There's still the language requirement to deal with, in some hopefully useful way. In my third year I read for exams, theoretically taken at the end of the year -- but in practice, taken by January, so as to be eligible for all the post-exam fellowships. Which means getting my list approved this semester, and the earlier, the better. (It needs to be signed off on by all five members of my committee.) In my fourth year, I write my thesis...but this is, of course, the book I'm working on now, and the further I get on the skeletal draft of it, the more time I'll have to develop and refine and polish it up purty in the third (because even I can't read *all* the time) and fourth years. The ideal schedule would be to actually have something close to a final draft by December of my fourth year -- and the ideal ideal would be to have gotten that accepted for publication by then too, so that when I go to MLA (Modern Language Association Conference) that December, I have something impressive to show, giving me my pick of the job market, and letting me settle comfortably in the Bay Area.
Why yes, we're being wildly optimistic here. Why do you ask?
If I fall behind, I fall behind, and so be it. If I fall behind a full year's worth, then I finish in five, which is perfectly respectable, but involves another year probably in Utah. If I fall behind half a year's worth, then I may wander elsewhere for a while, or start the next book. (I have ideas for both a creative nonfiction book on Sri Lanka and history and identity and such, and for a novel (possibly involving the characters from "Challah".)) Katie (thesis advisor, whose name you'll be undoubtedly hearing more and more in the two years to come) says that you should always be working on the next book too. I think I agree.
Okay, back to work. Revising fellowship application material, ick. But it's due tomorrow, so must simply grit my teeth and bear down...