You might make a list of all the reasons you want to get the Ph. You might plan out your life’s possible courses for the next 2, 5, 10, or 20 years if you do and if you don’t proceed with the degree.
Through all this, ask yourself “What will make me happy? ” If you are too close to your own graduate school anxieties to think critically about them, visit campus resources that can help you sort out your thinking on this difficult and important issue.
When you embark on this large, independent project, you may begin to ask yourself questions about your future in academia.
After all, the dissertation is the beginning of the end of a graduate career.
Many, many people lead happy, fulfilling lives, build lucrative and rewarding careers, make important contributions to knowledge, share interesting ideas with others, and generally get along just fine without three letters after their names. It also does not mean that you have wasted the time and money that you invested in the degree up to the ABD stage.
It may simply mean that after considering your own personal motivations and goals, you decided this career choice wasn’t for you—and that you plan to use the skills you honed as a graduate student in other ways that are more suited to you. Unlike the elaborate study strategies you developed in order to pass your comprehensive exams, writing the dissertation will enable you to start developing a set of valuable research and writing skills.Sometimes, however, those three elements can prove to be major external sources of frustration.So how can you manage them to help yourself be as productive as possible?Even when you are dedicated to your dissertation and have no problems with your topic, advisor or committee, you can have trouble getting your dissertation written.Simple exhaustion, financial stresses, and family responsibilities can seem to conspire to keep you from doing the work that you need to do.While you can’t do anything about many of these stresses —the rent needs to be paid, and the Grad School still wants you to know two foreign languages, for examples—you can change the way that you deal with these external concerns and minimize their impact on your psyche and productivity.Often, graduate students juggle many personal and professional responsibilities while working on their dissertations.Thinking analytically, synthesizing complicated information, writing well, and organizing your time will all serve you well regardless of the career you begin.If you choose a career in academia, the systems of support, research strategies, work schedules, and writing techniques that help you do the dissertation will help you write books, articles and lectures for many years to come.Sometimes, even if you appreciate the differences between the dissertation and previous work and know that you really want to complete the degree, you may still have trouble. Both external and internal stresses can cause the dissertation process to be more difficult than it has to be.By the time you’ve reached this stage, you have probably already defended a dissertation proposal, chosen an advisor, and begun working with a committee.