour trying to fix it (didn’t get it fixed). I’m going to break for dinner & TV for an hour now. I really want to at least get one site up by the end of the evening. But I’ve also resolved to not stay up really late so that I can start to get up earlier until this is done.

  164. Susan Mitchell says:

    Carlos — I think it’s best for me to work from home tomorrow. My computer is giving me all kinds of problems. I’m going to have to get someone from my department to look at it early this week. But I’m going to keep working tomorrow and blogging. I still *definitely* want to do the Saturday/Sunday thing where we work together at UMBC, but I think I need to start next weekend (and I will!).

    Others — *Please consider joining us.* Remember, if we get 5 or more people, Natasha will find us our OWN ROOM in the Commons Building to work in. We can construct some kind of mini-dissertation house schedule that we stick to each time we meet.

    — Susan (48 days)

  165. Patti O PhD(c) says:

    I am in starting the first weekend in February! I am working tonight, too all the way from Cambridge! Nice to know I am in good company!

  166. Carlos R. says:

    Insanity Countdown: -57d 10h 11m

    Didn’t continue working after 6 pm…I cut my hair, then Mass, then to a Birthday party…Dancing..only one beer and some type of liquor shot. Got back took a shower..I made myself to log here and plan the day for tomorrow. I will just sleep until the kids decide to wake up..hopefully after 7 am..then I need to finish figures for 2b BA 32 connectivity and then start with 2c the whole 9 yards (optimistic) some how watch the game. I need to have a pretty good draft of Chapter 2 by Monday night (Wow..I don’t know if feasible but I will enjoying the summer without people asking are you still working on your dissertation????)) Well think that’s why we are calling it insanity!!!!!

  167. Carlos R. says:

    Insanity Countdown: -57d 04h 07m

    Gabriel is up 6:30 am….put him to watch tv, some breakfast…I am sleepy..No promises I will just..What NO PROMISES???? Ok 60 minutes for pictures BA 32

    Glad to hear you guys….

  168. Patti O PhD(c) says:

    Wow, Carlos! Very impressive…. So my goal for today is to finish chapter 2 completely and complete the first pass of edits for chapter 3. If time permits, I will enter the first pass of edits for chapter 1 as well since it is short… Glad to have a whole day to dedicate to my dissertation. I like posting this… it’s like being in DH from a far… I am setting a date of March 5th to be finished with my dissertation. That means I have 43 days. I may have to adjust that depending on my defense data. Starting the count down today!

    • Carlos R. says:

      Great Patti!!!
      That helps me to be focus…At the end we can have time to have a Colombian Brunch (Picada, etc) Keep going!!!!!

  169. Carlos R. says:

    Insanity Countdown: -57d 00h 32m

    Ok…2 hour nap, Breakfast, shower….now back to insanity!!!…

    30 minutes for detailed the ch2c and then post by task (sorry for putting so many things on it but I think I have never wrote that much before) this posting by task is in addition to a visual countdown for those 60 minutes and is easier for the family to wait some minutes to ask for things (by the way….in that time waiting, they usually forget about it) 🙂

    Common people!!!!! Wake up……You will have Whole weekends to enjoy in the summer without worrying/thinking or freaking about this!!!!

    • Carlos R. says:

      OK …Done!!!
      It looks that I will need so much time for this..but I’m not moving the dateline.
      Just realize that I have a bunch Analysis pending for the Ch2c. 😦
      Will get some coffee and then Finish Analysis for 2c.

  170. Carlos R. says:

    Insanity Countdown: -56d 23h 42m

    Trying to relax……..deep breath………………..24 analysis/tables/pictures for Chapter 2c…Praying!!! 🙂
    Ok…one at the time. taking 30 minutes break/relax and think on best approach.

    Keep going Carlos!!!

  171. Susan Mitchell says:

    I’m finally up and moving. Still having a hard time getting out of bed when I don’t have an obligation to another person (e.g. a meeting or DH). Today:
    – Finish CMSC 202 web site (almost there)
    – Set up CMSC 202 Blackboard site (forgot I had to do this)
    – Set up CMSC 345 web site (this may take longer than I anticipate)
    – Overlay my personal, teaching, and dissertation calendars in Google Calendar

  172. Carlos R. says:

    Insanity Countdown: -56d 20h 16m
    Being Realistic Ch. 2c will take the whole week. I made a checklist for every step so I can find small spaces of time to focus and finish and more important see myself accomplishing things. Now, I am taking Daniel (7 y/o) where some friends to watch the game.

    • Susan Mitchell says:

      Enjoy the game!

      You may want to make a calendar using Google Calendar or some other calendaring software and put everything that you have to do for the week, personal, work, or otherwise, on it. Then, you can see where you have open time to pencil in the steps that you need to do to finish Ch. 2c. Dr. Carter suggested that I do this and I think it’s a great idea. Because even if you know the steps you need to finish the chapter, you need to look ahead and be realistic about when you can actually sit down and get them done.

      Just a suggestion. I’ll let you know if it works for me.
      Back to work for me!

      • Carlos R. says:

        Thanks Susan…
        I’m back……Actually my friends called to tell me that they already had a table for me to watch the game and still keep doing some things…That was great…I got down 12 analysis and set them up for tables. Now….Prepare my meeting with my mentor/boss to negotiate time and finally agree with a final plan.

        • Susan Mitchell says:

          Great! Sorry that the Ravens lost, especially in such a horrible way. It sounds like your friends are very supportive! Can’t wait until next weekend when we all get together. We need to keep encouraging everybody to come so that Natasha can get us a room.

  173. Kelly Schmidt says:

    Greetings from Ohio, DH friends! I arrived home around 8:30 Friday night and except for about 20 min. of white-knuckle driving in eastern Ohio, I beat the ice and snow. I have spent the weekend catching up on things around the house and spending time with my boys (2 little, 1 big). My almost-10-year-old passed his test in karate yesterday to be promoted to red belt – so proud! And they both won their basketball games. Anyway, tonight I am planning out my work for the week. I have 1 interview to collect data on Tues. and a few others to schedule. I have some additional data to enter and have to re-do my power analysis to see if I can create a rationale that would satisfy my committee that I could stop collecting data short of N = 110 without sacrificing power. I have a number of articles to read as well, the result of doing a lot of lit searches last week at DH. 12 minutes a day, right Dr. Carter? I can do that! 🙂

  174. Susan Mitchell says:

    Well, I certainly underestimated the time it would take me to create a new course web site. But if I hadn’t been blogging and committing to a firm schedule (with my husband’s help), I wouldn’t have gotten nearly this far. I’ll pick up where I left off tomorrow — finish CMSC 345 web site, create CMSC 345 notebook, and overlay calendars in Google Calendar (VERY important). Goodnight!

    • Carlos R. says:

      Have a good sleep…. I am also having issues underestimating my time to accomplish task….the continuing blogging small steps has been helpful in be hyper-attentive for small periods of times, more efficient, effective and efficacious. Initially I thought that I will boring people to death…but then I remembered those words….It is about ME time.
      I need to rest and continue tomorrow: Main Focus is the meeting with my mentor/boss and then continue with Ch.2 Analysis + exercise.

  175. Pati O PhD(c) says:

    Lots of good advice today. Keep it up. I met my goal of finishing one chapter and sent it off to my advisors. I also got 3/4 of the way through a second chapter. Tired now so I am hitting the sack.
    Signing off,
    TeamGetItDone in Boston! Go Patriots!!! Sorry Ravens… I heard it was a good game.

  176. Awesome progress everyone, even with being honest about lack of progress. I am reminding myself to keep going and keep reflecting and I’ll get done! Carlos, I found at least one countdown (and I promised myself to stop after a few mins if I didn’t find it right away!). I’m at -64d, 7h, 15mins! Something like that…

    I’ve done some journaling about making my schedule more airtight and rejecting distractions/ truly behaving as if my number one priorities are finishing school and finding a good job. Got some reminders from “How to Write a Lot” – a book that helped me get on track over the summer but then I let myself fade out of some of the really good habits over last semester. SO! On time to bed, early to rise and get right to it, getting good food and exersize, and keeping a simple daily log of my work time and progress in my GDocs.

    I didn’t get done with everything I planned the other day, so I still have to
    1) finish up my agenda for the rest of January,
    2) glance over my descriptives, and
    3) do a test run of my analyses to see what questions come up. I have added that I will
    4) read over the documents that I got from the grad school to make sure I am not missing a step in my planning to graduate.

    Down to -9 minutes! Gotta go. Ok, so, ummm, January agenda done by 9:30am.


    • -5hr, 52mins – January agenda’s done after a little interruption. Glancing at grad school docs, highlighting areas where I have questions/concerns. Til 10:30am.

    • -5hrs, 2 mins – Data check til 12pm.

    • -0hrs, 1min – I think my countdown timer is a little too speedy… – Anyway, I got some helpful guidance on my data during my lab meeting and then my advisor meeting. My advisor wants me to check in with my committee members, and my department coordinator walked me through the deadlines for uploading the final docs after defense with and without walking (I want to walk). Keeping these things in the forefront of my mind will encourage me when I don’t feel like working.

      Now I will
      1) work on composites,
      2) run correlations and summarize, and then
      3) try out one or two of the major analyses and see if I can get them to run. (5:30)

  177. Susan Mitchell says:

    Day 47: Didn’t have a chance to blog in this morning. I had to go into school for a meeting and to pick some things up. I did take about an hour that I probably shouldn’t have to gab with a colleague. I just finished lunch and am going to dive back in now. Will blog in later.

  178. Carlos R. says:

    Insanity Countdown: -55d 10h 50m

    Moved the countdown a couple hours closer to make it clear for me. Worked from 9 to 6, but I noticed that there are times where I don’t do much at work and then started to do 10 minutes Ph.D. task/thinking/planning….and after a productive day at work I was able to finish the other 12 analysis and talk to my mentor about meeting for the renewed approach suggested by Dr. Carter. We will meet tomorrow afternoon about it. I will go home and work on tables.

  179. Susan Mitchell says:

    Well, getting my web sites ready for teaching is really taking up my time. I think that I’m overdoing it. I’m going to get things up and running in time for the start of classes, but not worry if everything’s not perfect — I can work on it as classes progress. I need to get back to my dissertation. So, tomorrow: 1) get my laptop fixed, 2) go to an IS meeting, 3) meet with a new CS instructor for lunch, 4) overlap my Google calendars after lunch and fill in what I have left to do on my dissertation (I MUST have a very structured plan from here on out).
    End of day 47. Goodnight!

  180. Carlos R. says:

    SCJVC – Insanity Countdown: -54d 21h 38m

    Good Morning…What a Summer we will have by finishing this NOW!!!!!!!
    Wake up!! Carlos

    – Tables for activations by groups
    – Tables for activations between groups short
    – Tables for activations between groups long


  181. -63d, 7hrs, 12mins – working today at assistantship, came in and finished up composites and correlations from last night. Correlations look much better today and reliabilities aren’t too bad, which is good for going ahead with the rest of the analyses. After work, will try to run through some more analyses and do some background reading.

    Go #TeamGetItDone.

    • drwestmoreland says:

      Go Team Go!

    • -62, 23hrs, 6mins – Whoa, I ran my syntax for one of the research questions. Like, the analysis ran (after some tweaking – I got some errors at first because the data set wasn’t set up properly for the program). Ok, I’m going to work out to wake up and then will try to understand what all the output means… 🙂

      Oh, I also worked on my semester calendar that my advisor worked for (way too scary to describe here), so I’ll make a copy of that and leave it in her mailbox to critique. Also fixed some wording and reliability information in Chapter 3 based on what I did earlier this morning.

      K, onward, #TeamGetItDone!

  182. Patti O PhD(c) says:

    -41d 2h 53m

    Yesterday, I managed to finish Chapter 3 and send it off to my advisors!!!!
    Today Chapter 4… quick edits by 10:30am and the more difficult edits by this evening…
    Nice to have all this inspiration from colleagues!

    #TeamGetItDone in Boston

  183. drwestmoreland says:

    Day 58…..

    Today I am going to:

    1. Clean up Journal 14 coding
    2. Clean up Journal 15 coding
    3. Code 1 set of Navy documents
    4. Convert conference paper into dissertation chapter, or at least start thinking about what this will look like.

    Let’s do it!



  184. Carlos R. says:

    Back to nothing…..Now I have to work in the proposal????? again????? Relax Carlos Relax!!!!!! Xanax Xanax 🙂

    • Carlos R. says:

      Now I’m more relax……As I said before…Dr. Carter’s advice work better than Xanax 🙂
      Thank You!!! again Dr. Carter

  185. Hello All
    This is a new week, the DH is over but your dissertation is not. What’s the plan for this week? It’s the end of January stay strong everyone.

    • evesdawn says:

      Hi Dr. Carter!
      Since I have TAing starting next week for me (eek!), my plan for this week is to get as much done in the lab as possible – I’m working on getting results for the project that I will be presenting at the ACS conference in late March, but I need to find reliable papers and ways to get results and good characterization – fast! So that’s my main goal for the week in lab.
      For writing, I’m working on at least writing up ONE new reaction a day, including ChemDraw schemes, and placing them in my files 🙂

      Good luck to all! Can’t wait for Friday!


  186. Maya M says:

    Hello from UMB! First things first — You all are amazing! Thanks for such inspiring posts! I’m almost caught up on all the posts of the blog.

    After a bit of a hiatus due to health challenges, single parenthood, living at home with my parents and sister (AND my cousin and her little dog too for several months), and academic issues beyond my control, I am back in grad school and back to work on my dissertation.

    Long story short, I had to develop a different dissertation proposal with similar research questions in a different cohort because my PI’s study is currently suspended. It has been a HUGE headache. I had a committee meeting in December and they approved my use of the different cohort. Thankfully, my recently published JAGS article is based on the cohort I will now be using for my analysis and will count as paper 1 for my dissertation. The main differences are that I am now only analyzing data from a cohort of women, I lose one cytokine from my analysis, and I gain an additional study visit’s worth of data. So, I have to make some major changes to my document.

