Totally not JET related (although it probably added to it a little bit with waiting for my placement) but I need to rant and vent about it and here would be a nice place. Be prepared, it is a little long (that’s what he said).
So let’s start with what happened on Tuesday. As you may know, I am a master’s student finishing up my thesis before I leave for Japan in July. The thesis needs to be completed and to the school by July 11th. It also needs to be defended before then so all the changes are made by July 11th. I have been struggling with this date for a while now because of my committee members. Since it is the summer, many of them will go on vacation. Which is totally fine, I expected that and I am not blaming them in the least bit for my laziness in not finishing my thesis by Spring instead of Summer. Anyway, one of them will be unavailable until the 7th of July (totally fine) but another is going through some stuff and is pulling a major favor for me to be available that week of the 7th (which I am eternally grateful and will continue to be eternally grateful). Oh yeah, and I am leaving for EVO in Las Vegas July 11th. So that was a bitch and a half to figure out but I think we did it.
But that’s not the part that super started sucking. Yeah, I was stressed about that, but there is more to it. One of the committee members will be unavailable in a week. Totally fine again, it is expected to go on vacation. The part that makes it super suck is what happened on Tuesday. I turned in the first draft to be edited and I got the edits on Tuesday. Nothing too bad; just change the methodology by adding the original sources, move some things around to the discussion section, and overall polish it up. I figured I had a couple weeks to do this so no biggie. Ha! Was I wrong. Remember the committee member who will be gone in a week? I need a hard copy into him before he leaves. Not too bad…if I didn’t have to have the polished product done by this weekend… It needs to be done this weekend because my third committee member needs to read it to make sure I made the necessary changes and that it doesn’t suck more. So instead of having two weeks to make the edits and gather the sources I need… I have three days. This is where it’s gonna get worse.
After working diligently on this thing for two days, I run into a wall. I need original sources for a part of the methods section and more sources in another section. Problem is: they are in book form and there is no electronic version available. Keep in mind, I realize this yesterday (Thursday). I tried not to internally panic but I did a little bit. This is my last chance to have a finalized near polished product and if I do not make it…then I do not make the deadline and I have to wait until I come back from Japan to finish it. I am under a major time crunch because of JET and it is my own fault. So I figure I can just go to the university library today and check out the books and just finish those sections using the school computers. No biggie.
Ha! Yeah right! So it’s today, 8am. I do not want to get out of bed because I am too tired after an argument with my boyfriend last night. I am entertaining the idea of staying in Japan for two years instead of one and he did not take too kindly to that idea. So needless to say, I was already feeling down. I get up, throw on some clothes, and head out to go to the university (not looking my best but whatever) at 9am. I arrive to the university library, sit down at a computer, and pull up the books I need. Here is where I hit another wall, but a major major one. We had an earthquake not too long ago that completely messed up half of the library (basically the side with the most books on it). It has still not been cleaned up and accessible to the public. I need seven books…six of those seven were on that side of the library. I’m like, fuck, you can’t be serious. I go to the circulation desk and they said that they can pull the books for me but it will take some time. Understandable, so I request the books to be pulled and leave the library.
Here I am, needing these books to finish the last parts of my thesis and they were on the side that got thrashed by the earthquake. The guy at the circulation desk said that it usually takes about 24 hours to get the books, but it is possible to have them sometime that day. That is what I am banking on. I need those books at least before 3pm today so I can get them, read them, and use them in my thesis. So instead of sitting on my ass and waiting, I figured I should try to find the books elsewhere.
I checked the three local public libraries. Nope.
I checked the local bookstore. Nope.
I thought all was lost until I thought, hey! There is a local community college that might have it. The books I was looking for are mainly research methods books, but there are a couple others that another college might have. So I checked on their online database and sure enough, they had two of them! I drove my ass to the community college but then I realized…
I don’t have a parking permit. It’s okay, I will just buy one.
Cash only… And I am not one to carry cash. I’m like, geez! The university accepts debit cards! Why can’t you?!
At this point, it is about 10:15 in the morning (I have been running around for just an hour…) and I have not eaten anything. I stop by to get a sandwich and ask where I can find an ATM. There was an ATM at the college bookstore and I’m like sweet. I go there and pull out 40 bucks. But wait…parking is only 2 dollars for a whole day and the ATM spit out 20s. It’s okay, I will just break the 20 in the bookstore by buying something.
…Fine, whatever. I will just drive to the local McDonald’s and buy something for a dollar. It sucks because I already had a sandwich and I could have just did a one stop shop had I been thinking but I was in a slight panic over the books that I didn’t care. I just reacted to whatever I could and did what I thought was my only option and not thinking ahead. That soon came to bite me in the ass. So I get something small to get change for my 20 and drive back to the community college. I pay for the $2 day permit and relax for a bit and eat my sandwich in my car. But then it hit me…remember when I just reacted and didn’t think too far ahead? I didn’t check to see if the library was even open. I just assumed it was because the university library was open, but then if the bookstore and admissions and records wasn’t open, then why would the library be open? I called the library to find out the store hours.
Sure enough…the library is closed on Fridays.
At this point, I am not so much on the verge of tears, but more like, what else could possibly go wrong? Of course the library is closed on a Friday. Why else would it be open during the summer? Of course parking is cash only. Why would someone use their card to pay $2? Of course the university library has the books but I can’t get them because of the earthquake. It was a big earthquake and I couldn’t expect it all to be cleaned up in a couple months. Of course the books I desperately need aren’t available in ebook or online in any way. They are pretty old books. Of course my committee members are going on vacation soon. It’s summer after all.
So that was my day and right now, it is noon. This all happened in three hours, all of the driving and frustration. After calming down from the initial “what the fuck?!” moments, I know that I can’t control a lot of things. I have done everything I can in my power and did the best I could with the time and resources that were available to me. And if I do not get this thing done in time, I have no one to blame but myself. Not my committee members, not the libraries, not the internet. Me.
(I will write an update later today about the status of the thesis. My reader understands the predicament I am in.)