Michael Karlesky

A cabinet of wonders. Minus the cabinet. And possibly the wonders.

It’s all downhill from here…

Earlier this week New York City had a blizzard. Son of Polar Vortex. The prediction was for up to fourteen inches of snow. I don’t know what the official accumulation ended up at, but we definitely had more than enough to go sledding. One of the people I work with at my lab messaged me with something to the effect of “WE ARE GOING SLEDDING AND YOU SHOULD COME!!” Given that I’m still on break and two saucer sleds had been purchased, it wasn’t hard to convince me. Boy was it ever cold. I wore so many layers. I barely fit on those saucers. We had such a great time. By the way, Mom, thanks for the gift of that hat for Christmas. It’s now good and broken in.

I am my advisor’s first Ph.D. student at our school (she had only taken the director position for my lab a relatively short time before I enrolled). So we have been figuring out the curriculum requirements and policies together as we go. In the process of working through class registration possibilities for the spring semester (to start next week) we suddenly came to understand that I could be, in fact, done with classes if we so chose. And so we chose.

Just like that. I’m done with classes. Technically, I am taking a class this term in the form of an independent study, but it’s only a class in name. It’s really more an excuse to work through some material in a structured way in preparation for my dissertation. Incidentally, it’s the topic I’ve most wanted to do work in since embarking on this graduate education thing—Play Theory. And let me tell you there is some bonkers stuff I get to delve into.

So now I’m transitioning out of coursework and research projects into only research projects. The most important of these projects will be my forthcoming dissertation work. No. I don’t yet know what it will be. But I will soon need to assemble my dissertation committee and a thorough dissertation proposal. These are no small things. And the dissertation itself will be a monstrously significant project of its own with an equally significant amount of work to do in terms of a proper study to be formulated and the equivalent of a book to be written about it all.

It’s difficult to make such an estimate, but I am likely about half done with this doctorate. The persistent stress, juggling multiple subjects, and lack of time due to classes is now over. So long as I can remain motivated, on track, and productive over these next two plus years, it may just be all downhill from here.