    Dr. Tull’s post on defense scheduling was so timely. I’m looking for a defense date anywhere from late March to late April so that I can participate in hooding and commencement in May. I’m an MD/PhD candidate and medical school doesn’t resume until July, but I need to officially celebrate the PhD completion for morale’s sake. I’ve been in med and grad school way too long without any sort of celebration of accomplishment (9 years to be exact).

    Today, I will be accomplishing the following:
    -Edit table of contents to reflect changes in headings in the background and methods chapters
    -Incorporate comments from last week’s meeting with my advisor into my new document
    -Edit research questions and aims in chapter 1 and 3
    -Copy and paste relevant text from chapter 1 and 2 into new document
    -Copy and paste first manuscript into its chapter
    -Edit conceptual model to reflect changes in the cohort and feedback from my last presentation to fellow predoctoral trainees and faculty

    It’s 2:46 and Itzhak Perlman radio on Pandora is making greatness happen!



    p.s.: where can i get one of those amazing t-shirts??? 🙂
    p.p.s.: i love the spin-off blogs!!!! i’ll have to update the one i started in 2010 more regularly!

    • Hi Maya,

      You’ve got a lot going on but you’ve got it going on! If I’m allowed to read into your words, you aren’t letting anything stop you from getting this degree!

      Go Get ‘Em!

      P.S. I think Dr. Tull was the t-shirt lady 🙂
      P.P.S. Itzhak Perlman radio is now playing in my ear, thank you. Nice break from my techno/house-y “Panoptica radio”

  187. Kelly Schmidt says:

    My day was more productive than I expected as I had one interview scheduled for data collection (I scheduled it before I came to DH), then called another potential participant this morning to schedule – she told me she was free this afternoon and coincidentally lived about 4 blocks from the interviewee already scheduled. Did I mention that the location of both visits was about a 50 minute drive from my house? Two visits in one afternoon, an unexpected gift which gets me that much closer to finishing, woohoo!

  188. -62d, 8h, 37m – Only a little time before a full day at the assistantship.
    1) putting specific dates in my personal calendar that I turned in to my advisor (and forgot to put my name on)
    2) quick journaling
    3) glancing over how to run a mixture model

    Go #TeamGetItDone – happy Witness-day!

    • Back at the grad office and my friend left me some chocolate-covered strawberries. Sooo on point.

      Mixture models, here I come!

      This is harder than I thought so I need to break it down
      1) Read one section of the MPlus guide
      2) Try to set up the syntax
      3) Repeat with next relevant section if syntax doesn’t come together.
      4) Record any issues/observations

    • -61d, 19h, 21min – Got the syntax to run. Now just to figure out if I’m doing this right, requesting the right output, setting up the syntax correctly to reflect the number of classes, etc. But very excited that the thing ran at all and gave me some output!

      I don’t have to understand all of this yet, I just need to keep marching along and stop being afraid of what I don’t yet know. If I keep moving, eventually I’ll understand it and it will no longer be the enemy.

      Gonna head home and try again tomorrow. Goodnight, #TeamGetItDoneCauseYouKeptTryingAndComingBack!

  189. Carlos R. says:

    SCJVC – Insanity Countdown: -53d 20h 27m

    You want 8 papers???? 8 will be…….
    I’m the expert!!!!!!!
    This is so #$@*&$*@ ON!!!!!

    This week:
    1. Draft-writing Introduction for Chapter 2
    2. Draft-writing + specific list 4 MY Ph.D. paper 1/ Chapter 2a
    3. Draft-writing + specific list 4 MY Ph.D. paper 2 / Chapter 2b
    4. Draft-writing + specific list 4 MY Ph.D. paper 3 / Chapter 2c
    5. Draft-writing Introduction for Chapter 3
    6. Draft-writing + specific list 4 MY Ph.D. paper 4 / Chapter 3a
    7. Draft-writing + specific list 4 MY Ph.D. paper 5 / Chapter 3b
    8. Draft-writing Introduction for Chapter 4
    9. Draft-writing + specific list 4 MY Ph.D. paper 1/ Chapter 4a
    10. Draft-writing + specific list 4 MY Ph.D. paper 2 / Chapter 4b
    11. Draft-writing + specific list 4 MY Ph.D. paper 3 / Chapter 4c

    That’s why is called INSANITY!!!!!!!

  190. evesdawn says:

    Good morning all!
    As you all know, I have my own blog where I post my “daily” ish goals, but I also post quotes that are relevant to either how I’m feeling in the morning, or relevant to the dissertation/research process. This quote I felt was just too good not to share with you all! It’s one of those quotes where the lesson is preached during the DH (you might have heard Dr. CV say “A good dissertation is a DONE dissertation!”) – so here it is!

    “Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing.” – Harriet Braiker

    So don’t worry about getting it perfect! Just get it DONE! 🙂

    Good luck all!


  191. drwestmoreland says:

    Day 47….

    Today I will:

    1. Code some Navy stuff
    2. Send that to my advisor
    3. Draft my job presentation
    4. Have a late afternoon meeting with my advisor



    • drwestmoreland says:

      I didn’t have that meeting with my advisor so I finished my tasks early today so I am going to spend my last hour reading before I head to choir practice. I am feeling the “Wednesday” blues for some reason my spirit is low….But the majority of the day is behind me so I will press on until I finish.

      Happy Wednesday!



  192. Patti O PhD(c) says:

    You guys are awesome!!! What motivation!!! We are at crunch time at the Hackathon at MIT and so my dissertation took a back seat yesterday, but I am getting some work done today. Can you believe that Dr. Carter met me at South Station today for a meeting!?!?! It is always good to have a conversation with Dr. Carter to get you focused and motivated. Goal for today finish the minor changes in Chapter 4 and download the data files from Physionet.

  193. Susan M. says:

    Well, I was derailed for the past two days — my computer had to be completely cleaned and all its software reinstalled! I kept going in circles thinking, “Well, I can do this in the meantime. No, wait, I can’t. I need the computer to do it!” So a couple of very unproductive days. That’s why I haven’t been blogging.

    So, tonight, I’m reinstalling a lot of software (had my data backed up — always make sure that you do and in more than one place) and getting ready for teaching my first class tomorrow.

    I’ll get back on track, although I’m a little depressed that my son went back to college yesterday. I worry so much about him.

  194. Susan M. says:

    Anyone: How do I get in touch with Natasha? I’d like to see if we can get that room in the Commons for this weekend.

    Also, who’s in for working this weekend in the Commons?

    • Kelly Schmidt says:

      You can reach Natasha at

      • Carlos R. says:

        SCJVC – Insanity Countdown: -53d 08h 48m

        I already e-mailed her, if I don’t hear from her tomorrow, I will adopt Dr. Carter’s approach…I WILL HUNT HER DOWN!!!!.

        I will be this weekend in the commons……..I will be swimming the next four days to get back to Krav on Monday. Plan is 2 days of Krav a week, 2 days of swimming and start P90X (I got from a neighbor). .. Many of them keep reminding me every time they see me about..My Countdown 🙂

        I got a new software to help me with the dissertation-paper approach and already paste and expanded for chapter 2. The good thing about this approach is that I will be able to do it during work hours. But one of the best things I got from Dr. Tull and Carter was the idea of working on several things depending on my strenghts/weaknesses and the time available….But always working on it and Just Get it Done!!

        I friend sent me a KISS message: Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS)

        Good Night….I am going to get some rest, get some music mixed for my wife’s birthday

  195. Way to keep going, people! Big or small, it’s progress. Way past my departure time (I made the mistake of checking FB) – see you tomorrow…

    Dr. Smackdown

  196. Carlos R. says:

    SCJVC – Insanity Countdown: -53d 02h 52m

    Amazing!!!! Inspiring!!!!!
    I woke up around 2:45 am,,,,,,couldn’t get back to sleep so I followed Margaret’s example ( )….If I can’t go back to sleep….just do something

    Weekend INSANITY Bootcamp is comming!!!!

    Thanks Margaret!!!!!

  197. -61d, 8h, 52min – Wow, nice middle of the night productivity, Carlos!

    In the office for another pre-assistantship session. I’ve got about 40 minutes. I will glance over the output from my mixture analysis last night and see if I can make any sense out of it. Main questions:
    1) What’s meaningful to me?
    2) What do I still need?
    3) Can I tell what I will need to do for the other RQs based on what I know?

    The next step will probably be to try the alternative cluster analysis to see if I can make that go..

    Go #TeamGetItDone! “Never doubt that a small group of committed people can chage the world – indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
    — Margaret Mead

  198. evesdawn says:

    Quote for today: “Our greatest weakness is giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” Thomas Edison

    Keep going everyone! You all are so motivational!! 😀



  199. drwestmoreland says:

    Day 46…..

    Today I will:
    1. Work on my list of edits from my committee
    2. Have coffee with our “new” professor in the department
    3. Work on my job takl slides

    If my advisor shows interest I will also meet with her today.

    Great Job Carlos working in the middle of the night!! Get it done! I saw the update e-mails when I woke up this morning and I was like who was up posting in the middle of the night.


    Let’s graduate ya’ll!



  200. Patti O PhD(c) says:

    Good morning, folks! Margaret, I just love your quotes! Everyone else, I love your motivation. You all help me to focus on this goal and endure the situation I am in. Thank you so much!

    My goals are:
    1. Meet with my collaborator here for lunch
    2. Convert the data that I downloaded into something that my code can use
    3. Create an image for Chapter 3 visualization that describes what is happening better
    4. Run the experiments and get results. (Cross your fingers!)

    Happy day, everyone! Thanks for helping me endure. focus, and move forward!!!

  201. Susan M. says:

    Blogging in late. I’ve been spending the morning getting the materials ready for the first class that I have to teach for the semester. My son just called and said he forgot his hockey equipment for a game tonight. Gonna try to put that chore off on hubby. I need to get back to my dissertation tonight.
    Dr. Carter emailed me and said that Natasha is in Canada celebrating her birthday. So, I don’t know if we can get a room in the Commons this week for not. I’ll keep trying.
    PLEASE POST if you’d like to meet this weekend at UMBC. I’d really like to get this weekend “mini-DH” going, even if we have to use the library or other facility until we get a room.

  202. Margaret Dabek says:

    I will be there too, but I am coming at 9am 🙂

  203. Hello All
    Yesterday I met with Patti O in Boston; we had fun catching up on her progress. I spoke with Carlos over the phone. It’s good to see that you all have plans to meet to work on your dissertations this weekend. Glad to see that you realized that you are not alone in this long journey. Keep up the good work Teamgetitdone.

  204. -60d, 20h, 36min
    1) Finishing up reading output (mostly I don’t understand, but will soon)
    2) If time, attempt a quick cluster analysis

    • -60d, 19h, 58min
      Ugh, didn’t get much done. Read over a job announcement for a great position. Will need that motivation tomorrow morning when I come back.

      1) Finish output
      2) Glance at cluster analysis and try
      3) Reviewer’s guide – what is required in reporting?
      4) Try RQ3

      Onward, #TeamGetItDone

  205. Carlos R. says:

    SCJVC – Insanity Countdown: -51d 20h 19m

    We are here at the library:
    Plan for today focus on chapter 4
    1. Draft-writing Introduction for Chapter 4
    2. specific list Chapter 4a
    3. specific list Chapter 4b


  206. -60d, 5h, 49m – Happy Friday!
    In the office, spent time ordering one of my fundamental stats books on amazon that got recalled from the library. Booo. 🙂

    Ready for a good day, though. Glad I parked downhill yesterday! Copying and pasting:
    1) Finish output
    2) Glance at cluster analysis and try
    3) Reviewer’s guide – what is required in reporting?
    4) Try RQ3

    Go INSANITY crew! Work it out. Let’s #GetItDone on a Friday.

    • Almost forgot: Done reading through output by: 11:35am

    • -60d, 3h, 29m – Got through the output and made my notes! Had a scheduled chat in the office at 12 and now I’m ready for my next steps.

      Gonna try a cluster analysis as an alternative. To do this:
      1) Review how-to in my old stats notes
      2) Set up the data if necessary
      3) Run the analysis
      Review til 1:15pm, done attempt by 2pm.

      Let’s Goooo!!!

    • -60d, 2h, 48m – forgot I’m not a robot and therefore need food.

      Recalculating review time…
      Review til 2pm, done attempt by 2:45pm


    • -60d, 0h, 56m – behind schedule. Found my cluster analysis notes but still need more time. Also found out that at least one of my committee members can’t meet on the day I’m counting down to, soooo that means I have to prepare everything for at least one or two days earlier than I planned… 😛

      1) Cluster run by 3:30pm or bust.
      2) Move on to reviewer’s guide to FMM analysis – work on that til 4:30, outline notes so far.
      3) Then run RQ3 analysis til 5:30pm, take notes.


    • -59d, 22h, 46m – I’m out. Was able to work through up to some of the FMM reviewer’s guide notes. Next step: Attempting a quick set up of the RQ3 mplus syntax and running.

  207. Susan M. says:

    Up late as usual when I don’t have a morning obligation. I don’t know how to solve this! I’m going to bed earlier (11:00 at the latest), but I still sleep for up to 10 hours and right through my alarm that plays music for an hour. I think it’s that I don’t get any exercise. Anybody have any suggestions?

    I’m getting back to my dissertation today and tomorrow. Having my computer crap out on me for two days this week really set me back. I’ve also lost a lot of motivation. I hope that tomorrow’s session at the Commons will help me to get it back.

    1) Set up a final interview
    2) Pick a chapter and break it down into smaller pieces
    3) Start writing the pieces
    4) Meeting a friend for a late lunch and hopefully some inspiration

    • Carlos R. says:

      Just let me know the time and will call you….we are in the library !!!

