I confess, commencing my dissertation is daunting and scary without the safety net of course work. My success or failure in completing this journey will be determined by one person and one person only—me! Additionally, now that I have emerged from my PhD Cave, the real world is a siren’s call. Maybe I should get a job to ease myself back into the real world? Can I even be comfortable with the real world again, now that I am used to a flexible routine? Ooh, look at all those blogs on how to build a successful online business, that’s what I need to do! Put those research skills to work Vidya! Is there anything interesting on Versatile PhD I can apply for? And on and on and on…
I am fortunate however, to have a fantastic advisor and mentor who keeps me on the straight and narrow. So come Tuesday, January 20, 2015, we buckled down and got to work. I had already submitted a preliminary research prospectus, so this meeting was basically to review the prospectus and chart out the road map to Dr. V status. My goal when I commenced this journey in Fall 2010 was to be done in December 2015. Doable, as long as I maintain to the following deadlines:
February 3, 2015: Finalize research prospectus and invite potential committee members to review.
February 16, 2015: Proposal defense with research committee; Acquire CITI certification.
March 2, 2015: Acquire IRB approval—this implies I complete the IRB application and submission immediately after the defense.
March-May 2015: Collect data.
June-August, 2015 (Summer break): Data analysis.
August-November: Write up dissertation (Chapters 1-5).
November 2015: Defend dissertation.
December 2015: Dr. V!
Now, this may seem like something that ought to live on my calendar, not a blog post. I agree, and it does. There are however, benefits to publicly acknowledging my goals and desired outcomes for the rest of the year:
- Thoughts become things, I firmly believe this. So by stating my intent publicly, I am “using the Force” aka Universe ;).
- I am now publicly accountable to myself and to you, the reader.
- My road map can be easily accessed for reference and reminders.
- I stay focused, and surge ahead with clarity and vision.
Most important, seeing it laid out in concrete actionable steps makes it doable, not daunting.