A few things have me scratching my head today.
I need to prepare three theses for disputation for my Bonhoeffer seminar. These theses are to be one sentence long (but I am welcome to make them complex academic sentences). I will need to orally defend these theses each in 10 minutes or less. I need to have these prepared by this next Monday, but I’d really like to have them prepared by 5 p.m. today so that tomorrow I can work with my beloved at clearing out what will be the nursery and Monday I can focus my attentions on a big paper due for my Friday class next week. I don’t need to work out the rationale for these theses just yet, I can flesh that out next weekend, no problem, but… I have read the material twice now (chapters six and seven of Bonhoeffer’s Discipleship) and while I am sure I could develop theses for chapters 1-5, or for Part 2 of the book, chapters 8-13, what chapters six and seven offer are commentaries on chapters 5, 6, and 7 of the Gospel of Matthew (the sermon on the mount) and on chapter 10 of the Gospel of Matthew (the sending out of the disciples). He is equally commenting on the Lukan sermon on the plain, and on other parallel material to the Matthean material, but he takes his structure from Matthew. There is nothing in the whole of these chapters that I struggled to understand. It all seems quite straightforward. There is one sentence that sits with me funny, but I can’t, for the life of me, figure out how to build an argument out of that. (The sentence, if you’re curious is “The only required reflection for disciples is to be completely oblivious, completely unreflective in obedience, in discipleship, in love” (150).) Anything that I find particularly interesting about the material just doesn’t seem worthy of debate. It seems overly obvious. How would my opponent argue against it? I have three feeble possible theses drafted, but they all fall into this “blah” category; declarations of the obvious rather than substantive argument.
I e-mailed my prof about this and then went and stopped by his office as he is usually around on Fridays, but… his door was closed, his office was dark. I haven’t a clue when he’ll check his e-mail.
So now I’m sitting in the graduate student lounge, blogging, because I really haven’t a clue what else to do.
So stepping aside from the immediate dilemma, I have a bigger dilemma. I began the semester knowing that I had to diligently work ahead so that I could finish my major assignments by Thanksgiving, but… I haven’t a clue how to complete my required reading each week and other assignments that come up along the way (most of my occasional assignments are done, just these theses and a 12-15 page paper for my Friday class- and then the preparation of arguments against someone else’s theses are left) AND work ahead on my papers. It is taking a good deal of time just to get my weekly reading done. I’m not wasting a lot of time (save for moments like this). I have about five weeks to get three big papers, one smaller (though not so small paper) and two periods of disputation done, meanwhile reading requirements click along all those weeks.
Does anyone have any strategies for me? Five weeks? And… um… the baby is due in seven weeks so there’s not a whole lot of wiggle room.
I’m not freaking out, friends. I’m just stumped. I do not know how to resolve my immediate or slightly longer term dilemmas.