    • PhDWannabe says:

      Susan, I have been having the same problem as far as staying up all night and sleeping too long in the morning…
      Let me tell you what I did this morning and maybe this will help!
      I could not fall asleep until 2:35am but my alarm was set for 7am. Obviously, there is a conflict here.
      So last night, i wrote a note for someone in my house to wake me up at 7am. Literally the note read “Wake Gosia (that’s my Polish name FYI… 😉 ) up at 7am- even if she screams and cries.” And that is precisely what happened- minus screams and cries. Is there anyone that can do this for you in your family? Or have one of us from DH/Commons group call you (granted you leave your phone on super loud volume…)?

      Yes, I am beat up right now abt the hours of sleep I got (I do not want to count how many b/c it will make me sad), but this kind of punishment will get me to bed earlier today, and so on and so forth.
      🙂 I am being productive today too, as painful as it may be
      Hope this helped…

      • Susan M. says:

        Margaret — Thanks! Yes it does help. I’ve tried having my husband wake me, but he doesn’t try hard enough. I think I’ll ask my sister, who’s always up early, to give me a wake up phone call, and then one 10 minutes later. She’s very persistent and wants me to get through this so that she and I can travel.
        — Susan

    • Susan, I’m trying to keep myself motivated, too. I notice that I am more functional when I have a good system that keeps me accountable and focused on my priority. Have someone call or text you when it’s bedtime, maybe. For me, I told my friends that in order for me to hang out on my allowed days, I had to be on my way home between 8-9pm, no exceptions. And then I have to not make any exceptions (the hard part). SO many good opportunities come up to hang out JUST when I say I’m going to say no more consistently.

      I also have committed to doing short morning exercises when I wake up – they can take 5 minutes or 15 minutes depending how much time I have. It’s just to establish a wake up routine (I pray right beforehand, something that’s important for me in order to keep a broad perspective). What’s working for me is 10 reps of each exercise – some push ups, some back exercises, sit up variations, and then a short yoga cycle.

      Lastly, I turned off the radio alarm (also plays for a while) and just keep my phone across the room with a loud alarm with no snooze. If I snooze once I’ll snooze until it stops snoozing and then I just oversleep. If I have to I’ll set a second non-snooze alarm when I know I’m really tired (because I didn’t go to bed on time). No matter what, I am not allowed to lay back down. Not even to make my bed (I can trick myself easily).

      Overall, nothing works for me if I’m not committed, and the commitment only comes when I remember why I’m doing this and who it’s for, and that I only have to do this dissertation ONCE. Then I maintain my system. I reflect regularly on what’s working and what’s not, and make the necessary changes to stay balanced and gentle yet rigorous. Stay accountable and it gets easier to come back consistently.

      I will need to come back to read this soon… 🙂

      • drwestmoreland says:

        Those are all great ideas. One of the reasons that I actually use public transportation is because it forces me to work while it’s day. On top of already being committed like Alexis said. I mean committed like there are certain things/people that are on my “your not on team get it done” list so they had to take a backseat. I am very protective of my sleep, I mean like it is my precious. Don’t mess with it. I am usualy getting in the bed by 9:30 or 10 at the latest, that way I don’t really need the alarm because I wake up at 5:30 or 6 automatically. The more consistent I am with my sleep the more rested I feel when I wake up in the morning. I actually wake up and my body says we are DONE sleeping for now so get up and let’s do something. Although I do have my alarm come on it is more for my meditations and these morning spiritual radio programs that I like to listen to for affirmations in the morning and encouragement for my day.

        Now my enemy is my couch, because sometimes I transfer it to the couch after I wake up because I claim that I need to watch the news. LOL. Then 2 hours pass and I’m still in my pajamas. I don’t watch that much TV at night, usually never unless there is some national news I want to hear about. So I tell myself that I need to watch TV in the morning because I rarely watch it at night.

        Also on school days (which are Mon – Sat only) I lay out my clothes so that I don’t even have to think about what I am wearing and since I don’t gave a ta-ship it is usually some variation of the same outfit. This helps my morning routine. I am fasting with my church so I am not currently eating breakfast or lunch until next month so right now I can get out of my house in like 20 minutes from the time I open my eyes if I don’t sit down to watch TV.

        It is hard to be so committed and some days are going to be better than others but we just have to keep pressing on even when we mess up. The clock doesn’t stop because we mess up, our countdown to graduation is still in session.

        We can do it!

      • Susan M. says:

        Thanks, Alexis. I’m going to take your advise about getting my friends to promise that they’ll hold me to certain limitations. For example, a friend who I haven’t seen in awhile emailed me today and asked me to go out to lunch. I hesitated, because he and I take extremely long lunches (hours). But I caved and went, telling myself that I’d give myself a time limit and tell him. Well, three hours later …

        So, lesson learned: Tell him that I can get together with him on occasion, but only for 1.5 hours, which is a reasonable amount of time for us to catch up on things. I’ll do the same with other people. Good advise.

  208. drwestmoreland says:

    Day 45……

    Yesterday I met with my advisor and we talked about what we want to do with this Navy data. Today the plan is to work some with that data and also to work on my job talk presentation.

    That’s all folks!



  209. Carlos says:

    SCJVC – Insanity Countdown: -51d 12h 23m

    Done at the Library…..See you tomorrow at the Commons
    Redirected the focus of Chapter 4 (KISS)

  210. Susan M. says:

    Set my alarm for 7:30, up at 7:50. Not bad for me! I’m checking my email and getting a bagel, then heading to school. See you soon!

    • Carlos says:

      SCJVC – Insanity Countdown: -50d 21h 10m

      Here at the Commons!!!
      Thanks Natasha!!! I really appreciate it
      Next 3 hours:
      Chapter 4a Intro KISS

    • Great progress, Susan. Celebrate every step of progress since no one will do it for you. I clap for myself when I finish my morning routine – sometimes it’s really hard for me to get through!

  211. Susan M. says:

    I’m actually here at 9:30 and ready to work! Goals today:
    – Read through some interview notes to jog my memory
    – Draft Ch. 3.2 Industrial Case Study:
    – 3.2.1 Setting and Background
    – 3.2.2 Data Collection

  212. – 59 Days, 5 Hours, 57 Minutes (cut/paste: why’d it take me so long?) – Happy Saturday, Saturday crew. Thanks for letting me join you (virtually). I’m happy to be in the office at College Park.

    We’ve got a great show for you tonight, folks:
    1) Run CFA for RQ3
    2) Record problems, observations, results
    3) Stat model info/tutorial – how to connect Q1 classes/prob’ys to remaining analyses?
    4) Dim sum with friends for Chinese New Year at noon
    5) Finish whatever didn’t get through during afternoon, decide next steps (looking at notes from CFA class, reading next chapter, finishing Reviewer’s Guide chapter?)
    6) Dinner for friend’s birthday at 6pm.

    Starting with CFA. Done by 11am then review.

    Go INSANITY team at the Commons. Let’s #GetItDone.

    • -59 Days, 4 Hours, 35 Minutes – Set up syntax but first attempt yielded an error. Check when I get back from lunch. 🙂

    • Ok, I’m not used to this – I started to post and then zoned out…

      Not sure I’m gonna get much more done, and it’s almost time to leave. I’ll park downhill now just in case.

      Next steps:
      *Tomorrow is planning day – I have a separate list for that*
      1) Figure out how to run CFA for RQ3 (fix syntax)
      2) Record problems, observations, results
      3) Stat model info/tutorial – how to connect Q1 classes/prob’ys to remaining analyses?
      4) Decide next steps (looking at notes from CFA class, reading next chapter, finishing Reviewer’s Guide chapter?)

      Happy Saturday, #TeamGetItDone

    • Oops. Found the problem in my syntax. Musta been tired. Ok, I’m out after making a log of what to fix!

      • drwestmoreland says:

        Good Saturday WORK Alexis, I failed Saturday. Well not really but you know! I’m glad that you got so much work acocmplished! 3 Cheers for you!!

        • Thanks, Nikki!! Actually you and others – Dr.Tull included – inspired me to do the 6 days on, 1 day off/planning thing, so I kept telling myself to push so I could really feel ok about DELIBERATELY not working (well, not technically working, anyway) on a Sunday. I say deliberately because there have been many, many days where I said I was going to work and then didn’t, felt guilty, and then still felt drained on Monday…

          Today, even though I’m still tired because I went to bed late, I actually feel like I took a personal recovery day. I could get used to this.

  213. Carlos says:

    SCJVC – Insanity Countdown: -50d 17h 48m

    Here at the Commons!!! Thanks Natasha for stopping by.
    Next 3 hours:
    Chapter 4a Intro/Methods KISS

  214. Susan M. says:

    Back from lunch. Took only one hour, which is good for me. Hye-Sook went with me, so we were able to talk about our experiences interviewing people.

    I read through some interview notes before lunch. Boy, if you take long breaks between steps in your research, you forget an awful lot! Luckily, I took pretty good notes. I also wrote about 3 pages of section 3.2.1 before lunch. I’m going to continue with it now.

    Margaret D. joined us before lunch, so we have 4 people at our session now. Consider joining us next weekend!

    • Susan, I’ve taken over your long lunch breaks! This has to be a record, almost 4 hours!! Although an hour and a half of that was commute, with construction adding half an hour to my about 30 minute drive on the way (and a woman cutting suddenly across the 3-lane street almost getting t-boned by my car). Then our huge party of grad students – maybe 14 people? – had to wait another half an hour or so to be seated. But the dim sum was really good… 🙂

      I’ll be working on the shorter lunch breaks, too!!

  215. PhDWannabe says:

    Best decision I made today! 🙂
    I am also getting a lot done (check out my blog later tonight:, but so far this is what I got done:
    -filtered out MD-20 rxn from one solvent and put into next one, set up for whole day while I work here 🙂
    -found IP evaluation sheet so I can print that off later
    -went through revisions of my IP that my editors gave to me, including Margaret G (THANKS AGAIN 🙂 )
    – have a FINAL draft of my IP that I can hand in after my co-advisors check it off

    Now I am about to sift through my journal articles and group them, then start the exciting highlight like crazy process (These are all articles I have read before I just need to highlight important points to make citation easier later on)

    -Margaret D.

  216. Susan M. says:

    Well, it’s 7:26 and I’m about losing it. I’m going to leave in about 1/2 hour. I worked from 9:30 until now, with a one-hour lunch and a half-hour break around 4:00! That’s around eight hours of solid work! I made significant progress on the two sections that I wanted to draft. Bit off more than I could chew. But I feel calmer that I can actually do this!!! Hurray for ME!

    I probably won’t blog tomorrow because I have to work on materials for the classes that I teach this coming week. But I should be back on Monday.

    Goodnight and rest of the weekend! I think I’ll go for a quick mall massage before I go home, then watch a little well-deserved TV with my husband.

  217. Carlos says:

    SCJVC – Insanity Countdown: -49d 18h 36m

    Amazed with ……………an inspiration…really!!

    I’m at UMBC in some place in the library….I am so tired, and I am just writing to keep writing, to write out of something ( I think that was some type of saying from Alex), Head doesn’t hurt but feels like an egg….49 days!!!! I know this is really delusional but the real goal is to have everything down, organized and finally a clear plan approved…..but inside me I know this can be done.

    I didn’t go to Mass this morning, did not sleep well due to Gabriel but that’s life….Actually I really enjoyed when the kids go and wake up to sleep with them 🙂

    Trying to decide in going to Mass at noon, 5 pm or 7:30 pm…Today I am going to focus and organize the remaining 49 days…….Thanks Margaret!!!

    Ok..First things First…..MASS @ noon then get back to UMBC

  218. Carlos says:

    OK….I’m back but this time at the 455, I went into the 24-hour but was kind of distracting so now I’m upstairs.

  219. Carlos says:

    OK…Time to go Home

    Tomorrow (just because Margaret is making me to put them down 🙂

    – Write chapter 4a (ambitious) Any ten minutes do something about it…. KISS

  220. drwestmoreland says:

    Day 42….

    I am going to Southern Maryland with my advisor today to work on some data.

    When I get back (hopefully not too late) I need to put in about 2 hours thinking and working on my job talk for my Tuesday morning meeting with my department chair.

    Another Week!

    New Morning, New Mercies!


  221. Patti O PhD(c) says:

    -36d 7hr 32m…
    I lost a weekend here just moving back to Maryland, but honestly I needed the break. I was wiped out this weekend. Now the final push. I got into the office by 8am this morning. I am just working solid until March 5th.

    Today’s goals
    1. Finish the images for chapter 3.
    2. Rewrite sections that need to be rewritten in chapter 4
    3. Set up a meeting with my advisor
    4. Write up my understanding of my baseline to present to my advisor

    Thanks, Carlos, for noticing my absence!!! I needed that kick in the pants!!! Pa’lante!

  222. -55 Days, 22 Hours, 31 Minutes – Happy Monday.

    I’m tired but I’m here. While waiting for an earlier comment to post, I did some troubleshooting with my syntax from Saturday. I was able to get it to run and I didn’t even get any funny warnings this time. Mostly the issues that come up are because I left out some variable names or forgot to change a file name. I will find out if I have bigger issues once I go over some of the results with my lab and one or two of my committee members this week. I need to make sure I’m on the right track early in February so I can get the results that I can use written up.

    Yesterday was a planning day but I didn’t get much planning done. I will take a few minutes to catch up on my planning for this week, and then go back to the output I just got. So my goals for today that I set up on Saturday:
    1) Figure out how to run CFA for RQ3 (fix syntax) –> run second set of syntax and read over output
    2) Record problems, observations, results
    3) Stat model info/tutorial – how to connect Q1 classes/prob’ys to remaining analyses?
    4) Decide next steps (looking at notes from CFA class, reading next chapter, finishing Reviewer’s Guide chapter?)

    Let’s go, #TeamGetItDone!

    • Oops, forgot estimated time again. Done planning and Goal 1 by 11am.

    • Got sleepy so I checked in on the blog. I have my output and looked at some of the fit indices, which are just ok. I still need more background to be able to explain the assumptions, so I’ll work on that soon. Still need some basic reflections written down for this week’s time budget and plan.

