Sunday, December 28, 2008

Enjoying My Vacation

I am having such a wonderful vacation just hanging out at home. My husband and I have been playing a joint computer game and I have read two books and am working on a third. I read The Rose of Sebastopol by Katherine McMahon and T is for Trespass by Sue Grafton. The Rose of Sebastopol is a historical romance set during the Crimean war. It was a good book, much more than just a romance novel. T is for Trespass is another Kinsey Millhone mystery. I've read them all now from A to T. Now I'm reading Roman Blood by Steven Saylor. It is a historical mystery set in Rome during 80 B.C. I am on the fourth chapter right now.

The spring semester starts up next week and I admit I am not looking forward to it. This last semester wore me out. Even before next week, I have to start gathering materials to study for the big Entomology/Nematology final, which I have decided I am going to take in the spring semester rather than in the summer.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Finals Are Done!

I'm done! I have stayed up most of the night. I finished my last take-home final and have submitted it. I am done. My semester is over!!! Now I can truly say I have only 3 more semesters to go before I graduate.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Finals in Progress

Well, I am making my way through finals. The CE take-home final has been completed and turned in and I took the HP final this morning. I am working on the CN take-home final. Each word on my progress meter stands for 1 question on the take-home finals and one word is for the HP final. I have to finish the CN final by Thursday 12/18/08 at 2:00 pm.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wordled My Thesis

Instead of studying for finals, I have been playing with my M.S. Thesis. Thanks to Sciencewomen, I went to Wordle a site where you can enter something that you have written and get back a graphical representation of the text. Its great fun! This is my result. Click on the image to view the larger image on Wordle.

Studying for Finals

I like the progress meter so much that I have decided to use it to help me get through finals. I have to complete the following:

1. CE take-home final: 12 questions - done
2. CN take-home final: 17 questions - done
3. HP in class final - done

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Papers Are Done

I have finished all of my papers for this semester! I had a total of 5 papers to write. One of them I finished just before I joined in on InaDWriMo. I had 4 papers to write for InaDWriMo. I did not finish in time to be a winner, but I have met my goals for my classes. I am so glad that I am done with them!!!

Unfortunately, I now have two take-home finals to deal with. I received one of them by email this morning. I also have to start studying for another final. However, I am taking what is left of this evening to just relax.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Deadline Extended

The deadline for the paper got extended. It is now due on Monday, 12/8/08. I am so relieved. I worked on my paper until 4 am and I stopped because I couldn't think anymore. I would have turned in my paper even though it was unfinished and it sucked. Thank goodness the professor saw the light and said he had too many papers to read this weekend so why not turn this one in on Monday.

I should have gone for a Ph.D. instead. In the program that I am in there are too many classes and not enough time to do all of the assignments. Part of the problem is that the classes that we take are geared towards masters or Ph.D. students. So for every class, we have to do at least one paper, sometimes two papers, at least one presentation, usually at least one project, plus the quizzes and exams. When that is multiplied by 4 or 5 classes it can be very challenging to get everything done on time. In addition, we have to work for our assistantships. So at the moment, I am so wishing I had gone for a Ph.D. instead. I have hope that the outcome from getting my degree will make everything that I am going through worth it. So, I just keep telling myself...hold on...3 more semesters to go.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

No Sleep Tonight

Sorry that I haven't posted anything for several days. This has been a very hectic week. I am still working on my last paper which is due tomorrow morning. It has been such a challenge to find time to work on this. During the day I attend classes and when I'm not in class, I have to work. So the only time I have had to work on my paper is at night. I have had 7 hours of sleep over the last two days. Well tonight is the last night I have and somehow I have to finish this thing. I am so tired and I don't think there is enough coffee in this town to keep me awake. I'll let you know how things turn out.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Well, I have spent the entire Thanksgiving holiday working on my papers and I am not quite done. When I joined in on InaDWriMo 2008 I had four papers to write. Three of them have been completed! I have received an extension for the fourth paper and it is now due on December 5. Even though InaDWriMo 2008 is officially over I will keep my progress meter at the top of my blog because I am still writing.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Desert Tortoise and Creosote Bush

I am buried under mounds of journal articles right now, so here is something for you to read. It's a post about creosote bushes on Our Window on Nature. The only time I have ever seen a desert tortoise in the wild, it was under a creosote bush.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Crunch Time

