Husband and I talked last night.  While I can’t say for sure that I will love being a scholar, I can say that it is hard to think like one when I am moving back and forth on a daily basis between the world of scholarly thought and approaches and the world of “solve this problem/fix this report/answer this question” day-to-day business.  I’m in IT, where there actually ARE right and wrong answers to many questions, and until I can get my head out of that realm entirely it is difficult to know if I can get  myself into a more scholarly frame of mind.

Thus for the moment nothing changes.  I go on with my classes and our plan for me to quit in now 5.5 months with the knowledge that not trying to straddle both worlds will make a difference.

However I AM concluding that I need to revisit the dissertation topic idea.  I will use the one I proposed as a learning tool but my guess is that, while I may well do it as a paper somewhere along the line, it won’t be that “defining” project. 

Part of the problem with my alternatives is that I don’t have data for them.  And frankly, I’m a quantitative kind of girl; I don’t want to go out and gather data if I can avoid it and if I go to the effort the methods needed would definitely be more qualitative.  So I am leery of any project that will involve data collection.  But I had an epiphany last night about that. 

There are other data sets out there besides the ones we have access to.

Specifically, there are 1) data sets and 2) money to WORK on those data sets available through government.  In education they collect huge data sets of detailed, longitudinal data sets.  I need to look at those and determine if any ask the questions (or something close to the questions) that I need in order to investigate the role of religion in education.

If not, then I guess my next option would be to do my own survey, but I would rather not.  The thought that there are dissertation grants available if you work with those federal databases makes me think that that is a good idea….

Regardless I am expecting now that graduation will be Spring 2010, not 2009 as I had hoped.  I think I am going to need the time to get my head in the game and reconceptualize a dissertation project that I want to live with for several years, and there will be some transition once I stop working into an academic frame of mind.  I need to not rush it….