    • -55 Days, 19 Hours, 57 Minutes – This day is flying by. I was crazy sleepy so I ate a grapefruit and did some planning. I finished up my week’s goals and sent off two important emails to set up meetings related to my analyses.

      Now it’s noon and I still need to read over the output from RQ3 run. I also want to try to get RQ4 set up, since I had no idea how to do that one and this idea might work that I have. I think I’ll see if it runs and then start looking at everything together.

      I’ll take a quick break and start back up again between 12:25 and 12:30pm.

      • Uh oh, where’s Susan – I’m late back from lunch (even though it could be much, much worse). I’ve caught the disease! 🙂 K, back to work. Let’s see if I can get this last analysis to run by….. 1:30pm. Go!

        • Susan M. says:

          Don’t beat yourself up over it. Try setting your cell phone alarm while at lunch. (But let the person you’re with know that you’re doing it and why!) Keep goin’!

    • Attempted last analysis. No good as is, although it did run. It’s just probably really poorly designed. 🙂 Gonna go meet with my lab mate about my stats. Be back.

    • -55 Days, 13 Hours, 12 Minutes – Headed out. I met with my labmate who gave me a bunch of good ideas for how to present what I have in lab this week. I’m on the right track with the analyses, and I have some good question for my committee member. I’ve been working on histograms of the subscale composites, so I have those set, and I’ve made notes on the specific challenges and questions to answer.

      1) Summarize overall story
      2) Describe (brief) mixture model output
      3) Create path models with loadings
      4) Attempt simpler Q4 stuff
      5) Format presentation

  223. Carlos says:

    SCJVC – Insanity Countdown: -48d 23h 18m or -20d 23h 18m ????????

    A very difficult day, too much at work that I couldn’t get into chapter 4a (it takes too much time to write..but blogging is actually helping me to write and improve to transfer my thoughts into words)

    Things Done:
    1. Contacted Every Member of the Committee for available dates to meet..after getting feedback from 3 of them the available dates are March 26,28 and April 4.
    2. I got the references for Chapter 4.
    3. Talked to my mentor/boss
    4. Kept trying to get dates from the one member pending
    5. Talked to Melody to find out about the possibility of graduating this May (My mentor is not a Regular member of the Graduate Faculty
    6. Talked the the Graduate Faculty Council to find out about the meeting dates (so my mentor submit the paperwork on time

    For tomorrow:
    1. Hunt down the missing committee member for dates
    2. Take the application for diploma for signature
    3. Meet with my Boss/Mentor to go over the overall approach.
    4. Discuss the computational modeling experiment pending
    5. Negotiate time for work in my Dissertation (I have way over 50 days accumulated of vacation)
    6. Blog after my meeting with her.
    7. E-mail possible editors/friends

    I will add more things depending how things are going. Need to get back to Krav….

    Ok..people get back to work

  224. -55 Days, 0 Hours, 10 Minutes – Good persistence, Carlos. Find that committee member and use that vacation time! 🙂

    I’m about to leave for a half day at my assistantship. I have a lot to accomplish today, so I’ll look forward to pushing myself through each part.

    For today:
    1) Summarize overall analysis story
    2) Describe (brief) mixture model output
    3) Create path models with loadings
    4) Attempt simpler Q4 stuff
    5) Format presentation
    6) Possibly work out


    • -54 Days, 19 Hours, 15 Minutes – Raising my mug to #TeamGetItDone! But apparently whatever’s in there isn’t coffee (not sure, Nikki, what happens with you and coffee, but I’m afraid to ask…)

      Back from my assistantship, which I left determinedly only a few minutes after 12pm despite the temptation to finish up just ONE more thing (patting self on back). Have eaten my salad and now I’m sitting down to work on my summary (Goal 1). I have until 1:15pm. Go!

    • -54 Days, 18 Hours, 38 Minutes – Hmm, apparently trying to draw the big pictures reveals unanswered questions in the smaller pictures… Spent time fixing some glitches I noticed as I organized my big picture of the overall analyses I’m running. And the half hour was gone before I knew it! Need more time for part 1, will build in the remaining goals soon. Work til 2:30pm and report back after a short break…

    • -54 Days, 15 Hours, 33 Minutes – Ugh. It’s late. I’m hungry and tired (took my contacts out during my bathroom break). I was craving chocolate and couldn’t focus. But I took a break from the data presentation and updated an important list that I had been procrastinating on. Oh, I should probably print that….

      Still pushing through this presentation. I just went with pasting in my research questions and predictions/ hypotheses as part one since I was kind of stuck on it, and since I’ve been trying to get myself to include the mixture output. Will finish that and then goals 3-6. Will the workout make it in?

  225. -35d 8h 40m
    Thank you all for your hard work!!! You motivate me!!! You help me focus!!!
    Goal’s for today:
    1.Write up baseline method for meeting with advisor
    2.Meet with Advisor at 10am
    3.Send signed Athena HC form
    4.Do edits for Chapter 5
    6.Check on GSA reimbursements

    #TeamGetItDone now!

  226. Maya M says:

    All of your collective energy makes my heart glad. I slept horribly last night, so this morning’s progress has been slow. I’m not going to beat up on myself about it though. I did incorporate some of my reader’s comments into Chapter 1, which is much better than having done nothing at all.

    Today’s agenda:
    -Stat meeting at 10:30am
    -Finish incorporating reader’s comments into Chapter 1
    -Edit conceptual model
    -Send Chapter 1 to my advisor for our meeting tomorrow
    -Training grant seminar at 4pm

    I raise my mug to toast to collective productivity! 🙂


  227. Maya, we can do this. As I say it to you, I am convincing myself. Both of us have had major set backs, but we can do this!!! We have to get back on our horses, make the dissertation a priority in our lives once again, as we take the final ride to graduation… We have to make ourselves accountable each day to the goals we set. I haven’t been too good at that lately… Thanks, Carlos, for the kick in the butt! I raise my mug as well…

  228. drwestmoreland says:

    Day 41…..(tomorrow starts my 40 day countdown)

    Tuesday is always here so fast. I met with my department chair this morning and we went through my job talk so now I have changes to make. Today I am going to spend time with my dissertation I need to insert a few references that I got from my advisor and I need to add in the paper that my advisor and I wrote. I didn’t spend much time with the document last week because I was in analysis mode so it can get jealous at times as Lenisa says it acts like a “jealous mistress” so I need to coddle it some today.

    Before my meeting with my department chair I fell asleep at my deak and was having a dream when I woke up and realized I was 2 minutes late. So after the meeting I got coffee but only a small cup this time because we know what happens with me and coffee.




    • drwestmoreland says:

      Day 41 is over and I’m about to force myself to leave before I am stuck here until morning and we don’t want that now do we. I spent some time cuddling my dissertation today, mostly Chapter 3. It is still somewhat of a sham, but it is better of a sham than it was this morning. I already have almost 200 pages and 30,000 words!! Lord help me! Today was good, I am meeting with my advisor in the morning after I take care of some “paperwork” meaning all the little things I don’t do or e-mails I didn’t respond to today because I was working on the dissertation. It always feels good to get a good chunk of work done. Since I had coffee at noon I was working like the energizer bunny so I might have made a few spelling mistakes that I am sure my advisor will catch and we will fix those later.

      Bye Bye now!

  229. You all are rockin’ and rollin’!!!!! Congratulations! Just so that you know, you are not alone!!! I spent the past few days cloistered to finish a publication for the American Medicine Journal. Dr. Rutledge, Dr. Warnick (UMB PROMISE Co-PI), Dr. Frances Carter (former UMBC Peer Mentor) and I were up until 2AM on Monday morning getting everything edited. It was finally submitted yesterday. This was one of those journals where you have to submit an abstract first, and then, if that is accepted, you can submit a full manuscript for another round of reviews. Our abstract was accepted in November, and the full paper was due yesterday. We’ll see how things go with the reviewers! Here is the final abstract:

    PROMISE AGEP Alliance Structure Facilitates Minority Graduate Student Retention in Maryland

    PROMISE: Maryland’s Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP), sponsored by the National Science Foundation, is a consortium that is designed to increase the numbers of underrepresented minority (URM) PhDs in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields who will pursue academic careers. A strength of PROMISE is its alliance infrastructure that connects underrepresented graduate students on different campuses through centralized programming for the three research universities in Maryland: University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC, lead), the University of Maryland College Park, and the University of Maryland Baltimore (UMB). Programs cover graduate student recruitment, retention, community building, PhD completion, and transition to careers. The UMB branch of PROMISE, with campus leadership in the School of Medicine, includes students who are in non-clinical biomedical PhD, MD/Master’s and MD/PhD programs.

    While not a fellowship, PROMISE offers professional development and skill-building programs that provide academic and personal support for URM students on all three campuses. PROMISE on UMB’s campus includes the School of Medicine which sponsors tri-campus programs that promote health/wellness to accompany traditional professional development programs. These programs serve as interventions that reduce isolation and facilitate degree completion among diverse students on each campus.

    This article includes survey responses from 12 minority alumni from UMB who graduated from either PhD or MD/PhD programs. Survey results discuss benefits of an interdepartmental and intercampus alliance structure for URM graduate retention. The article will also outline suggestions for replicating and scaling professional development programs for URMs in biomedical, MD/Master’s, and MD/PhD programs on other campuses.


    Including tables and references, it ended being about 47 pages.

    Here is an interesting fact that we put in the paper related to underrepresentation [SOURCE: NSF Survey of Earned Doctorates]:

    ” From 2006 to 2009, there were 29,660 PhD recipients of all races in the 34 reported fields for Biological Sciences. Of those, 703 were Black and 995 were Hispanic. During the same time period, there were 3,805 PhD recipients of all races from the Medical Sciences, of whom 218 were Black, and 100 were Hispanic.” FYI, the numbers of graduates from Native American/Alaska Native backgrounds is EXTREMELY small, only a few grads per year, nationally.

    Ok everyone, keep up the good work!!!!!!!! A quick announcement, Barrett Whitener is coming to UMBC on 2/15 to talk about public speaking and preparing presentations,, I’m going to facilitate the PROMISE Opening Meeting on 2/17 at UMBC, and Dr. Carter-Veale will be back at the end of Feb. (tentatively Feb. 23) for a seminar on Thesis and Dissertation completion.

    Keep up the momentum!!!!!! You all are doing a GREAT job!!

  230. I’m just coming back to remind all of you that you ROCK!

    Patti O.
    Margaret D.
    Margaret G.
    Everyone else who has joined in from time to time.

    You are all from different schools: UMBC, UM College Park, and UMB. You are from different backgrounds, and different disciplines. But you are united for a common goal: to get your PhDs and finish this dissertation. You are #TEAMGETITDONE !!!!!!!!!!

    • LOL. Thank you, Dr. Tull (and Dr. CV, and the other PROMISE folks), for making all of these resources available for us and pushing us to keep at it! The abstract looks awesome, and it’s definitely empowering to know that you folks are always pushing yourselves to achieve, too.

      We are #TeamGetItDone!!

      • drwestmoreland says:

        Thanks Dr. Tull! We are more than grateful to have a virtual meeting place to call our own.

        • Susan M. says:

          Thanks, Dr. Tull. This program has been incredible. I almost *seriously* quite last year. The Dissertation Houses and the support that you and Dr. Carter provide keep me going.

  231. PhDWannabe says:

    Guess who just set their defense date? Margaret D did!!! April 26th it is!

    • Awesommmmme! Go Margaret D in the place to be!

    • evesdawn says:

      Pew Pew Pew!! Goooooo Margaret!! I’ll be there (w/OUT mass spec questions 😉 )

      • drwestmoreland says:

        Greeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeat! I know the feeling!!!!

        • Carlos says:

          Well….The only date available for me was April 4t and 27th….
          I can not believe it!!!
          My Mentor actually told me “if you want a meeting on April 4th…it will be just a meeting, but if you want to defend, then do it on the 27th…”.:
          Now I am worried…..

    • Hello All,

      Nice to see all of you using the blog and making progress. Alexis and Nikki what is the count? Today is Feb 1, 2012. As we come down to the wire many of you will have to reread chapter 1 to writing your last chapter (conclusions, future recommendations, limitation and or policy implications). These suggestions are directed to all of you and Maya. Maya you might consider moving on from chapter 1 and come back to it later. Now that you have at least read Chapter 1 that should give you some insight about the last chapter of your dissertation.

      In your conclusion, did you do what you said you would do in Chapter 1? Did you get the results you expected based on the problem in Chapter 1 or the literature in Chapter 2? If not why not? Based on the research problem described in chapter 1 how did you provide a possible solution to the problem? What is still left unresolved? By now if you writing your conclusion you might have to slightly revise chapter 1 and or the methods chapter.

      Good Luck all and keep up the good work.

  232. I just saw that Natasha was able to confirm the rooms for UMBC:

    Sat. Feb. 4, 8:30 AM – 8:00 PM
    Sun. Feb. 5, 12 noon – 8:00 PM
    Sat. Feb. 11, 8:30 AM – 8:00 PM
    Sun. Feb. 12, 12 noon – 8:00 PM

    Nikki, the “blog” idea can be attributed to Dr. Carter-Veale. She was doing online challenges with her TA-DA group before we officially started the Dissertation House. Thanks to you and Alexis for “moving in” and really making “this place” like “home.” But it’s only temporary, because you’re getting kicked out of “the house” after you graduate. 🙂

  233. NEW POST on the front page of the DH website:
    “Alumni” of the Dissertation House, working feverishly to finish — February 2012 weekend sessions

    Kudos to Natasha for working out the logistics. Room reservation is sponsored by UMBC and PROMISE.

    • Susan M. says:

      Thank you soooooo much for the room reservations. I was there from 9:30am (a miracle for me on a Saturday) until 8:00pm. I took one hour for lunch and a half-hour break. I got an incredible amount of work done. More importantly, I left knowing that I can make my March 16th deadline (dissertation to committee).

  234. Susan M. says:

    Boy, I don’t blog for a couple of days and I have a million entries to read! Everyone’s so pumped!

