Day 62: This is not a Drill

ItBegins

My dissertation committee chair has finally – FINALLY – approved my draft. That means that I will be defending my dissertation proposal on June 15.

I started the 100 day challenge rather naively. I thought that if I just worked hard enough – pushed hard enough – I would be able to make things happen.

But I didn’t.

And not for the lack of trying: I pitched idea after idea. I made revision after revision. For the latest draft, I actually re-wrote the whole thing.

This process just takes time. It takes time to hone in what your theoretical contribution is. It takes time to really understand your setting well enough to design empirical tests. It takes time for other (very busy people who are helping you at their expense) to read your material and provide feedback. It takes time understanding the feedback and choosing what to incorporate. It just takes time.

And while at times I feel like a royal looser for taking so long, I, in fact, am right on time. Most people in my program finish in 6 years. As of this writing, I have been in the program for 4 years and 9 months. I will finish within 6 years.

So now it begins. And I am terrified.

Somehow, even though this is what I have been wanting since I passed my comps, now that I am here, I am scared. I have no reason to be. Students in my program are not allowed to reach this stage if their ideas do not have merit. I have worked hard to learn. I have put in the time to read and understand the literature. I have written and revised my research question to finally have a good one.

So it begins.

I have to write a few more drafts, make some changes, send the draft to the committee and see what they say. I have to prepare my presentation and deal with the administrative side of scheduling the proposal. I have to remind myself to keep calm.

If all goes well, I will pass and continue to move forward on this PhD Journey!

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One comment

  1. Excellent read. I can remember feeling the same way pre-proposal defense. My colleague that started the program with me had just defended her dissertation and moved on to a post-doc. My advisor ditched my original idea and made me start over. I was feeling like the biggest failure. Now being on the other side of my dissertation defense, those bumps in the road absolutely made my dissertation ultimately much better, and I am a better scholar because of it. This will absolutely be the same for you. Best of luck!

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