Estimates are that 50% of those who start a doctoral program do not finish and most of those who “stop out” do so at the dissertation writing stage.
Dr. Todd Fiore, Director of Quality for Graduate Studies discusses the “shift” from course work to ABD (all but dissertation).
Why is independent research so hard? Why aren’t students prepared?
There is an expectation that students know what to do, but they don’t. Self-doubt is prevalent because most people have not completed a dissertation/doc project before.
· Realize independent research (that requires many, many, many revisions) is VERY different from typical coursework
· Take time to understand the steps in your program (usually this will be in a Handbook)
· Build a strong network of advisors and peers (because not one person will have all the answers)
· Don’t be afraid to ask questions, especially asking your Chair “what comes next?”
· It will likely take more time than you think it will (so get good at planning your time – see Podcast #7 with Mark Woods (The Myth of Time Management)
· Humble yourself (you will be getting critical feedback)
· Do not REACT when you get critical feedback; welcome the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding and improve your document
· Communicate with your social network that you won’t be as available as you used to be
· Consider creative ways you can take time off work to write
· Find something that sparks joy for you and integrate it into your writing process – for example, create a playlist
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