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Friday, February 10, 2006
Dissertation Thought-of-the-Day
Yesterday, when I sat down with Prof. C. (Advisor 2) for a chat while I was on campus, we started talking about how an ABD student's feelings toward the dissertation change as he/she progresses:

Stage 1: This is going to be an amazing contribution to the field! Can't wait to get started!
Stage 2: This work is pretty important!
Stage 3: This work validates what other scholars have said!
Stage 4: This is an OK project, but not earth-shattering!
Stage 5: Wait a second -- I'm not saying anything new here!
Stage 6: Man, this project really sucks!
Stage 7: Am I ever going to be done with this stupid thing?
Stage 8: Here it is -- let us never speak of it again.

What I really love about Prof. C. is that he's an amazing scholar who is also amazingly real -- he has shared how he struggled with the dissertation, taking two full years to write it. I know that his first publication took a long time to produce. I know that sometimes, he despises the projects he's working on and grows tired of them. Most of all, it was nice to know that when I talked to him yesterday about being very much at Stage 7, he understood perfectly. And then he quoted the wisdom of a famous person in our field, and the thought is my guiding one for the day:

"There are two types of dissertations: bad dissertations, and those that are never written."

For the first time in my life, I'm striving for "bad." The other alternative comes without those three letter behind my name and a $5,000 pay cut in the Fall. Bring on the badness!
Posted with care by Prof. Me @ 2/10/2006 11:01:00 AM  
6 Words of Wisdom:
  • At 12:09 PM, Blogger Sam said…

    Wow, what a great post. I hope this makes it into a featured spot in the next Higher-Ed carnival, because it certainly deserves to!

  • At 12:43 PM, Blogger phd me said…

    Oooo, thank you for making me laugh today. Bring on the bad, indeed!!

  • At 1:09 PM, Blogger ArticulateDad said…

    Well said. I remember a young professor of mine at Rice (he had the distinction of being my first younger-than-me professor, at what was it 27?) responding to my question regarding what his dissertation was about: "oh, no one reads those things anyway." I thought at the time: "mine won't be like that. I'll write something significant, meaningful, a book in diss clothing." (SIGH). But it's GOOOOOOD to be done. Mind you, it's no end, just a byway, a little pause, some greasy food at the truck stop... but it's good to have been there.

  • At 10:28 AM, Blogger ABDmom said…

    I'm between stages six and seven.


  • At 10:30 AM, Blogger Laura said…

    I'm there. My mentality from the beginning has been to just finish the damn thing. Of course, this is my second attempt. :)

  • At 12:46 PM, Blogger Dr. Mon said…

    I'm definitely on Stage 7--but there is also I think a Stage where you say--"wow, did I really write this stuff????"

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