    I’ve had to take care of getting the classes that I teach up and running. I’m slowly getting back to writing. I’m going to try to summarize some data tonight.

    And I just received news that my short paper on my pilot study was accepted for the International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE) 2012! Oh, did I mention that the conference location is Zurich, Switzerland, in June?! BTW, if you have any funding for me for the trip, let me know! 😉

  235. Patti O PhD(c) says:

    Congrats, Susan!!! We definitely have to take a coffee break. I will see you here this weekend, so maybe we can do it then.

  236. Patti O PhD(c) says:

    By the way — folks who are planning on walking in May — you need to submit your Application for Diploma for Doctoral Degree by February 10th. It needs the signature of your graduate program director so get it in!

    Signing out #TeamGetItDone

  237. Carlos says:

    SCJVC – Insanity Countdown: -47d 22h 43m

    It is real!!!!!

    Before was just a dream, that become a delusion…but now is reality!!!!

    The day…. today was just different.

    Get kids ready for school, get to work (We got our new/first MR scanner delivered), the go to UMBC to hunt down one of the committee members and after looking for parking (24 minutes) I end up walking almost from the Wilkens Avenue to the biology department. I was planning to surprise the MargaretS at Starbucks but I thought to myself….Umhhh They will not be was already 10:15 am…(it seems I was wrong. So I skipped Starbucks and went and found the victim and got her down with dates..She is extremely supportive for me to finish NOW!!!…. Then exercised back to my car (wilkens av.), go back to work and wait for my advisor/boss. I was able to meet her around 4 pm, in the meantime I was working. I showed her the two dates ( April 4th and 27th) then basically she actually told me to choose the 27 if I wanted to defend…..
    …………………………………I really couldn’t understand…….
    first I was afraid…………………………………….. then I was petrified…………… ……………………………………………..Kept thinking I could never finish without DH by my side…..
    but I spent so many nights thinking how I was writing slow ………I grew strong…………………………………. I learned how to carry on ….and with my DH buddies…… . I will survive ………………………………
    ……………I will graduate..:)

    But really… I’m still in shock!!!!

    Now I really have to sit, think and laydown the next 47 days..Starting with the First Slide of the big picture and what’s my contribution. and most important KISS ( Just in case you .. Adriana -lovely wife- are reading this, KISS stands for Keep It Simple Stupid) SO the plan tomorrow starting at 2 pm at the UMBC library is to have the whole KISS plot.

    Really gets real when you get the date…

    Dr. Carter, Dr. Tull, oohh Natasha, and my DH buddies especially, Dr. Pink Energizer Rabbit (This is already written in our book of the life – Basic quantic partial nano-physical chemistry-

  238. Maya M says:

    This blog is better than coffee! Inspiration trumps caffeine any day. I was up at 4:45 this morning (which is almost unheard of for me), but it was made possible because I fell asleep a little after 10pm while putting the munchkin to bed, and I feel pretty good. Everyone else in the house is sleep which is prime time for working.

    Carlos, I totally feel you on the scheduling madness. I pretty much have two options at this point for my defense: April 18th or April 26th. My outside member will be in DC on March 16th, but I think I would go “insane-er” if I tried to make that date. My advisor probably won’t go for it either.

    Yesterday was not as fruitful for the dissertation as I had hoped, but I still made it to the gym, to seminar (which was directly applicable to my topic). I also made it to Bible study and got my mid-week dose of the gospel, which is helping me to further tune out other distractions. So, I’m pleased with that!

    I’m still working on Chapter 1 edits. I need to enforce a time limit. Let’s see what I can get done by 6am!

    • Maya M says:

      Progress is a slow process, but it’s happening! I’ll check back in at 6:30.

      • Maya M says:

        Still going…but I’m starting to fade.

        • drwestmoreland says:

          We LOVE the BLOG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂 I am so glad that more people are on here, even though me and Alexis had basically moved in already the more the merrier! I don’t think people ever say “stop encouraging me” , LOL, it feels great!!!

    • Hello Maya
      Glad to see you posting and joining us here on the blog. Sleep is a luxury when you are writing a dissertation. Nonetheless it is not something that we cannot do without. Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be DONE.
      We are behind you 100%

  239. -54 Days, 0 Hours, 20 Minutes – Wow, I wish I had checked back in as I tried to force myself to work overnight rather than going to bed and getting refreshed. I still have a couple things to finish and copy for my lab presentation before going off to my full assistantship day…. Maya, I know how you feel – I’m definitely fading and I have a long way to go. Carlos, you cracked me up when the lyrics kicked in.

    Ok, goal, finish and print presentation without being late to work…

  240. Morning everyone! Thanks, Carlos, for the new date for the Application for Diploma… Graduate School what is up with moving up the date? Glad I posted that. I will let folks in my department know. Maya, great to see you up so early. I am happy to have gotten to work for three days in a row before 8am. Can’t believe it?!?! Anyway, let’s talk goals for today:

    1. Set a date – all this talk about dates is making me want one and my advisor yesterday said I could email the committee. Can you believe I have been asking him for permission to do this since December… Finally got the OK.
    2. Set up conference call with collaborators at JHU to acquire my final data set.
    3. Conference call with collaborators at Wheaton College at 2pm.
    4. Complete Chapter 5 edits.
    5. Find implementation of Dynamic Time Warping and read about that.
    6. Pay bills! It’s that time to feel very poor again.

    Two things I have done today to make me more effective:
    1) Write my goals on the white board by my desk so that as soon as I finish with something, I can move to something else.
    2) Changed the default home page on my web browser to so that I don’t get distracted by all the news.

    Have a productive day everyone!

    • Maya M says:

      Patti, your comment about changing the default page is so on point. I tried doing this last night (but Safari isn’t showing me how to do it)– I considered wikipedia or the medical school website as the home page. 🙂

  241. Maya M says:

    OK, back up and at it. Just checked in with my accountability partner Jenny (another DH alum), and we shared our goals for today, tomorrow and the weekend.

    This is part of her email to me:
    “What are your dissertation plans?!

    Good luck. You can do it..just jump into the details, they are not as scary as they seem.”

    I raise my water bottle this morning as a toast: here’s to your productivity!

  242. drwestmoreland says:

    40 Days of PURPOSE!

    Today I will meet with my advisor and talk about my chapter 3 and some preliminary ideas for the analysis that we want to show in chapter 4. I would also like to spend some time working on my job talk and I need to send some info over to the school that I am interviewing with. My sister is mailing my graduation annoucements this weekend so now it’s like…..WOW……I am really walking in faith and knowing that this is what God has for me.

    I raise my cranberry juice mixed with san pellogrino sparkling water sprintzer today! I have to lay off the coffee, it is just not healthy! Dr. Tull got me addicted to this sparkling water and now I buy it in cases at Costco…no really I do like late night runs to get some sparkling water and cinnamon toast crunch.


    • drwestmoreland says:

      Just got out of a 5 hour meeting with my advisor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I really just want to crawl under my desk and go to sleep but I will not.

      Here is the rest of my day:

      3-330 break
      330-430 split Ch4 from Ch3
      430-530 ch5 analysis outline
      530-630 work on presentation slides
      630-7 e-mail and wrap-up
      7 dinner
      8 home
      10 sleep

      I am tired but I will press on in Jesus name!!! 🙂

  243. Carlos says:

    Ok..People Lets do this!!!!

    If you don’t do it now with so many people working toward a very motivated way…….well………….. you will still have do it………….

    …Let’s do it today …
    ……Give everything today….
    …………For all we know we might not get tomorrow
    …………………..Let’s do it today …

    and remember………………KISS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Right Now at the UMBC library…..Next 60 minutes: Check e-mails from work and work in my wife CV.

  244. Susan M. says:

    Reserved a room for my defense on April 6th! So close, yet so far! I need to stop freaking about one of the classes that I’m teaching — a lot of new technology that I have to learn and the class is also in conjunction with a local software company. Tasks today:
    – Get ready for CMSC 202 lecture (one hour tops)
    – Check on Eng Building labs software, 2 e-mails, type up minutes to committee meeting & e-mail
    – E-mail my advisor to please begin reading the draft of my first 3 chapters
    – Continue working on writing up the Data Collection section of my dissertation
    – Go to bed by 10:00pm

    Love the song, Carlos!

    • Carlos says:

      That’s Great.!!!! are on track..I’m still impressed with your focus last Saturday.
      I will be there this Saturday and Sunday (Saturday I can be only from 8:30 to 2:30 pm)…My wife big birthday celebration (by her friends!!! very nice of them) I will just contribute with my presence…What else could be needed for a party to get started?? 🙂

      Ha….. Do I have to reserve a room??? Sheraton…I guess……
      I will find out about that…Thanks Susan.

      Next 60 minutes:…….
      1. Big Picture….
      2. What’s the GAP./Problem
      3. What’s My Contribution
      4. How my contribution is unique

      People….Common wake up!!!!!Get Insane and Let’s finish This NOW!!!!!!

  245. Maya M says:

    The last hour was productive in a way I didn’t expect (read: Chapter 1 did not move forward). However, I did print the Spring 2012 Graduation deadlines and emailed 4 of my committee members to inquire about their (un)availability for March and April, as well specific dates that my chair and co-chair are both available. I have a good handle on 2 of their travel schedules for March and April. Right now, tentative dates are March 16th (INSANE IN THE MEMBRANE), the afternoon of April 18th and the morning of April 26th.

    I’ll check back in at 2:55 before I head to my meeting with my advisor. Updated research questions and aims will be incorporated, if nothing else.

    Back into the dungeon of my office I go, with Itzhak Perlman keeping me calm. Jesus, be a fence…

  246. Carlos says:

    Ohhh….Finally….Margaret is here!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Now …I can go to the bathroom……I didn’t want to pack everything to just go the Bath room. (Actually I already went…by maybe I am given to much information).
    In the 15 minute period given by Margaret..I was supposed to have lunch, Track down the Graduate assistant in charge of room reservation and Quick talk to one of the Committee members…………..
    DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! except for the lunch part.. I guess I will eat again in the near future

  247. Maya M says:

    The meeting I just had with my advisor went well. I have my work cut out for me for the next 4-5 days so I can get the analysis for the 2nd specific aim up and running first thing next week.

    It looks like we’re aiming for April 26th at 9am for a defense. It is held on my committee members’ calendars. I echo all of your previous sentiments….this thing just got realer than real-deal-Holyfield.

    To do this evening:
    1. Eat lunch (finally)
    2. Add hypotheses to Chapter 1
    3. Cut and paste remaining paragraphs into Chapter 1
    4. Make bullet points for discussion/conclusion chapter based on discussion with advisor and Dr. CV’s recent post
    5. Cut and paste sections into Chapter 2
    6. Dump JAGS manuscript into Chapter 4

    Looks like a lot, but it’s not that bad (that’s what I keep telling myself, at least).

    This thing shall be done!!!

    P.S.: Film Scores Radio on Pandora is the bomb!!! It’ll have you feeling like you can FLY!

    • Maya M says:

      Several bullet points for discussion chapter (Ch. 6) made.

      I thought I would catch my 3rd second wind of the day, but it’s just not happening. I need to go home.

  248. Carlos says:

    OK…I’m back

    I’m so tired…but not hungry..(that’s one of the advantages of being seated next to the Pink Energizer Rabbit….I got carrots!!!

    Last 45 minutes just completely distracted…Called Home to find out how Adriana, Daniel and Gabriel were doing without me…….They sounded extremely happy!!! Well that’s good.

    Now after a couple of Carrots….. to focus again!!


  249. Patti O PhD(c) says:

    I am in my lab working… and putting off doing Chapter 5…. All the comments have been very motivating… Gotta finish this chapter before I go home…

    • Carlos says:

      We are still here!!!
      UMBC Library….They close at midnight..but there is a 24hour section…So No excuses of going home before finishing!!!!!!
      Let’s Do this……NOW….. is like having an injection….is less painful faster than slowwww!!
      Your Choice!!
      Pa’ Lante Su merce

      • Carlos says:

        room 455…there are two places available

        I’m Hungry, frustrated, tired and sleepy and I have to write…….frustrated because I just see how Margaret types in 30 seconds, what it takes me 10 minutes!!! She is even faster texting LOL!!!!…… but seriously…….. this is sad

        Ok…..I was blocked in writing..but putting this down actually is helping!!!!!
        If you stop by the library room 455…. a piece of bread will be AWESOME !!! (actually two)

        At least you will feeding the hungry!!! 🙂

        But “I’m not moving until I finish this or get kicked out”…This the actual phrase Margaret told me when I was thinking on leaving around 5 pm.

  250. Patti O PhD(c) says:

    I have finished the majority of my goals and accomplished some things I never dreamed of… heading home to take care of sick husband. I did finish Chapter 5!!! I just printed it to read it first thing in the morning to see if it makes any sense since I am way tired tonight and everything is beginning to sound good. Thanks for all the motivation today!!! I am loving this blog, especially since I changed my home page and have no idea what is happenning in the world. My world is filled with dissertation news!!! I will join you this weekend wherever… gotta get this done!

    signing off #TeamGETit DONE

  251. Carlos says:

    Still Here…..Still Hungry…Still tired….Still Writing!!!!!!!! WOW!!! YAYAYAYYAYYYYYYYYYY!!!!

  252. Susan M. says:

    I’m still here, Carlos! I just don’t get to blog as much now that I have to teach. And being the first week of school, EVERYONE wants an appointment/meeting for something. I finished all of the little things on my list for the day, but not the last and most important one — keep writing the Data Collection section of my dissertation. And I’m TIRED!

    I meet with my advisor tomorrow at 4:00. Maybe I can get something written tomorrow after that. Go to Panera Bread afterwards and write rather than going home (this works well for me). Although I have a 9:00am meeting on Friday, so I want to get to bed by 10:00 tomorrow night. Not enough hours. I got home at 6:00 tonight. Ate a quick dinner and watched an episode of Battlestar Gallactica with my husband — I just needed a break. Now I only have 1.5 hours until my planned bedtime! Well, I’ll try to get *something* done.

