dreams

“Students tend to think that once they are done with the coursework, they are pretty much done with the program. This is not the case with the doctoral education. In fact, the coursework is only a preparation (appetizer) for the dissertation research (the main dish). Once done with the [Research Design] class, typically students take their competency exam and, upon passing, the students become doctoral candidates (aka ABDs – “all but dissertation”). This is where the real challenge begins because unlike very structured coursework, the writing of the dissertation is an independent process where the researcher must be self-organized and self-driven to stay on task and to work on this long project for a long time.

How much time do you need? Well, the answer varies. From experience, we know that once you are matched with the dissertation committee, the very best case scenario is that the dissertation takes about a year – This is only possible if you 1) already know EXACTLY what you will be doing for your dissertation; 2) you are super organized and self-driven; 3) you have already done extensive reading and some writing about your topic; 3) you contribute at least 20 hours each week into working on dissertation until you finish. 

More typically, it takes students about 2 years from the passing of the comps to the finish line – Even this timeline requires you to work on your dissertation on a weekly (if not daily) basis. If you procrastinate, or take a few months off, or change your topic a few times, you will likely spend more than 2 years and you are at-risk of never finishing the program.” 

research design

I have officially entered the halfway point of my Research Design class. It's odd how, when I reflect back on weeks or months past, I no longer think of them in terms of milestone events. Instead, I look at markers to indicate my progress in the doctoral program.    

It is March and there are still oranges in the tree. The blood orange tree needs to be harvested as well, and my birthday passed me by last month. Putin invaded Ukraine on my birthday, and my parents officially became homeless (according to the text my dad sent). They are not physically homeless...although, they will be moving into their condominium this week. And, all I can think is that I have 8 more weeks of research design before I can officially begin my dissertation.  

NAITD

It is truly a privilege to live by what I call the “no asshole” rule. I don’t do business with assholes. I don’t care how much money they are offering me, or what project. Life is too short. Quality of life is important. I’m fortunate to collaborate with a lot of people who I respect and like, and I’d like to keep it that way.

—Anthony Bourdain