Why Dissertations are like Vampires

So my parentals left on Sunday, we had a nice last few days. We walked through the War Memorial Gardens (with some amazing flowers) and then along the river to Chapelizod, the supposed final resting place of the legendary Isolde (or Iseult or however you want to spell it).We had a casual dinner in Chapelizod village and then a leisurely stroll back into Kilmainham, where they were staying. It was a pleasant conclusion to their visit and I’m glad I got to see them.

Also, shoutout to the family with whom I am now living. They are super cool. I’m so glad to be staying here 🙂

Monday was Independence Day in the US and so that happened, I guess, though I’ve never been particularly attached to it as a holiday (gasp! how unpatriotic–my REC senses are tingling!). We went to a little barbecue with some Americans and it was very nice, but the weather was typically Irish–mostly cloudy, fairly windy, spots of rain. After we got back, there was a downpour. So yeah, like I’ve been saying this whole time, sweater weather year round. Anyway.

For the thoughtful section this week, I’d like you to watch this video. It’s a song from a musical, and I apologize in advance for the strong language. But the rest of this post will make zero sense if you don’t watch it.

I’ll wait.


So there you have it, basically. Writing a dissertation is hard, there are so many vampires involved. Pygmy vampires are everywhere, and they’re so distracting. And they make it so easy to just put things off. And just…gah.

And, without getting into my rant about why we have dissertations at all, the ‘establishment’ (if you’ll excuse my use of such a hackneyed word) can be so constraining in their actual production. I mean, standards and formatting stuff I get (as annoying as it can be) because you want to be able to have some sort of base line by which to look at academic research broadly, and also within your field. But at the same time, we’re told that we can’t go too far out of bounds just because no one else has done it. You have to simultaneously say something new and something that someone else has already said. It’s a little ridiculous and, I think, more than a little air freshener vampire.

The vampire of despair, man. That hits me.

The Voice of Reason indeed.

Sometimes, it seems like even opening my computer requires wading through seas of vampires. But I’ve written before that it’s important to do hard things. If that hard thing is just getting out of bed, you gotta get up and exercise for twenty minutes. If that hard thing is leaving the house and speaking to another human being, you gotta go to a French National Day party for at least two hours. If that hard thing is writing a dissertation, you gotta write 1,000 words today.

This post is as much (probably more, actually) to psych myself up than encourage you. But if you’re facing some hard things–be it getting up in the morning or making major life decisions–maybe that song can be your anthem too.

Go forth, then, grab your stake, and get to work. You have a story to tell. Or, in a totally unrelated allusion: you is kind, you is smart, and you is important.

Die, vampire. Die!