Dissertation On The Downward Spiral

Dissertation On The Downward Spiral-54
Finish your dissertation and start building your life post-Ph D, whatever that may mean for you.

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It is great to be proud of your work and to create something that is a valuable contribution to your field.

That is one of the greatest parts of a graduate education.

To avoid a slipping into perfectionist habits and downward productivity spiral set concrete milestones for your writing.

Know what the standards are and hit them, but don’t waste time going above them.

If you really want to revolutionize your field, you need to be working in it, not just completing a dissertation on the subject. Do they want a perfect document, or do they want a student that finishes in a timely manner and goes on to a productive career (whatever that means for you)?

Which looks better from the university’s perspective? Yes, your committee should be pushing you to do good work (it’s why you have one after all), but once you’ve met your graduation requirements it’s time to dive in and finish your dissertation.While I cannot speak for the humanities, in STEM fields only your published papers get read.The dissertation is simply a formal mark showing that you can do research and contribute to the field.Nobody outside of your committee will read it (and you will be lucky if they read the whole thing with focused attention for that matter).So get over being a perfectionist, publish your research in to advance your field, slap that work into your dissertation, and move on.Remember to keep things in perspective here though: How many other dissertations have revolutionized their fields? How many people are going to read your dissertation versus read your published articles?Ask yourself these questions and think long and hard as to whether you’ve inflated the importance of your work to stratospheric proportions in order to justify what you are doing (and giving up! It’s a common mental trick that happens to a lot of us late in the game so don’t feel embarrassed if this has happened to you; finishing is tough!It’s really easy to get lost in the details and to focus on all the minutiae of your project.After a couple of years in grad school this is how your brain works.Finishing graduate school is a difficult time for many students; the structure that we have come to take for granted inside the academic system will no longer be there for many of us after we finish and move on to different careers.This uncertainty about our futures makes it all too tempting to spend just a little more time, more effort on our dissertations to prolong having to enter the job market.


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