Submitting a Topic Proposal: As told by Cartoon Villains.

(You have to have the colon in the title, or it’s not legit)

Writing a dissertation is hard, y’all, but I feel like writing the proposal is way harder.  Once you’ve gotten to the dissertation part, you have all the information, and all the topic stuff out of the way.  But the proposal, step #1, is always the hardest step.

First, you have to pick a topic, and you might have a few thoughts. You could do that thing about the bassoon player, or you could do that dissertation on that Baroque thing you found in that book, or you could do a research project about reeds….

Yes. Yes it freaking is.

You pick one!  You are like, “Yes!  Yes! I love it!”  And then you pitch it to your prof, and she’s like…

I’m still not entirely sure any of them like my dissertation….lol

So you work on it a bit, and you bring it back to her (and your other beloved committee members), and they are minimally satisfied with the topic, though skeptical.

In their defense, there’s like 8 million DMA students at UNT all going through this process, and they are just trying to get us through without a giant implosion……or crying

So then you are off to the Library to gather ALL THE FREAKING BOOKS EVER on your topic….and articles….

Where the heck do I start?

and other dissertations…..or newspaper blurbs…….or interviews…..or toilet paper manifestos….whatever

Then you begin to write the proposal.   Sort of.  Its like a smattering here, a paragraph there.  Maybe some half-assed outlines that get scrapped and re-written.  Then you send them to your prof and she’s all….

But you know, it’s Kathleen Reynolds. So it’s not nearly as mean.

So then you are stuck in limbo, in your lair, covered in papers, crafting this proposal with scissors and glue….

Sometimes, you really wish you could smash it.

Then the first, second, even third deadline comes up, and you are just so done with this thing, you can’t even.  Then the zen of procrastination sets in.

It’s the third week of the month again!? Crap!

You have written so many versions of this thing, you don’t even want to look at it anymore.

Then you are done with the proposal (This is like, step #1 to UNT, and step #172 to you), and you send it to your committee for the first time, and you are like, “MOM LOOK WHAT I DID!”, and they are just like…

You’ve proofread it so many times, you can probably recite it better than you can play the Mozart Bassoon Concerto from memory. Your editor is so tired of your edits of edits of edits.

To be fair, everyone feels like this after reading a paper 18 times an hour for a week.

And then, when you submit it, it goes to a bunch of people who don’t know you or your paper, and they decide whether you can continue through the vortex of dissertationdom.

A week later, they send you an email.  It says one of two things:

Congratulations, you are a winner on the Price is Right!

Well, yeah. Because I’m a genius.

Or you have to do it again.

This is dedicated to all my friends going through this right now.  The struggle is real, folks.


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