I took a bit of time off of working and writing to give myself a bit of a mini-vacation for the 4th of July and to celebrate my anniversary with my hubby (8 years of him putting up with me being a student, which I have been the entire time we’ve been dating and married, I realized). And it’s also been so hot that I couldn’t resist “working” from my beach office, and by “working” I mean flipping through an Entertainment Weekly with some friends while working on my still non-existent tan.

But today, I am back in my thankfully air conditioned office and slightly freaking out about my first deadlines which are both coming up in the next two weeks–submitting a short version of my dissertation proposal to the CUFA and AERA conferences. CUFA is the College and Universtity Faculty Assembly for the National Council for Social Studies (a mouthful, I am aware). It’s the research arm of NCSS. I am presenting my work at the large NCSS conference, but I would also like to present my work in this research division to other social studies researchers as well. This is important since I would love to someday be considered part of that group. AERA is the American Educational Research Association conference, which is essentially the mother of any research conference, and it’s the hottest party of the year in ed research.  I have been trying to get accepted to present my work there for the last two years with no luck, however I feel like what I have worked on now is better than my other work, so we’ll see.

The challenging part of preparing your submission to these conferences is that they only accept submissions of 2,000 words or less. That sounds like a lot, but rest assured it is not remotely enough to explain my dissertation study. This blog post is already 300 words and I’ve just explained the conferences! To put it in perspective, I have been working on fixing the version of the dissertation proposal I already wrote and it is 8,500 words. And I have more to ADD! Cutting your work down so much is a serious higher-order thinking exercise– you want it to get at the heart of your work and still be compelling enough for someone to choose it to be presented. At the same time, a lot of it has to go.

I have one week to make the cuts and prepare my submissions, but I am also working on an online course I started teaching on Monday (TE 842: Elementary Reading Assessment and Instruction), my presentation I’m making at a NHA conference at the end of July, work for the research team I’m on, tweaking the One Hen unit, applying for IRB (I’m sure another great blog post for the future) and of course fixing my proposal to resubmit to my committee. My stack of books is also growing:

I made my first trip to the MSU library last week since PhD orientation. (YES, first. Don’t judge.) Once I got past the novelty of staring at the colored lines on the floor directing you to the books you need Alice-in-Wonderland style, I managed to add more to my never-ending reading list. I have a feeling it won’t be my last trip there either.