Well, after a long and somewhat weird Georgia winter, the weather is finally starting to get nice. Seems like we’ve had only two days of sunshine the past two weeks. The beginning of March was horrible as we got six inches of unexpected snow dumped on us, and then the rain came and never seemed to really stop. Today I can finally see the sun…and I hope that I can get back out and pound the pavement again.

But because running has taken such a back seat lately, I figured getting back to a decent point where I feel like I can start running again is going to take some creativity. So, my wife and I are going to not only stick with Jillian Michaels…but we’ve also set up our Dance Dance Revolution again. We did it for about 20 minutes the other night and I was embarrassed at how much of a sweat I had broken due to such “little” work. But I guess it was something.

This is my last semester of coursework..and I’m really happy. Some of the most pressing struggles of my life have occurred in our first two years here, and of course, as my luck would have it, these things coincided with my classes. It’s been hard…especially listening to faculty criticize me (At one point, I would have written constructive criticism there, but they haven’t, save maybe a couple, been very constructive at all). I’m not one to use all of these struggles as a crutch or an excuse, but I should get used to the faculty 1) not caring about my personal life and 2) judging me exclusively on my academic work. I thought that the conferences, book chapters, book reviews, and papers under review might suggest I’m doing a half decent job…I mean, that’s what a professor does…it’s not like I’m going to be taking classes and worrying about stupid grades my entire life…but whatever. I’m not going to let that get me down. I do have people who think I’m doing a great job, and I have several external folks I’ve made connections with that also seem to like the progress I’m making and have a bit of an interest in my work. Maybe this department just takes a hardnosed beat-’em-into-the-ground approach. OK, then.

Bottom line is this: I’ve organized my committee, I have a dissertation topic and data, and a plan to enhance it. All I have to do is finish these next four weeks, study like crazy for comprehensive exams, pass the exams, defend a prospectus, and write and defend a dissertation. I have a plan. I will succeed. I’m tired of being made to feel as if I don’t belong here…but, guess what? I’m here, and I’m not leaving. The only way I leave is with my Ph.D..

However, I must incorporate a plan to improve my health, and I’m going to do it with the same zeal that has pushed me into my plan for finishing my degree.

These are battles I will not lose.