Writing your dissertation is a process. Sometimes the process itself seems impossible, ridiculous, and downright absurd. Think about every superhero you know can’t you say the same thing about them, especially the outfits. Can you imagine being wonder woman and running after a criminal in a tiara and high heel boots. Really?
Writing your dissertation and preparing for a defense might be somewhat similar…staying up late until the wee hours of the night, revising the latest revisions, making sure the margins are just right, updating the Table of Contents several times, looking at the font and the spacing to make sure they have not changed in the current version. What version of the final version are you on?
This entire process is an opportunity to learn more about yourself. Someday you will reflect back on these moments and ask…how did I do that?
You will also find that you will have acquired skills that you can fall back on when you have a big project and when you have a tight deadline. It might never be as crazy as this time right now but you will know that you have a cape and pair of tights stored way back in your closet for those days when you need to be superman or superwoman or should I say wonder woman.
20 Lessons learned from my days of wearing my cape and tights while writing my dissertation:
- No task is too small to be ignored
- Break down a large task into small manageable bite size pieces
- I don’t have to give up television watching –I can work during the commercials
- I can start with what I know best and build confidence from there
- I can write what I know first and leave notes to myself [ research later]
- I don’t have to read every article cover to cover , I can browse for what I am looking for
- I might not be an expert about everything but I do know a lot about this project
- If I am organized, things get easier
- I don’t have to start at the beginning
- I can leave the transitions until the end
- I don’t need to be the best writer, I can hire an editor
- I can ask for help when I need it; it doesn’t mean that I am weak or not smart
- I am smart enough that others ask me for help
- I need to reward myself, no one else will
- I can be tired, exhausted, and almost brain dead and still work on my dissertation [just 15 min a day]
- I can dance without waiting to hear the music
- I can move forward on my dissertation without asking for permission from my advisor; he’ll catch up
- An outline really keeps me focused
- Only 1 person can win the dissertation award and it doesn’t have to be me
- A good dissertation is a done dissertation