11 March 2010

Reading aloud

For that last few days, I've been reading my thesis aloud to Crystal.  This process has been interesting, and has really led me to find a lot a small errors that need to be addressed before I give my full thesis over to my supervisors to review.  I should be finished with that by the early next week.

I've received editing recommendations for my Summary and Conclusions chapter, and have done most of them at this point.  The big struggle that I have now is to find a few good closing sentances.  I'm not expecting my thesis to close with the same feeling as The Great Gatsby, but I really need some thoughts that push the implications of my research, without repeating things that have already been said too much.  I hope I can find these few words quickly.

I also sent in a resume to a company that I hear might have an engineering job available at about that same time that I'm planning to return to the US.  I feel rather nervous doing this.  The last time I was looking for a job was in 2005, and the economy was still doing pretty well.  The outlook isn't that great right now and even engineering jobs are pretty scarce.  The job is really good and I shouldn't have too much trouble living in an area that I like either.  I put a lot of work into both the resume and the cover letter, so hopefully they leave a good a impression and I get a call for an interview.

09 March 2010

Tuesday Meeting: MIA Chapter 8

Meeting with the supervisors today.  I'm still waiting to get chapter 8 (my summary and conclusions) back from them, but I've now received Chapter 7 from everybody.  I'm getting very close to finishing the thesis and have started reviewing the document as a whole myself.  This means I'm getting really close to the end.  Once I have completed my once through, I'll give the thesis as a whole to my supervisors to review.  Following final revision, I'll be ready to get the thesis printed, bound, and submitted.  Getting really excited now.

08 March 2010

Where do the weekends go

Unlike everyone in North America, I've already had to deal with Monday.  Nuts to that.  But the weekend was pretty good.  Besides going to Lush and getting some nice smelling things, I spent some time talking to my parents, and playing some games with Crystal, Chris, and Brandon.  I'm really ready to be finished with my thesis so that I have a bit more leisure time.  Things are getting pretty close.  I'm running around trying to secure permission to use some third-party copyright items.  So of it has been easy, but I'm going to end up writing some letters to take care of the rest.  Hopefully, the rights holders are willing to let me use stuff for free since I'm a poor student and not really publishing my thesis.  I spent the rest of the day entering some data into a spreadsheet and drawing a profile for a stratigraphic section that someone else described.  Then I printed out a copy of my thesis so that I can start checking through it to make sure that everything flows together reasonably well and I don't repeat anything.  I have a meeting with my supervisors tomorrow, and will hopefully get some editing suggestions back so that I can wrap up the last few chapters.

06 March 2010

Weekend wanderings

Though I suppose it wasn't that much of a wandering.  Crystal and I went to Lush and bought some more nice smelling things.  Mostly we needed some more conditioner and decided to pick up some more henna dye for Crystal's hair.  The clerks gave us a sample of what they called  a "foot mask", as in, something like a facial mask, that you use on your feet.  The funny thing is that I recognized three of the ingredients because they are geological: kaolin, pumice, and smectite.  Kinda funny putting dirt and rocks on your feet to make them smell better.
At this point, I need to make some dinner though, so I think I'll cut this a little short.

05 March 2010

What's left to do

I am coming very close to the end of my thesis work.  There are essentially two chapters that are still in the editing process, but both chapters are pretty short.  I'm somewhere between 2 and 4 weeks to finish.  I won't know precisely until I get some more editing recommendations from my supervisors.  I've got suggestions from two of three supervisors on Chapter 7.  Meanwhile, my supervisor had asked me to largely rewrite Chapter 8 from some general comments that they had (it was a bit short, and needed to really be focused on the summary of work and conclusions).  I've got most of the edits recommend for Chapter 7 done and have resubmitted Chapter 8.  I just have a few diagrams to draw for Chapter 7 and I'll be caught up on that until my last supervisor gets back to me on that.

This ending process has been very interesting for me.  I'm finally spending time to reflect on the work that I've done for that last few years.  I find this to be very rewarding.  Understanding what I've found in my research (as well as what I have learned about the process of scientific research) is probably one of the best rewards I could hope from this degree.  Certainly I hope to see some monetary rewards in terms of better wages etc., but I don't feel that is the ultimate goal of the work that I have done for that last four years.

In addition to the thesis work, I have spent some of my free time lately reading Alan Wolfe's The Future of Liberalism.  Wolfe explains in a way that I, as a layman, can understand, the evolution of liberal thinking from such people as John Locke and Immanuel Kant to more modern thinkers and writers.  In all the book is a very good read and balances its presentation of liberal and illiberal philosophies, contrasting them, without demonizing either.  In many ways, Wolfe allows the reader to make his own judgment at each step. The book is a bit long, which means I'm taking a bit of time to work through it, but I'm pretty sure that I will continue to the end.