    • Carlos says:

      Excellent!!!!!!!!!!! Keep it up! !!!!
      Don’t mention food ..pleaseeee 🙂
      Still here…..UMBC library 455…………Until we finish……

  253. Carlos says:

    Gracias!!! SCJVC….

    Ok!!!!! Time to pack and go directly home to ……….eat!!!!

    Yes we are doing this!!!!!No excuses…Just KISS!!!!! and Get it Done!!!!! even if you need to get insane!!

    Thanks Margaret!!!


  254. Carlos says:

    Ok!!! I me again

    Spectacular day…..Re-writed the Big Picture so is clear ….at least to me…

    Tomorrow focus on the specific hypothesis/questions how they fit into the big picture in terms of null and alternative hypothesis, then what’s the valid statistical way to obtain the evidence to reject the null hypothesis and what is the efficient, effective and efficacious, but still elegant enough (figures/tables) to show it… the end…. I will putting them in a dissertation that maybe two people will read completely. so KISS

    Then put the “minimum list of things to do”, trying to break them down as much as possible..So I can use brief periods of time to keep at it.

    I need to wake early tomorrow, so I will go to sleep..
    I guess that Margaret D. is still up…so Good Luck tonight!!!!!

  255. drwestmoreland says:

    Day 39….

    Lots of work to do:
    1. Edit Chapter 3
    2. Edit Chapter 4
    3. Meet with my advisor at 10am
    4. Work on more edits
    5. Meet with my advisor at 1pm
    6. Work on more edits
    7. Somewhere today I will work on my job talk slides
    8. Breathe

    Let’s goooo!



    • Carlos says:

      SCJVC – Insanity Countdown: -46d 14h 57m

      Great Nikki!!

      Next 2 hours….
      – Get the kids ready
      – Get to the office-phone calls/e-mails
      – Reserve the room for defense
      – Re-assess situation and blog plan

      Let’s go!!! and Keep breathing!! Go..Nikki Go!!!!

      • drwestmoreland says:

        Thanks Carlos! Deep Breaths!!! 🙂
        I just met with my advisor and now I am going to write a quick abstract and then work on my job slides…..Let’s Go!!!

  256. I need to know what SCJVC means. Please educate.

    I up early again for day 34. Fourth day in a row that I am the first in the lab. Makes me more motivated when I do that.

    Anyway, my goals for the day are:
    1. Review edits for Chapter 5 and hand to advisor for final edits
    2. Secure defense date. Looks like it will be either March 29th or April 10th.
    3. Secure conference call date with JHU folks for the acquiring the date… aiming for Feb 6th
    4. Send first set of medical data to folks at Wheaton
    5. Secure meeting time for CREU students
    6. Rewrite implementation for Stacked BoP using hash maps
    7. Find DTW implementation or read about DTW
    8. See about getting the 3000 high frequency data set from MIMIC II
    9. Pay bills
    10. Zumba

    Let’s get it done!!!

  257. Maya M says:

    Hello….Good Morning. *in my Diddy voice*

    I got a good night’s sleep which really helped. I sent the munchkin off to daycare a little while ago, and I’m ready to rock and roll. I just checked in with my accountability partner and gave her the rundown of what was accomplished yesterday.

    The discussion I had with my advisor yesterday was really helpful.

    Today is peppered with personal appointments, so I have to do small tasks that can be accomplished in waiting rooms.

    This morning, I will be updating my literature review:
    -Read and edit chapter 2
    -Lit search on NF-kappaB and aging for Chapter 6
    -Lit search on anti-inflammatory drugs and outcomes in older adults for Chapter 6

    The broad to-do list for the remainder Thursday-Sunday:
    1. Add hypotheses to Chapter 1
    2. Cut and paste remaining paragraphs into Chapter 1
    3. Cut and paste sections into Chapter 2
    4. Edit Chapter 3
    5. Dump JAGS manuscript into Chapter 4
    6. Begin making notes for introduction to 2nd manuscript for Chapter 5

    #TeamGetItDone – Yes We Can!!!

  258. Susan M. says:

    I actually got about 2 hours more work in last night after I had blogged that I thought I wouldn’t have the motivation to do it! It wasn’t what was on my “to-do” list for yesterday, but it was still something that needed to be done to get me closer to finishing my dissertation (took Dr. Carter’s advise!)

    Today/tonight, I’m going to write up more of my case study data collection section. I don’t want to promise myself more than that because things keep taking longer than I think. I also need to be in bed by 10:00pm because I have one last interview to do tomorrow morning at 9:00am (early for me).

    Have a good, productive, and HEALTHY day!

  259. drwestmoreland says:

    Day 39 is over…I met my goals, which exhausted me. I had coffee, which gave me the shakes. I had to ignore some things/people but I got it done. I’m going to bible study because I need me some Jesus. Amen.



  260. Hey #TeamGetItDoneAnyhow! You guys are fantastic – I love seeing all your posts, no matter where you are or what you think you haven’t accomplished (if that even applies), you’re so much closer than it sometimes feels.

    -52 Days, 14 Hours, 20 Minutes – Yesterday was a little crazy. I got my lab presentation of my statistics outcomes so far ready and copied, went to a full day at my assistantship, then back to my lab meeting, all after almost no sleep the night before. The meeting went really well: I got good questions and feedback from my advisor and labmates, and wrote down questions to ask my stats committee member during our meeting scheduled for tomorrow (I need to remember to ask him about his April schedule). I got back to my desk after the meeting, determined to stay awake and record my reflections, and fell asleep almost immediately after eating my dinner…

    I decided to cut my losses (which I should have done the night before) and get a good night’s sleep, and ended up falling asleep with my light on and overleeping this morning. I got to work by 9 and just got back for about an hour of reflecting before a meeting at 7pm.

    SO, I will type up my notes for tomorrow and then leave. Tomorrow I will restart my early schedule, so I hope you call me out if you don’t see a post at least by 9am. 🙂


    • -52 Days, 13 Hours, 18 Minutes – headed out and late! Got my reflection notes all typed up, need some organization before tomorrow. I have to remember to create my agenda for the meeting! Have a good night.

  261. Hello all,

    It looks like it will be a busy weekend: there are now 3 days of DH at UMBC, Fri – Sunday, this weekend! I hope that this motivates everyone, from where ever you’re working, to plan to get something done this weekend.

    I would like to propose a “break” on Friday evening … some of you need to rest (sleep!), and some need some time with family or friends, take a stroll, or just some alone time to chill. Consider working tomorrow until 6 PM, then take a Friday evening break. Go to bed in time to be up and at your computer by 8:30 AM on Saturday morning. Do the same thing on Saturday night. After 8 PM, take a break. Sleep, go out to dinner see a movie. On Sunday, enjoy your worship activities, see your families, eat a good brunch, then come back to join us at some point between 12 noon and 2 PM if possible. Honor your respective sabbaths, but make a plan to both rest and work. In my faith, I’m reminded that even God rested, and we’re only human. We have great capacity, but remember what we said in the last DH a few weeks ago, the non-stop process is not sustainable for the long term, so you have to take breaks. Schedule them appropriately, be true to your schedules, and come back to the process rejuvenated. While you’re working this weekend, take breaks to eat, get some air, get some sun, and move around. Today is Thursday, so think about your weekend schedules tonight. Are you ready? You are #TeamGetItDone!

  262. Nohemi Voglozin says:

    I will be there Friday and Saturday!

  263. PhDWannabe says:

    Checking in to Commons 328! 🙂 Been here for about 15 mins now, but finally remembered to check in…expecting the arrival of Carlos soon, who needed a swift kick to get working today 😉

    • Carlos says:

      SCJVC – Insanity Countdown: -45d 13h 10m

      At the commons 328……Forced – Pushed to be here :)…………Thanks Margaret!!!!

      Plan for today:

      1. Did what I couldn’t do yesterday…”specific hypothesis/questions how they fit into the big picture in terms of null and alternative hypothesis, then what’s the valid statistical way to obtain the evidence to reject the null hypothesis and what is the efficient, effective and efficacious, but still elegant enough (figures/tables) to show it… the end…. I will putting them in a dissertation that maybe two people will read completely. so KISS” Needs to be finished today

      2. Mix the music for my wife birthday party (tomorrow)

      Is Maya Matheny the Maya blogging in here???

  264. -51 Days, 23 Hours, 2 Minutes – Hi #TeamGetItDone! I almost forgot to check in, too, and it’s almost time for someone to call me out for not posting by 9am.

    1) Prep for meeting at 10am, finish agenda
    2) Reflections/notes post meeting
    3) Continue to work through my analyses – the plan might change depending on what happens in this meeting, but I have to improve my model fit and run the analyses correctly.

    Great to see folks are already “here” and working! Let’s go #TeamGetItDoneOnFRIDAY!!

  265. Jodian says:

    Hi everyone,

    I have been m.i.a. for a bit, but I was having different hurdles with my project that needed to be resolved. I am happy to say that many of the issues have been resolved (sending up praises to heaven!!!) and if I continue with this same steadfast focus and time management I may be well on my way to writing my first paper pertaining to my thesis before the end of this year.

    I update my powerpoint with my research data daily and I am continuing to work on my methods section in my ongoing word document. I have actually arranged it in terms of i) my research goals, ii) methods and iii) results. My goals are clearly written, my methods is ongoing and I am starting to have GOOD DATA!!!

    After school today I plan to unwind with the hubster and then superbowl on Sunday. But, best believe I do ensure that I get some data analysis and job submissions (my research is computationally based) in between my down time on the weekend.

    Happy writing and working everyone!

  266. Ode to Nikki w/ a “shoutout” to Margaret D in the latest entry on the DH’s website: SLEEP! It’s like “my precious” (~ @drwestmoreland),

  267. Alimatou says:

    Hi everyone,

    I am an alumni of Summer 2011 dissertation house. I decided to join this week end’s session.
    Today I am working on writing down an analysis of precipitation data that was conducted last fall.


  268. evesdawn says:

    Glad to have you here, Alimatou! We’re here with Margaret D. and Carlos, holding down the fort and getting it done (or at least I’m trying to!!) Goals for today:

    Good luck, all!

    Margaret G.

  269. Hello All
    It’s Friday and Superbowl weekend.

    Keep up the good work and keep posting your progress. Use any and all resources that are made available to you. You are not alone in the struggle to finish.

    If you are a football fan now is the time to set a goal so that you can reward yourself by watching the Superbowl without the sense of guilt. You can really enjoy the game if you have put in the hard work beforehand. Since my hubby and I are both from Massachusetts, the New England Patriots is our team. I am not a big football fan but my husband is. Hence…Go Patriots!!!!!

    Enjoy the weekend!

    • drwestmoreland says:

      Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeey Dr. CV! I really miss you!

    • Who needs football???? It’s Dissertation Time! LOL! Just a joke …. and um, it’s the GIANTS my friend! 🙂 I know that you’re from Massachusetts … but goodness! The Patriots? My little nephews have had Giants gear since they were in onesies. (We’re from NJ and my husband’s family is from NY.) But if *I* had a dissertation to write, I’d skip the superbowl. (I’m laughing as I write, knowing good and well that I would work until Sunday at 6PM). Waving … “Hi Dr. Carter-Veale!” 🙂

  270. drwestmoreland says:

    Day 38…

    Today is a one thing at a time kind of day, so first I will finish this funding application for travel support for this summer.


    • drwestmoreland says:

      Okay so I finished my application. Now I will write an abstract for yet another conference paper that is due Monday, well I already wrote it but I need to update the draft and send it to my advisor who actually left the country again today and won’t be back until my defense. I actually prefer her to be gone, I get more focused work done. 🙂

      • drwestmoreland says:

        Okay so that was pretty easy to write that abstract. Now I am going to meet with our “new” undergraduate lab assistant and probably spend an hour getting her set-up including taking a break for lunch.

      • LOL at the preference for gone-ness.. 🙂 Better work that plan, lady. I see you #GettingItDone…

        • drwestmoreland says:

          Okay so lunch was 2 hours……………… #Don’tJudgeMe# I was taking a break like Dr. Tull said and then Alexis sent that article and in the first paragraph it says that Nick takes breaks and NAPS and my name is Nikki so I took a break….LOL. Anyways, I am going to pay some bills now and then see what’s next.

          PS: It’s really NICE outside! Get some vitamin D before sundown.


          • drwestmoreland says:

            I know you are probably wondering why it took me 2 hours to pay my bills, well it didn’t I got side tracked looking for a birthday gift and planning a small surprise birthday celebration. I digress. Back to work. I will now work on my job talk and interview questions for me to ask list.

            • drwestmoreland says:

              Okay. Alright already. My bus is coming in 12 minutes so I’m out! 🙂 I did work on my job takl slides and seriously perfected about 4 of them. My goals is to have 30 and I probably have 10 that I really really like and 14 that I might throw out and start over with.

              Happy Trails until tomorrow. I have church in the morning then I will probably come in the afternoon sometime to spend more time with my job talk.

              It’s FRIDAY!!!!!!!!!!!


              🙂 Nikki 🙂

  271. Carlos says:

    I am not Crazy!!!!!!!

    • LOL. One of the first thing I learned from a grad student at my first orientation (does anyone remember Andre?) was to repeat to myself: “I’m not crazy. They are.” It really helps sometimes.

      Although sometimes I AM crazy. I don’t mind admitting it.

  272. Patti O PhD(c) says:

    Day 32…

    Glad to see everyone is working here today. Carlos, I thought you had to go to work. Glad to see that Margaret convinced you to work on the dissertation, also!!! If anyone is going to watch the Superbowl in a group, can you take my husband with you? He is a huge fan of the Patriots and I would rather work…

    Yesterday I polished up chapter 5 and sent it to my advisors. I am waiting for chapter 3 final revisions before I complete chapter 4 final revisions just in case there is a major problem with chapter 3 from my advisor. I have chapters 1, and 7 which I will do at the end and chapter 6 which I will do once I finish my experiments. I am getting all the minor revisions in.

