Thursday, March 25, 2010

Finish Line?

I won't necessarily say I feel like this guy....but today I wrote the last words on the bulk of my dissertation! I finished the major research chapters (all 6 of them) and all I have to WRITE is an introduction and a conclusion. Of course, I have to revise it all, because I'm sure there are some glaring mistakes somewhere in those 97 pages.

That being said, it certainly feels like a large weight off of my shoulders! Somehow, I was able to research something in enough detail that it was deserving of that much writing! There is such a joy in creating something that substantial! I think its a combination of the reward of hard work and the fun of creating something completely new.

Of course, I am a pretty big jerk if I realize I didn't do this alone. I had a great wife who was willing to work hard so we had food on the table and I could spend half a day every day working on this thing. I have wonderful friends and family who keep asking me how I'm doing - one in particular who has been in the same place as me for several years and did all the hard learning for me. Advisors who encouraged me to keep working even though I really wanted a break... What a crazy ride it has been!

I never thought it would go by that fast!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Back on the Wagon

Well, with the strong encouragement of a wife, and the excitement of a new job finally settling down, I am back into my "dissertation chair" (fortunately its a comfy one, since I've spent a lot of time here) and am charging full speed ahead to the conclusion of a dissertation! I think my new goal is to always start the next section before I take a break (even if its just one sentence). I think of it as the writer's equivalent to the"cliffhanger." You know, that moment in a book (usually a good suspense one) where the last sentence of the chapter says something like "But he never would've expected what greeted him as he opened the door into the dark, abandoned missile silo." Or the moment right before the commercial on House when all of the monitors start beeping at the same time (it happens before EVERY commercial, that must be the most exciting hospital in the country!). It just keeps you going until all of the sudden its three in the morning and you haven't even made dinner!

On a different note, I keep thinking about the "cliffhanger" that has been surrounding my life for the past several months - or years - and how grateful I am that I finally got to turn the page into the next chapter. Recognizing that I chose a field of study that is very specific, I have constantly been worried that I would really be able to do something with my education, and that all of the years of stress and worry would be worth it. I have created an innumerable number of "fall-back" plans, and every rejection letter came as another nail in the coffin that was my dream of becoming a conductor. I remember one night several weeks ago being particularly worried about if I would actually have a full-time job next semester, and the Spirit so quietly telling me that "it'll be okay, something great is going to happen in the next few weeks and you'll be amazed at how well you've been blessed."

The more I look into this job, I don't think we could've been more blessed. First off, I HAVE A JOB! I AM A CONDUCTOR! I AM PROFESSOR (soon to be Dr.) MORTENSEN! I never have to worry about whether or not all that education was worth it, because it is! Second, the community is a perfect place to start a family. Since GM closed its factory (sorry to all the workers) the housing market is really depressed (more so, I suppose than the rest of the country???) which makes it a great opportunity for a young couple to get their start! Lastly, without going into details the whole package of the job is incredible, I feel so blessed!

Most importantly, I feel like the faculty that I get to work with are some of the most amazing people that I have met. They are very dedicated to their job, and are determined to making each student successful. As the Dean of the campus (read President) gave me a tour of the campus, she would stop and chat with students, calling them by name, and asking how a specific class or application to one of the UW Universities was coming along. How many students did the President of your college know by name? This is the kind of place I want to work!

I just needed to share that...I have no idea how to apply this to you, maybe just the idea of having faith, knowing what the future will hold, etc, is the best way to go about life, because the future always holds what you need it to hold.... (I tried)

Now on to the laundry....

Friday, March 19, 2010

Reserve the UHaul!

So, the real reason why I couldn't get anything done today (and couldn't tell you about it because it would have jinxed it...) was because I got an email from University of Wisconsin-Rock County saying that they would be following up on my references. I then heard minutes later that they had contacted my advisor at the University of Illinois.

So, with the absolute inability to focus on ANYTHING but when or if I a job offer was coming today. I happily resolved the situation by heading up to BYU and listening to the choirs. (Admittedly, I couldn't even really enjoy rehearsal, but at least I was DOING something).

Around 3pm I chat with Whitney and find out that she is done with work, so I figure I'll go get her and we'll do something to entertain ourselves until the concert last night. When I go down to meet her, one of her coworkers - in response to the email I had received - asked me when I was expecting to hear back.

My phone starts buzzing.

I pull out the phone, and its a Wisconsin area code, and I say "I can't answer it."

After I see that a voicemail is left, I go listen to it.

"Bryson, this is XXX from UW-Rock County. I'm calling to offer you a job! Give me a call back!"

I won't say my response was giddy. I was definitely happy, sooooo glad to have this phase of my life over, but a little bit in a daze about the fact that I had been offered a job and now I was officially a professor. Now that I have had some time to let it settle in and make plans for the next step of my life, I am getting really excited!!

Above is a picture of the Japanese portion of the Rotary Gardens in Janesville. So cool!

I Don't Wanna' Work...

The Carnival Cruise lines song is singing to me (although everytime I hear the melody, I think of The Office...)

The reason it keeps singing to me? I am technically on Spring Break (Thank you, UVU for having one) just got finished with an intense interview process (perhaps I overprepared for the first one?) and am sitting back in my "dissertation" chair trying to get back on track with my dissertation. I have two more chapters - 30 more pages - to write, and it feels like the last 100 feet of a marathon. But I've got to get this thing finished so that I can work on other things. From what I can tell, University of Wisconsin is going to be a summer FULL of prep so that I can keep on track and do what I can do best. (This, of course, is IF I get the job, there will be a much more interesting post when/if I do get a job offer, don't you worry).

Lesson Learned: Momentum is ALWAYS your best friend.

Second Lesson Learned: There are ALWAYS more fun things to do than try to get back to writing your dissertation. For example:

Playing with your new nook (can we say ALL the classics for free? yes we can!)
Looking at things to do in the Rock County, Wisconsin area
Finally doing a recipe from that French Cookbook your wife bought when you were first married.
Looking at housing options in Janesville, WI
Playing games on your computer
Reading into every detail in every email that you get from someone at UW-Rock County.
Sharing those details with friends and seeing what they think.
Watching "Saved by the Bell" (it brings back such good memories)
Posting on your blog!

I need motivation!