So, I don't actually keep in touch with my dissertation adviser. I mean, I send him the obligatory annual check-in email with updates, but he totally doesn't respond and makes absolutely no effort to maintain a relationship with me. He's never come to a paper I've given when I've given a paper at a place where he's been, and he basically ignores me unless I'm right in front of his face. He was a very good dissertation adviser - don't get me wrong - and without his guidance I surely would not have become the scholar that I am today or gotten a job, but I think I'm finally willing to admit that he has had absolutely no role in my intellectual or scholarly development since 2003. I mean, sure, he has written letters of reference for me when I've requested them - he has not failed to do what he is required to do for me - but that's about the extent of it.
For a long time, I felt like that was a failing on my part. That somehow I had done something wrong or that I didn't build that relationship the way that I should have done. (I think a lot of that had to do with daddy issues being replicated in the dissertation adviser/me relationship - my feelings that I was responsible for the relationship, that if we weren't close - or even in regular contact - that it was because I sucked or didn't fulfill my obligations.) And I also wondered whether I would just disappear into obscurity because I was so cleanly and clearly cut off once my dissertation was defended and filed. I mean, what happens to people whose dissertation advisers forget they exist the moment that they've finished the dissertation? That's a bad thing, right?
You know what? In my case, it has not been a bad thing at all. In fact, I think it's been a great thing. Because you know why? I somehow have ended up with all of these awesome mentors - including people whom I totally admired and thought were rockstars and who I never thought I'd be, like, friends with - who do things like encourage me and recommend that I look at certain books and who do all the mentory things that my dissertation adviser does not do.
I've begun reading a book that I never would have read - or maybe I would, but I don't know how I would have gotten to it given the other sorts of stuff I've been reading - that Eminent Awesome Wonderful Fun Mentor suggested when I saw her at a recent conference. I'm not entirely sure how she knew, after listening to me talk for only 2 minutes about NB, but this book? It is so freaking important to what I'm trying to say! It is like the missing link! And it's not an obvious link - it's a sort of weird connection to make, if that makes sense - but it's exactly the way for me to get from point A to point B in my overall argument - something I hadn't known how I'd manage.
So I just wanted to blurt that out because my world is rocked to the point that I had to stop and take a breath before continuing onward with the book.
1 year ago