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How to Survive the Summer Doldrums

Dissertation Survival Skills:
How To Survive The Summer Doldrums

What happens when everyone, including your dissertation advisor, disappears for the summer? For all too many students I have known, this is the time when they feel most isolated and alone. When the weather is nice and the outside beckons, enthusiasm for doing a dissertation vanishes, and you find your dissertation becalmed in still waters.

How can you make this summer count? In today's column, I would like to suggest two tools you might consider adding to your dissertation survival kit: a dissertation writing group, and/or a dissertation coach.

Dissertation Writing Group

A group is a powerful source of motivation, and identifying with individuals who are similarly engaged in writing their dissertations tends to keep everyone on course. Joining a writing group will help you avoid the isolation, loneliness, and sense of overwhelm to help you maintain the necessary focus to sustain yourself, even when everyone else is on vacation.

Meeting with a small group of writers and a writing consultant once a week on the telephone to share your work will work wonders to help you maintain productivity over the summer months. You will find that this is an excellent venue for sharpening your writing skills and holding yourself accountable to the group.

Dissertation Coach

Another effective strategy to overcome the gloom and doom of the summer months is to hire your own personal, completely loyal and dedicated dissertation coach. A coach with whom you meet on a regular basis can drastically boost your productivity by providing support and helping you set a structure with realistic goals. Some of what you can expect from working with a coach are:

  • Self-confidence that comes from regular feedback and acknowledgement
  • Accountability, knowing that you will have to report to your coach on a regular basis
  • Learning to prioritize weekly tasks
  • Breaking down huge tasks into do-able chunks
  • Focus that comes with deadlines and accountability
  • Objectivity that comes from working with an external, uninvolved professional
  • Venting to someone familiar with the intricacies of the dissertation process

The best advice I can give is to be proactive in setting up a structure that will support your dissertation before the summer doldrums set in. Be resourceful in choosing and creating tools to bootstrap your dissertation this summer!

Dr. SallyTo inquire about participating in a writing group this summer or working with a Dissertation Coach, please email: drsally@dissertationdoctor.com

Sincerely,

Dr. Sally Jensen

The Dissertation Doctor

 

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