Last night, I finally got around to watching Arrival, a movie that, in all respects, I probably should have seen in the theaters. It meets all my standards of approval: a female protagonist, science fiction, and aliens; actors I love, such as Amy Adams and Forest Whitaker. Still, it took me a while to get around to it, and once I stopped crying long enough to form a coherent thought, I couldn’t stop thinking of Slaughterhouse Five and its connections to Arrival.
This post contains EVERY SINGLE SPOILER, so please, if you’ve not seen the film or read the book, stop reading now.
It’s official, albeit a little late – I defended my dissertation In October and passed with flying colors. On December 10th, I donned my funny hat and voluminous green gown and walked across the stage to be hooded by my major professor, Dr. Pat Jones. Pat has been my professor since my Master’s program, and she has seen me through the worst part of my life. It was truly an honor to have her hood me and declare me “Doctor Parke.”
While my journey as a student is over, my journey as a researcher has just begun. While I have committed to remaining in the classroom for the foreseeable future, I plan to continue to research, write, present, and publish. A colleague of mine, Dr. Denmon, and I are beginning a study on our AP Research students, one that I hope will help us and other AP Capstone teachers.
Earlier this week I also received notice that I had won the Illinois Dissertation Award given by the International Congress on Qualitative Inquiry. I am overwhelmed and honored to receive this award, which also included an invitation to submit an article based on my dissertation to a journal. Now I actually have to write it.
As a doctoral student and newly minted Ph.D., rejection comes often and is disheartening every single time. Receiving some recognition that you are not a complete failure in this realm is sometimes all you need to keep on working.
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I really didn’t know what to expect from this book.
When I started reading it, I was sure I was going to slog through it and finish it out of a sense of obligation, but I just could not put it down.
By the end of the novel, I was so emotionally invested in every character. Even characters I hates at the beginning ended up being much fuller, rounder characters than I anticipated. Some people seem to have an issue with the use of slang, but to me, it seems authentic to the narrator of the story and did not detract from the beauty of the novel for me.
I did read Oscar as a little bit of a “nice guy” who whines constantly about not getting laid, but no one in this story is laid out as a hero. I don’t see this as Diaz trying to make Oscar an infallible being.
Also as a side note, I finished this book while giving high schools juniors a midterm exam and cried in front of all of them, so don’t read in public.
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Well, I’ve done it. I’ve officially finished my dissertation, and in less than two weeks, I will be defending it and (hopefully) pass and finish my Ph.D. journey.
But what does that mean? Who I am without my doctoral classes?
That’s something I still need to figure out. However, finishing my dissertation has offered me a new opportunity for writing – a return to fiction.
Since it is almost November, I have joined forces with another teacher at my school to form a NaNoWriMo group for students. My reasoning is slightly selfish – it will also give me an excuse for writing a new novel. I have an idea in my head, and I can not wait to get started.
In the meantime, I have also found time to work on my first novel.
Let the writing commence!
Last night in my Methods class, the students made found poetry out of some novels. The results were fantastic!