    Goals for today:
    1. Rewrite implementation of Stacked BoP
    2. Follow up on all the appointments I am waiting on… dissertation date, conference call with JHU date, CREU students meeting time, call with CREU students at Wheaton… lots is in other people’s hands … very frustrating.
    3. Read about Dynamic Time Warping and see how it can be applied as the baseline for my work.
    4. Pay bills
    5. See the last movie in the Harry Potter series with my hubby

  273. -51 Days, 19 Hours, 36 Minutes – It’s good to see everyone posting (Hi, Jodian, the Margarets, Carlos, Alimatou, Nikki, Patti, and we even have Drs. CV and Tull cheering us on! Hi All.). This feels good.

    Dr. Tull’s post reminded me of this blog that Dora forwarded recently. It’s really helpful when thinking about maximizing your productivity with BALANCE:

    My meeting with my stats committee member was very helpful in pointing me in the right direction. I do have some modifications for my next steps, so I’m spending some time to map out what the heck is going on with my analyses. I was supposed to eat during my 11am slot, but my salad is still sitting next to me. Hmm, lunch break, maybe? I like the idea of a nap at lunch, by the way….

    1) Follow-up notes from meeting
    2) Go back to explore the mixture analysis with new recommendations (increasing random starts, running range of classes, constraining loadings and intercepts, etc.)
    3) Review the information regarding recommendations in chapter/manual/article
    4) Decide next steps

    • drwestmoreland says:

      Thanks for the nap and break confirmations!

      • You’re welcome! I need them myself. Actually I HAVE to break for a meeting, but I’ll be back over the weekend.

        I got thru follow-up notes and started working through the mixture analyses. I need to figure out the start values and running several classes, but I did find out that the constraints ARE automatically set when running the mixture ih MPlus (factor means allowed to differ, but other parameters – loadings and intercepts – are held equal)

  274. CARLOS says:

    I am at work…………Boss/advisor called for urgent task….Before that I decided to take my wife (Adriana) out for Lunch.

    – @ work until patient shows….(hopefully) and finish the urgent task.
    – Then finish my Goal for today…In other words…..long day
    – Blog at the end + Planning for tomorrow

    Gosia, Margaret and (I forgot)……….Keep Going at the Commons!!!
    Patty, Alexis Nikki….Keep Going wherever you are!!

  275. CARLOS says:


  276. Happy Friday Everyone,

    It’s been a while. I heard back from IRB and I only have to make one change to get approval for my study. My advisor is out of the country so that should be taken care of by Monday. I can’t wait to start the actual research, it just feels like I’ve been waiting forever to get things going.

    In the meantime, I’m learning how to use ATLAS.ti and working on my document analysis.

  277. Susan M. says:

    Hey, Carlos! You forgot about me! I’m at Panera Bread working on summarizing my data. Been here since about 3:00. I’m only staying an hour more at the most so that I can go home, relax (watch TV with hubby), and get in bed early to be ready for tomorrow. I’m looking forward to being with my comrades in the Commons so that I can get some motivation back. I’m on day 42! I need to get MOVING BIG TIME! Those pesky students! I always say that teaching would be the perfect job if it wasn’t for the students. 😉

    See everyone tomorrow between 9:00 and 10:00.
    — Susan

  278. Patti O phD(c) says:

    I have worked all day on my goals and didn’t really get as much accomplished. Heading out now to see a movie with my husband. Need to give him some attention. I will see you all tomorrow in the AM ready to work!!! I must figure out the implementation I am working on by tomorrow and get some experiments run. Today I was just not so focused. I did set up two of the four important meetings I have to do. Gonna try and get some sleep this evening so I will be more focused tomorrow.

  279. Carlos says:

    Home sweet home……
    Hi Susan……Sorry……just exhausted.
    About tomorrow….I can’t think right now….I’ll eat first….Blog later

  280. Confession: I slept in this morning. It felt SO good. But I finally made my plan for the day, which starts with football practice. Then I’ll get cleaned up and go to the office with my to dos already laid out. At 7 I’ll go to my friend’s birthday fiesta!

    K, see u soon!!

  281. Carlos says:

    SCJVC – Insanity Countdown: -44d 14h 02m

    People of the World….We are at the Commons 329

    Good Morning!!!!

    Plan: Between today and tomorrow:

    – Continue with Yesterday’s plan
    – leave around 1 pm…to finish organization of Adriana’s Birthday Party

  282. Good morning everyone! I was “here” at 8:45 and took some time to read everyone’s comments. It’s Saturday morning and I have Carlos’ version of “I will survive” in my head. (Carlos, I’m going to use that one … I’ll attribute it to you!) If you all ever decide to “record” it, I’ll put it on the PROMISE YouTube channel! BTW, we’re having a PROMISE dinner meeting on Friday, 2/17, 4:30 – 6PM, Public Policy 206. LOTS of food! All are welcome to come!

    This blog is a virtual DH “party”! You all have been fantastically active over the past few days. So who is here? I see Carlos (tell your wife that we said “¡feliz cumpleaños!”). By the way, I love the nicknames … Dr. “Energizer Bunny” is a good one! Go future Dr. Margaret!

    Patti, D is a Giants fan and is REALLY into football. G is a Patriots fan? Really? Assuming that the Giants win, I’ll have to tease him about that next time he comes to an event.

    So good to see so many people back!

    Jodian and Alimatou — welcome back!

    I know that the Margarets are out there — 3 cheers for you

    Susan — great job … congrats on the defense date!

    Nohemi — are you there? Where are you? Welcome back.

    Shauna — I heard that you were coming — great!

    PattiO — counting down, you’re going to make it!

    Carlos — on til 1 then you’ll put on your family man/superman cape … good planning!

    Alexis — glad to see that up and at ’em

    Nikki — I’m saying hi now since I know that you plan to be here in the afternoon.

    Michelle B-H — Congrats on the IRB. I remember in my grad school days being all ready to do research and then being told about the IRB late in the game. I was so upset that no one had told me earlier. I don’t even think that it was in my proposal. I tried so hard to get that thing exempt. It worked, but I wasn’t prepared for the paperwork. I just submitted one for expedited review the other day. Congrats on getting that piece done!

    Maya — If you’re still working on your list, I recommend changing the order:
    5. Dump JAGS manuscript into Chapter 4
    3. Cut and paste sections into Chapter 2
    2. Cut and paste remaining paragraphs into Chapter 1
    1. Add hypotheses to Chapter 1
    4. Edit Chapter 3
    6. Begin making notes for introduction to 2nd manuscript for Chapter 5

    Do all of your “core dumps” first! It’s helps you to see what you have to work with before you add more new content. Remember Lemuel R. from PROMISE@UMB? He used to do this all of the time. He would dump content from papers and powerpoint presentations into his document. It worked. He graduated, finished a postdoc, and is now at the EPA.

    Ok everyone. Perhaps by the time I finish this comment, others will have blogged in. Have a successful day!!

  283. Susan M. says:

    I’m here at the Commons with Hye Sook, Patti O., and Carlos. Got here about 9:30, but admit to searching the campus for tea with Carlos until 10:00. Margaret D. just walked in!

    I’m going to continue to put my data in tables today so that I can do some analysis. I’m going to intertwine that with continuing to write up my data collection procedure. I don’t think I’ll last until 8:00 tonight (maybe 5:00/6:00), but who knows? Also, I want to go get a 20 minute “mall massage” when I leave (I’ve been getting muscle tension headaches from being at the computer so much.

    Everyone have a productive day!
    — Susan

    • Hi Susan, I’m glad that you’re there! Hello Hye Sook, Patti O, Carlos, and Margaret D!

      Susan, you may need to change your seating orientation. Modify your position so that you face a window. Look up and out from the screen at toward the window at least every hour. Truly look at things that are outside of the window. This allows your eye muscles to stretch. It helps when you’re not staring at a laptop screen for hours on end. You should also get up each hour and walk around. Even if you leave the room and walk downstairs to the bookstore and then come back, you will have stretched a bit. Feel free to do some stretches in that hallway. Some side to side movements and toe touches can do wonders. Consider this as a supplement to the massage that you will get later. 🙂

    • Margaret Dabek says:

      You may want to consider using some Bengay and have your hubby rub it in to your neck area! I get a stiff neck freq and this works for me…

  284. Patti O PhD(c) says:

    I dragged all my things to the UMBC Dissertation House. I have to say even though I hated dragging all my things over here this morning, it helps to be in a room that is well lit and where everyone is working on their dissertation and are in as much of a crunch mode as me. Thank you, PROMISE, for providing this support. I know I am fortunate to be at UMBC and have such a wonderful program!

    My advisor will not be able to give me edits for Chapter 3 and Chapter 5 until Monday so today I need to focus on implementation. Today’s goals are going to be simple.

    Goals for today:
    1.Rewrite implementation of Stacked BoP using hash maps
    2.Run Stacked BoP on the hypotension data successfully
    3.Do the minor edits to Chapter 1 like grammar and punctuation
    4.Email about CREU meeting
    5.Pay bills (I have to stop putting this off!)

  285. Margaret Dabek says:

    Today I had a rough start. For starters, the line at starbucks was too long. Then, all of the ramps for 95-S were closed in my surrounding area due to the fire that happened last night on the highway. I had to take a detour, which stressed me out because it was now past 9:30…Then I got pulled over for speeding down this unfamiliar road. LUCKILY, the police officer let me go with a warning for speeding and a tail light that was out…SIGH.
    Then I finally got to DH in the Commons after 10am and saw my buddies- highlight of my day!!! 🙂
    But wait, I had scheduled experiments from 11-12 and 1-3. Sigh. The first one is ALMOST over (at 11:58am) and then I can run back to the Commons…In the meantime, I managed to scan in some data, put 4 samples into vials for HRMS on Monday and set up samples for my afternoon experiments. Oh what a day!

  286. Mari says:

    Hello everyone, You all are great! Congrats on pushing things through. Definitely motivated reading through this blog. I’ve been working today and just got coding through one of my longest student interviews. Hoping to get through at least 2 more today (hopefully before the lib closes) otherwise from another remote location.

  287. -50 Days, 14 Hours, 37 Minutes – Hi Mari, Hi everyone! I’m late getting back but I’m back and gonna make the most of the time I have left. I had so much I needed to do at home but I finally left it, whereas normally I would have gone ahead and done the housekeeping “because it’s the weekend.” I will take some time tomorrow morning to do the rest (but I did finish washing dishes and taking out the trash!).

    On the agenda
    – Organize my results folder – it’s all over the place and I can’t find stuff quickly
    – (I went to look at my agenda and now it’s like 15 mins later and I’ve read Dr. Tull’s “Math is Hard” post. How does this happen??) Mixture analyses with recommendations
    – Practice writing up summary justification for analyses
    – Park downhill and go

    • -50 Days, 12 Hours, 31 Minutes – Folder took longer than expected. Had a bunch of analyses and meeting notes all over the place since last semester, but now all I need is dividers in the folder, which I will get from lab next time. Still need to re-run the mixtures and write, plan for next week.

      A little late getting out, but I’ll feel better being on vacation for the night after doing a little to advance my diskertaytion… G’nite #TeamGetItDoneOnSaturday

  288. Patti O PhD(c) says:

    It took me all day but I got my implementation written. A lot of staring at the code and not being able to figure out what was wrong. Thank you to Carlos and Susan who helped me talk through it and finally get it running. Very productive day. Noehmi, Susan and I are still here! We will be wrapping it up soon.

    Goals for today:
    1.Rewrite implementation of Stacked BoP using hash maps -DONE!
    2.Run Stacked BoP on the hypotension data successfully -ALMOST DONE!
    3.Do the minor edits to Chapter 1 like grammar and punctuation -NOT QUITE DONE!
    4.Email about CREU meeting – DONE!
    5.Pay bills (I have to stop putting this off!) -GOTTA DO TOMORROW!

    Gonna head out now as soon as my results are completed. I will let you know tomorrow how it went… Have a great evening!


  289. Susan M. says:

    I accomplished both of my goals today of getting my data into tables and writing a few pages of my data collection procedure chapter. Good for me!

    Noehmi, Patti, and I have decided that it’s time to quit. I didn’t realize how tired I was until I took a walk down the hall to the restroom. Definitely foggy-headed!

    Going home to watch Battlestar Galactica w/hubby and sleep late tomorrow morning. Don’t know if I’m going to come to UMBC to work or stay home and work tomorrow. Probably stay home. But I WILL get more done tomorrow. Planned activity: keep plugging away at my data collection chapter, maybe start drafting the data analysis portion.

    I’ll be back here next week, hopefully both Friday and Saturday. I’m not one for blogging, but this blog has really helped me. I know that I have friends!
    — Susan

  290. Carlos says:

    SCJVC – Insanity Countdown: -43d 18h 51m

    The day was extremely productive…wrote in the morning…then party until….well it is time to go to sleep. I don’t know when I am going to wake up….or even if I am going to wake up…..but the plan is to finish tomorrow with my goal for the weekend.

    BTW…..Patty is a good dancer….:)

  291. Way to hang in there, folks!! Today is supposed to be a planning day but I feel guilty for not getting as much done yesterday as I planned. However, if I force it, I know I’ll go into the week being a little worn down. Plus I’ve planned to get together with my parents for my birthday today (how nice of the NFL to give me the Superbowl for a birthday present). 🙂

    So I’m up on time to get the “other life duties” accomplished so I can have a clean house for the week! I will also plan out how I want my week to go, particularly with negotiating with faculty on a potential defense date (thanks all of u for motivating me to even talk about this scary concept) and preparing for another stats meeting on Friday.

    Onward, #TeamGetItDoneOnSuperbowlSunday!

