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I. Plan for Your Dissertation Journey

Feb 10, 2016 by Carol Ray Philips

To start preparing for your dissertation, engage in the following thought experiment: You've decided to take a two-year trip around the world. Your departure date is six months from now. Your itinerary is wide open. The prospect of the trip is exciting, but overwhelming.

You need to do so much, from making big decisions (which countries will you visit?) to medium ones (how will you travel from one destination to the next?) to smaller ones (which specific sites will you see?) to even more minute ones (what will you pack)? You need to make reservations, get a passport, arrange for visas, and see your doctor for any shots you might need.

As different as a trip around the world and undertaking a dissertation may seem, the two have commonalities. For instance, both the physical journey around the world and the intellectual one are expensive, involve a tremendous investment of time, demand considerable planning on multiple levels, can feel overwhelming, bring both good and bad surprises, and change you. Furthermore, every person handles the experiences differently.

This blog series discusses beginning life as a dissertator and offers strategies to meet the challenges. In other words, this blog series constitutes a travel guide to prepare for your dissertation. As with all travel guides, it's up to you to decide which advice will work for you and how to implement it.

The blog entries in this series will address the changes that you may need to make and the decisions you may need to consider as you transition from doctoral student to dissertator:

  • Transition from Doctoral Student to Dissertator
  • Find the Support You Need
  • Tackle Time
  • Manage Yourself
  • Organize Before You Write
  • Work With Your Chair and Committee

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