Day 54: Pivot


It has been over two weeks since my last progress post. I was SO enthusiastic about my progress and the direction of my dissertation. I was ENERGIZED! I had plans!

But then I talked to my dissertation chair who read over my ideas and concluded that my dissertation was “not viable.”

The horror.

One of my goals in this The Year to Conquer is to not scrap all the work I have done, and to instead work to refine it. I planned to accomplish this by being the Master of my Attitude. So over the last almost two weeks that is what I have been doing: I am looking at this as an opportunity. I am pivoting!

The feedback (which was very constructive and delivered very respectfully – main reason my chair rocks) was hard to hear. VERY HARD. I will admit I had a pity party that lasted more than an hour. But I decided to take this as an opportunity to go back to the basics and make my idea (and hopefully my contributions) a lot better.

I am making sure I have a clear research question that is interesting. And just as importantly, a question that can power my entire three paper dissertation. Ideally, this research question will continue to help me build my research pipeline beyond the dissertation.

So I now have about three pages detailing who cares about my research question, what we already know, what we do not yet know, and what the point of my studies are. I hope to send this off for more feedback from my chair. Once I have his approval, I will go back to making progress on my dissertation proposal. It may take a week or two or more. But I will get there.

I just have to keep reminding myself that the dissertation is as much about the process as the end. Only by experiencing all the ups and downs of research will I be prepared to face those same challenges when I work on my own.

Also, since it has been some time, I did meet the goals I set out on Day 53:

  • I completed a paper to submit to my main conference,
  • I completed a structured abstract to submit to my secondary conference.
  • A co-author submitted a structured abstract to submit to my secondary conference.

Since these accomplishments no longer are a part of my dissertation, I did not count them as part of my 100 day Challenge.


4 Replies to “Day 54: Pivot”

  1. It’s an incredible relief and great comfort to read about your blog. I haven’t read everything yet, but I know that’s going to take time anyway. I’m ADD and have extreme symptoms from hypothyroidism. Also my son is ADHD. It hasn’t been a great PhD student journey- not at all the way I dreamt it would be. I have been staring at my proposal for many many months now. It hasn’t changed since my qualification exams which seems to have taken all my passion and motivation away. I’m exhausted. But I look for inspiration always because I love what I study, I want to live and experience it. I hope to find something that pushes me forward..Truly thank you for sharing – if anything you’ve at least given me hope


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