I met with my supervisory committee today. It was decided that due to various funding issues that I will need to graduate in December 2009. I have three semesters left to take all of my remaining courses and internships. In my program of study, we have to take four big finals; three written exams and one oral defense. The written exams are taken on separate days and each one lasts approximately 9 hours. In the summer of 2009, I will take the Entomology/Nematology final and the Plant/Soil Science final. In the fall of 2009, I will take the Plant Pathology final and do my oral defense. This will not be easy, but I have to do it.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Not Enough Time

I am not going to be able to produce good quality papers. There just isn't time. In order to get these papers in on the due dates, I am going to have to produce half ass papers. The two lab reports will be complete, but the two term papers will be shorter than required by the professor. I have lowered the total word goal on my progress meter to reflect that. Back to work!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Still Writing

I'm making progress, but there is a lot to do. The stuff that I am working on is as follows:

1. Student organization meeting agenda for 11/20/08 (never again will I allow myself to be elected president of anything while I am a student) - completed
2. Supervisory committee meeting 11/25/08 - completed
3. Crop Nutrition lab report 3 due 11/26/08 - completed
4. Crop Nutrition lab report 2 due 12/1/08 (not a typo: report 2 is due after report 3) - completed
5. Crop Nutrition paper due date extended to 12/5/08 - completed
6. Crop Ecology paper due 12/1/08 - completed

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Problem

It feels like the obstacles are mounting. I knew it wouldn't be easy in this doctoral program, but I took a risk and here I am. I am in my third year and was beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But the funding for my assistantship has been eliminated. My major professor has scraped enough money together to keep me until the end of the spring semester. He said there is no hope of getting more money in time to keep my assistantship from ending.

The program that I am in does not require a dissertation. We take 90 credits of classes and 30 credits of internships. I do not have a research project that will be interrupted or not funded. I just put in several hours of work every week doing whatever my boss (major professor) wants me to do. I would love to not have to work those hours, but I can't afford to be without a stipend. So, I have already started looking for another assistantship, but everyone that I've talked to so far only has M.S. assistantships to offer. I already have an M.S.; I don't need another one.

So, this is just one obstacle out of several that I am dealing with. Maybe I'll write about the others another time.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Progress is Slow

Progress has been slow today. I have spent too much time on the phone.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Working Hard

It's too bad that MS Word doesn't count the number of words in a graph. I have spent several hours tonight analyzing data and making graphs and my progress meter doesn't show it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

No Time To Sleep

I have added 3000 words to my target. I have two lab reports that are also due; one on Nov. 26 and the other on Dec. 1 (the same day that my two papers are due). They are each expected to have several tables and graphs and be about 10 pages each. I have more or less finished my literature search for one of my papers. There is very little time left. The only time I have to work on all this is at night or on the weekends. I don't know how I will be able to finish everything.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Papers In Progress

Well...only 700 words. In my own defense I will say that I haven't completed my literature search yet. So, during the time that I have had available to work on these papers which I started last night, I am spending my time on the lit search, reading and then writing.

So, I have two papers to write. One is for my crop ecology class and the other is for my crop nutrition class with a minimum of 25 references for each paper and approximately 15 double-spaced pages each. Both are due on December 1. I started both papers, but have done more with the crop ecology paper. My plan for Sunday is to try to finish the literature review for the crop ecology paper, do more lit review for the crop nutrition paper, then read and write.

Garden Plot

The university that I attend has a student agricultural garden. I rented a 20 x 20 plot at the beginning of the semester and today I did my first harvest!!! It's a bit too much for my husband and me. Does anyone want some romaine lettuce?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


My hope for this country has been restored!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Too Much To Do

I have so much to do and I can't concentrate. All I can think about is that today is election day. But, tomorrow I have both an exam and a presentation. I haven't even started on my two papers, so my Writertopia Progress Meter is still at 0 words. Does anyone know whether there is a Stress-O-Meter? I could sure use one.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A Good Way To Start

So, I'll be participating in InaDWriMo 2008 hosted by Brazen Hussy.

Thank you to my friend Makita for introducing this to me. I have two papers to write and hopefully this will help me to get started. Both papers are due on December 1, 2008.

This is also the start of my blog. I've been wanting to have a blog for some time and the Writertopia Progress Meter for my papers seems like a good way to start.