  292. Shauna says:

    I’m in the Commons today, excited and ready to work. My goal is to have the dissertation defense-ready by May. I’m in the data analysis phase (yay!) so I’m excited to be creating new variables and running syntax. My goals for today are:
    1) Create and run syntax for exclusion criteria
    2) Remove excluded persons from dataset
    3) Create syntax for all comorbidities variables
    4) Create and run syntax for study variables by RACE and SES
    5) Figure out next steps
    6) Make note of talking points for next advisor meeting

    ***Hi everyone (and happy Super Bowl Sunday)!!!.

  293. Carlos says:

    SCJVC – Insanity Countdown: -43d 09h 41m

    Ok!!!! Super Bowl Sunday!!!
    I’m at the Commons 326?? 7??? Well…..I know that Shauna is here…
    A little bit tired….but the goooooooooodddd tired!!

    Plan today:

    Chapter 2 specific hypothesis/questions & how relates to Big Picture and My contribution in terms of null and alternative hypothesis, then what’s the valid statistical way to obtain the evidence to reject the null hypothesis and what is the efficient, effective and efficacious, but still elegant enough (figures/tables) to show it…..

    REMEMBER Carlos … the end…. I will putting them in a dissertation that maybe two people will read completely. so KISS”

    This is taking me more time than expected but it has helpful a lot. Thanks Dr. Carter and Dr. Tull for the advice!!

  294. Patti PhD(c) says:

    Hi all,
    I am sick today. I think I caught my husband’s cold.

    Carlos, guess what… a lot of your dissertation house buddies can dance… even salsa!!! Some were even semi-professional dancers. We have to have a dance party at the end of all this so that everyone can shove off their moves!

    Anyway, working on getting my implementation running. I really want results today. Hard working from the bed, but I sleep in between runs.

    Happy Superbowl Sunday!! Go Patriots!!!

    Goal for today -Get results… but above all rest. I can’t afford to get really sick right now. I can do laundry and stuff like that.

  295. Hi everyone! HAPPY BIRTHDAY Alexis!!!! So impressed that you even blogged on your birthday! Dedication! Carlos, it sounds like the party was great! I’m sure that your wife had a good time. And yes, I can also attest that Patti can dance. She teaches dance and taught me salsa! BTW, I think that Alexis dances too … Alexis, weren’t you on a salsa dance team? I’ve been thinking about adding a dance portion to the SSI … maybe this year. I’ll take suggestions for a good DJ. At the Sept. PROMISE dinner at UMBC, there were talks of salsa, bachata, merengue, and more.

    Hi Shaunna and Mari! Good to “see” you!!!

    Patti, for the cold, I recommend the following: Get some “Cold Eeze” from your local drug store (or have G get it for you). If you like fruit, try this smoothie:
    1 frozen banana, 1 handful frozen strawberries, 1 cup orange juice (as close to fresh-squeezed as possible). Blend. You can add extra juice is you like it thinner. Key: no sugar, no dairy. Also, continue to step up your intake of vitamin C. If you can get vitamin C with rosehips, it is better because the C is time-released. Take the Cold-Eeze within 30 minutes of any vitamin C-based pills, liquids, or fruit. Cold-Eeze has zinc and you shouldn’t take zinc and vitamin C together because the effect is lost. If there are other vitamin C based fruits available, eat those: kiwi, grapefruit, etc. Limit meat and caffeine. Again, avoid dairy and anything with added sugar. Wash hands with really hot water after everything. Lysol is a decent spray to use for disinfecting common areas. Spray, plus open windows for air. (Also, the laundry can wait until tomorrow, sleep is more important. Give your body a chance to rest.)

    Just a little bit of background on this, my dissertation was on the effects of the common cold on the performance of speaker recognition systems. As a result, I had to test/record people with colds in the lab and measure the formant frequencies of their voices with and without a cold. I had more than 30 volunteers, and since they were all sick, as the investigator, I had to stay well. I stayed in the med library in Chicago for weeks and studied all kinds of strains for the common cold and several viruses. The “remedy” above is a the represents what I did to stay healthy.

    Good luck today everyone. (And go GIANTS!)

    • Well, I guess Dr. Tull is happy today (sorry Patti.. I thought the Pats were gonna win)… 🙂

      Dr. Tull, thank you for your birthday wishes and the advice about staying/getting well. I’m really surprised you were studying colds and never got sick!

      Patti, I hope you feel better soon! Definitely get lots of rest.

      Oh, and Dr. Tull, I would LOVE a dance party. I can’t wait to dance again – it keeps me out too late now…

  296. Susan M. says:

    OK, today hasn’t gone as planned. Yes, I planned to sleep late — I deserved and needed it after yesterday. So, slept until 10:30, but laid in bed until 11:30. Got up, ate some cereal. Sat on the couch with the cat talking to my husband. Uh-oh. Feel asleep until 2:00! Took a shower and went with hubby for some lunch and a stop at Walgreen’s. Finally at my computer at 4:45! At least I’m not a Super Bowl watcher, so I can work a few hours. I’m going to continue to draft (finish?) the data collection section of my dissertation. But I also need to do a few things for the classes I teach this week.

    I also need to plan out my week, when I’m going to work on my dissertation and what I’m going to do. This is day 40 (40 days until it is due to my committee). I’m finding it impossible to plan out all 40 days. So, I’m going to plan what I need to get done each week, and as each week approaches, I’ll plan that week out in detail. Sounds like a good plan.

    Enjoy the Super Bowl everyone! Happy birthday, Alexis!
    — Susan

    • PhDWannabe says:

      I have about 42 days left too, so i feel your pain, Susan!!! I am breaking mine down in 10-day chunks on top of logging in daily…10 days sounds like a lot of time so it calms me down to make small goals…maybe this will work for you too!

      • These are great thoughts about breaking down the time. I’m a horrible time planner (why I’ve been here so long. Well, one reason).

        Thanks for the meta thoughts and thanks for the birthday wishes!

  297. Carlos says:

    OK……….Ready to go home!!!
    Thanks!!! Margaret D. and Shauna who were here at the commons 327

  298. Patti PhD(c) says:

    Day 30…
    I am home sick in bed and my program has been running all day. I was worried that I might have an endless loop so I stopped it and added some timing to see how long it would take to run and I am estimating about 335 days… Way to long… I have to think of a faster way to implement my algorithm. Anyway, I am still sick. Only good part is that I got out of seeing the Superbowl. Gonna hit the sack now. Feeling very tired. Very impressed with the folks that worked at school today. BTW, I did make it to church today. I figured I am going to need all the support I can get.

    • PhDWannabe says:

      Get well soon, Patti!!! It was great seeing you the other day and working together too 🙂 Get better soon so that we can repeat next wknd as well!

      • Susan M. says:

        Patti — You’ve got to take care of yourself. I know the thought of not doing anything today was hard to swallow. But I am a BIG believer in the ill effects of stress on the mind and body.
        As far as the algorithm goes, find someone to help you fast. Wes Griffin might be a good choice. He’s a nice guy and I’m sure would help.
        Feel better! 😉

        • Carlos says:

          Patty…… Get better!!
          Susan……great advice!
          I know is around 2 am….I just woke up …after 10 minutes, I couldn’t go back to sleep so the image of a pink bunny energizer came to my mind….After being energized (Thanks Margaret). I decided to get into the blogg and line up my goals for latter….I didn’t corrected my spelling because I’m not getting my ph.d. in english ggrammar and spelling (quote for Margaret D)..Thanks again,. \….Right now for mr it is more important to learn how to write fastaer. I will be able to edit later. I,m just trying to make the most now that I’m awake.

          During the weekend I didn’t finish what i was suposed to do. Main reason I can think of is that my goals were to general and even i worked mosst of the time on them, I was not feeling the pressure to do it faster. So tomorrow…later tomorrow

          1. Get by 10 am the specific hypothesis for chapter 2, the analysis to answer them and the simplest elegant way to illustrate them.
          2. Blog at 10 am

          Time to sleep again

          • Carlos says:

            Common People!!!
            Blogggggg!! Inspire your self and others!!!
            Let’s finish this!!!!

            – Specific hypothesis for chapter 3, the analysis to answer them and the simplest elegant way to illustrate them
            – E-mail Committee members
            – Finish the application for diploma form
            – Talk to mentor
            – Recruit subjects for work, scheduled them for MRI, get paperwork together for the different studies (No Ph.D. Related)
            – Blog at 1 pm

            • Carlos says:

              Done for:
              -Whole specific hypothesis for chapter 3 (I did also Chapter 4), the analysis to answer them and the simplest elegant way to illustrate them
              -Sent the Whole thing to mentor, talked to her
              -e-mailed committee members
              – not able to get in touch with the program coordinator, I will e-mail the diploma application directly to the Program director for signature and I will pick it up unless he e-mail it to me.

              – continue working on no Ph.D. duties (at any transition write in the pending list)
              – e-mail diploma app to program didrector .
              – wait for mentor feedback
              – blog at 6
              – p90x

              • Carlos says:

                Tired..sleepy………….but I WILL SURVIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                Ok….Work day done (productive)

                Ph.D. wise:

                – Sent the Diploma application form to the program Director to get it signed.

                – Finished the write up of the Big Picture, Specific Aims, Hypothesis, tests, etc. (Sent it to mentor and already got back her feedback)..This is really getting together. Thanks Dr. Carter for the “This is your dissertation” and “be well prepared before talk/write to mentor”

                – Sent a confirmation for date and time of defense.

                8 to 9: Dinner, shower, kids to bed.
                9 to 11: Work on feedback received

                Blog at the end

                See You soon!!!!


                • Carlos says:

                  OK people….already answered to the feedback…Amazing!!!!! usually it would take a month to do it…..I’m becoming INSANE….where is GOSIA??????


                  Wow..I don’t know…I guess wait for the new feedback from my mentor….NOOOOO!!! waiting….

                  – I will work on the table of pendings
                  – Press for the signature in my diploma application
                  – Work no Ph.D. Related

                  See You tomorrow!!!! Get Better!!! Get INSANE!!! JUST GET IT DONE!!!!
                  KISS…..KISS….KISS (how many people will read it?????) Just finish then you get at the papers that more people will read……………….KISS

  299. drwestmoreland says:

    Day 35….

    This weekend was a BUST! I had water leaking into my bathroom from the upstairs toilet that is not even working!!!! So I sat waiting for a plumber saturday that didnt show until Sunday afternoon. That plus church on Saturday and early on Sunday, I was beat. I went to bed early last night so I would not have any reason not to get on it this morning.

    Today I will:
    -Practice interview questions
    -Read some interview tips
    -Correct the tables in my dissertation

    That’s enough before lunch, then I will blog back in.




  300. Patti PhD(c) says:

    I am finally at my desk. I set it up in the kitchen. My head still hurts, but I have only 29 days left to meet my deadline.
    Goals for today
    1. See if there is a more efficient way to run my algorithm
    2. Find out if maybe I should change the parameters for my algorithm to make it more efficient
    3. Do chapter 1 edits
    4. Conference call about the astronomy data set at 2pm
    5. Conference call about the high frequency PDA data set at 4pm
    6. Contact LCP about the high frequency data set in MIMIC II
    7. Pay bills ( I must do this today)
    8. Do laundry

    • Carlos says:

      It has helped sometimes: While doing chores at home or at work…to think in the algorithms and relate them to what I am doing…….in your case I will thinking like:

      the laundry algorithm:
      get the piece of clothes
      pot it in the washer
      add detergent
      add softener..etc

      option 1:If I take one piece at the time, it will take several days doing it.

      option 2: put all clothes together (faster but maybe is too much for the machine)

      option 3: make groups at random (no that faster, but machine will handle)

      option 4:group by colors (more time selecting, machine will handle, but you can modify the algorithm depending on the color)

      option 5: take it to a cheap Laundrymat..has issues, plus some costs

      option 6: take it to an Specialized Laundry place…..Costly but gets done and you learn about other possible option that you can do at home

      Just a thought!

  301. Susan M. says:

    I’m not a morning or beginning-of-the-week person. But this is day 39! I did get a good amount of work done yesterday evening. Have to admit that I stopped to watch the half-time show. I’m not a big Madonna fan, but I have to say she puts on quite a show. Plus she’s 3 years younger than I and look at her!
    – Go over my notes for teaching my 4:00 class
    – Continue drafting my Results chapter (yes, I got to it!)
    – Set my goals for the rest of the week
    – See if I can change my one meeting on Fridays to Thursdays so that I can do the Friday DH group

  302. -48 Days, 12 Hours, 39 Minutes – I didn’t forget to post; I just took forever. 🙂 Thanks for all the thoughts and progress that you posted over the weekend. Thanks for working hard and encouraging me to work hard to #GetDone, too! And thanks for the birthday wishes. I felt so good yesterday – happy vibes were definitely in the air.

    Today I settled in with planning for the week and I read through an article related to my mixture syntax, figuring out how to change the number of random starts, and there’s also stuff in there about class comparisons that I will need. So although it’s more about growth models, it still applies to my finite mixtures.

    Tomorrow I will fix and run the syntax and see what warnings I get.

    Happy Monday, #TeamGetItDone!

  303. Maya M says:

    Hi folks. Happy Monday! I haven’t caught up on the blog comments yet, though I am pretty sure that this weekend’s comments are chock-full of inspiration. I wish I could have joined you all this past weekend at UMBC, but I had a death in the family last week, so I had to take a break this weekend.

    I met with my chair and co-chair on Friday, and it was strongly encouraged that my outside member in St. Louis travels to campus for my defense. So, I am back to the drawing board looking for new dates, and I may not be able to defend in time to graduate this semester, which I was really hoping to do (disappointment). In the grand scheme of things, it’s probably for the best that I pace myself over the next 5 months instead of sprinting for the next 2 months because I am still getting on track with my health and managing doctor’s appointments, not to mention the fact that I had to develop a back-up dissertation analysis plan because of the IRB situation.

    I did some statistics reading this morning and attended seminar this evening, which helped put some things into a more clinical perspective for my project, particular regarding medication management and comorbidities in older adults.

    I need to head home to spend time with the munchkin and write up a to-do list so I can start anew tomorrow.

    Check you all tomorrow!