Finish Your Dissertation

Finish Your Dissertation-87
When you embark on this large, independent project, you may begin to ask yourself questions about your future in academia.

When you embark on this large, independent project, you may begin to ask yourself questions about your future in academia.

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Graduate school pundits often cite 50% or more as the attrition rate for ABD students (those who have completed All the requirements of their programs But the Dissertation). This handout will not only answer this question, but also give you good, practical advice on starting, drafting, and completing your dissertation.

The Writing Center can’t advise you about technical questions (for example, how to force Microsoft Word to set up tables correctly or format page numbers the way you want), but we know people who may be able to! Why don’t doctoral candidates manage to get rolling on the dissertation any sooner, or KEEP rolling once they get started?

Your advisor or colleagues in your department may be able to help you if you have a good relationship with them.

Other graduate students, especially those who are about to finish or have finished, may be particularly helpful.

Partly because the dissertation is a completely new experience that is much larger and more independent than your previous academic work.

To this point, being a graduate student has been, more or less, an extension of your earlier life as a student.The dissertation, on the other hand, is a new kind of academic project, unlike anything else you’ve done.It is the academic project that marks your transition from student to scholar.Many people, in fact, go to graduate school because they have always been “good at school,” and want to continue with something that brings them success and self-confidence.The reading assignments, labs, papers, and tests you have been assigned as a graduate student may not have been so different from your undergraduate course work.You might make a list of all the reasons you want to get the Ph. You might plan out your life’s possible courses for the next 2, 5, 10, or 20 years if you do and if you don’t proceed with the degree.Through all this, ask yourself “What will make me happy? ” If you are too close to your own graduate school anxieties to think critically about them, visit campus resources that can help you sort out your thinking on this difficult and important issue.You may feel like your research interests, your theoretical influences, and your skill as a writer may all be evaluated by this first piece of serious scholarship.Whether any of these points are true or not, you may find yourself questioning your commitment to your chosen profession or topic and unable to begin the dissertation.She is also the owner of Life Essentials, a company that offers life coaching and workshops.She lives in Chicago with her husband and two children.

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