Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I Think I Can!

As a doctoral student I sometimes feel like the tenacious Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper.

We both go chugging along believing we can get over the mountain but it isn't always easy.

My cheering section may not be "the funniest little toy clown you ever saw" or a "doll with blue eyes and yellow curls" or "even a baby elephant" but support systems are in place.

And according to the book Writing Your Doctoral Dissertation: Invisible Rules For Success by Rita S. Brause, this is an important element that can separate those who complete the process and those who forever remain ABD (all but dissertation).

Her book has been a real page-turner.  I have been reading it for the past 2 days and simply cannot put it down.  I am as addicted to it as I was to reading Harry Potter.  The school boy geek in me is working overtime.

In the book Dr. Brause puts forth, and rightly so, that doctoral students are often unclear about the procedures, requirements and demands placed upon them to complete a Ph.D. She wrote this book to demystify the process.

I have learned...
  • I am now a doctoral candidate rather than merely a doctoral student! This is due to the fact that I have completed all of my coursework and passed my comprehensive examinations. 
  • I have entered the final phase in the doctoral process - Phase IV: The Dissertation Phase!
  • There are 8 academic stages in the doctoral process.  I am currently in Stage 5: Select Dissertation Topic, Chair and Committee. I have selected my topic, Chair and 2 committee members (3 are needed).
    Next up...Drafting the dissertation proposal.

    This is an exciting time because from now on I can focus on research that is important to me instead of completing course assignments that I am less passionate about.

    I have at least another 2 years to go on this journey but I am really looking forward to it.

    I am!


    mouse (aka kimy) said...

    you go gary!!!!

    i know you can!!!!!!

    congratulations candidacy is a big accomplishment

    i think i could have used rita's book 20 years ago....i wonder what stage (6 or 7?) i got to.

    hoppy easter sweetie!!!

    Gary said...

    Oh, dear Kimy let's see...

    Stage 6: Draft Dissertation Proposal
    Stage 7: Conduct, Analyze and Write-up Dissertation Study
    Stage 8: Prepare for Orals

    It looks like you were Stage 7 or 8. Much further along than I am at the moment.

    Thanks for the support. You are certainly good for me.

    Happy Easter!

    Arielle Lee Bair said...

    Go you! This is wonderful. Congrats on becoming a candidate and not a mere student. :) I have always had so much respect for those in graduate school (especially getting their PhDs), but since starting (and now finishing as of this month!) my first year of my Masters Degree, my respect is even higher and now coupled with serious understanding. Man, it's hard to do all the graduate work AND work AND have a life. I'm proud of you - and I mean that in a completely NON-condescending way. Keep it up!

    lettuce said...

    hi doctoral candidate.

    i know you can too!

    Gary said...

    Thanks Arielle and Letty for your support. Since I wrote this post it looks like I have found the PERFECT third reader! A little bit further everyday.

    LadrĂ³n de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

    Congratulations on being almost there. We can't wait to call you Dr. Gary!


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