The Week In Review: February 1-7, 2016

I skipped the Weeks in Review posts for the last two weeks in January because first, I was slammed finishing up my dissertation and second, we were all slammed here in North Carolina with a major winter storm that resulted in three canceled days of classes (which was good, in the end, since that time was crucial for me in terms of completing edits to my dissertation; see here for more on that subject.) But, now we’re back on track, and so to it…..


3 hours of keyword searches on Melusine

Tania M. Colwell, “Gesture, Emotion, and Humanity : Depictions of Melusine in the Upton House Bearsted Manuscripts.”

Total time spent researching this week: 5 hours


I wrote a new dissertation abstract and turned in my completed dissertation for committee review in advance of the defense, which is scheduled for March 1. The final document is 340 pages and 106, 761 words.

Total time spent writing this week: 6 hours

(But, for clarity and comparison purposes, note that last week I spent 40 hours just in writing, because I was working to meet the deadline…..!)


College Writing I: We read Anne Lamott’s “Shitty First Drafts” as they wrote their first essay drafts for the course, and we held peer review for these early drafts in advance of their completing and submitting a complete first draft to me via email on Friday afternoon. I then spent the weekend reading and commenting on these drafts. Next week they’ll conduct a round of “revision bootcamp” prior to turning in the completed first essay for assessment.

Introduction to Narrative: We began working on “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” considering questions such as whether or not a child can be a hero. We also examined the intertextuality of hero narratives, focusing on the intersections between Harry Potter, King Arthur, Moses, and Christ to discuss cultural reception of the heroic narrative and the ways in which modern Western writers make use of those established narratives to help their readers access their stories through character. We also discussed Rowling’s careful plotting from chapter to chapter and book to book, looking at an example of her plotting spreadsheet in order to interrogate student concerns that we might be reading too much into an author’s work in plotting a book from character, to setting, to theme, to symbol.

Total Hours Spent Teaching, Prepping, Assessing student work, Recording grades this week: 14


I sat GSA office hours and answered email on Monday, and attended a Faculty Senate meeting on Wednesday.

Total Service Hours This Week: 5

Other Scholarly Activity

I had a meeting with my advisor to debrief following the extremely stressful period leading up to the submission of my completed project for review.

My co-editor and I chose and sent notices to assistant editors for the Spring and Fall editions of the journal. I also sent out reminders about our upcoming deadline for submissions to the Spring open issue and answered emails.

I applied for a job and began drafting materials for another one.

Total hours devoted to other sholarly activity this week: 8

Total Time Spent on Scholarly Endeavors This Week: 38

Nurturing My Self

After last week’s crazy drive to the finish line in terms of getting the dissertation completely revised and turned in, I definitely took it much easier this week. I relaxed on both my exercising and workload, doing only the bare minimum of each, got a manicure, and bought a few pairs of shoes as a reward for getting through it all. I also slept pretty much all day on Tuesday, which initially had me feeling guilty (because, all the things I haven’t had time to do while finishing up and now need to get to!) but when I mentioned it to some of my academic friends and colleagues who have already been through this process, they assured me that is a completely normal response to finishing the final draft. Because I was really too drained and mentally fatigued this week to pay attention to anything in print I eschewed reading and instead caught up on a few shows (Supergirl, New Girl, Younger, X-Files) and watched a few episodes of Grimm as well (still soooooooo behiiiiiiiind….) And I was much more diligent in terms of masking and taking care of my skin, which was really feeling dry and rough after the windy cold days last week. It’s amazing how much better you can feel about All The Things after a facemask and a glass of wine!


About Melissa Ridley Elmes

Professor and writer; Unrepentant nerd; chaotic good. Author of Arthurian Things: A Collection of Poems. PhD, MFA. She/hers. Views my own.
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2 Responses to The Week In Review: February 1-7, 2016

  1. I know the feeling of dissertation intensity and applying for jobs all too well! Best of luck on your defense!

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