How Does Your Desire for Academic Success Influence the Effectiveness of Your Dissertation Writing Process?

When the time comes, writing your dissertation will likely be an entirely new process for you. You won’t have any weekly deadlines or regular discussions with your advisors. You’re on your own and in a lot of ways it’s like writing your own book. This kind of independence means that our desire for academic success will likely be your only companion, constantly encouraging you to more through each of the writing phases, no matter how challenging they may be.

You could see then why the effectiveness of your dissertation process is influenced by your desire for academic success. But for some students, the prospect of a career in academia isn’t as appealing as it was when they first started graduate school.

If you are unsure of your desire to earn a Ph.D. in your field and embark on the long journey of transition from student to academic professional, you may want to consider a few things.

  1. What does a Ph.D. mean to you? And is this meaning different from your family and friends’? To this point you have likely found success in your studies, but working on a dissertation is completely different. While you may have had support your entire life, you probably will be on your own when you work on your dissertation. It’s a good practice to make a list of all the reasons you want to get your Ph.D. as well as all the reasons you rather not.
  2. Seek some outside advice from colleagues. No one knows more about the situation you are in than fellow students and advisors in your department. By now you should have a built a good relationship with professors and can candidly speak about your desires for academic success. You may find that they too had doubts when they reached this stage in their careers. You’ll also be able to get answers to many of the questions you might have about a career in academia running in your head.
  3. There’s no shame in walking away. Many people have wonderful and successful lives without needing those three letters before their names. Deciding not pursue a career in academia is not a mark against your determination or intelligence. Nor will anyone think you’re a quitter. All it means is that you have weighed your options, motivation, and goals, and have decided that academic success is not for you. Why then would you spend so much time and energy writing your dissertation if the prospect of academia doesn’t interest you anymore?

Writing your dissertation is just the first piece of serious and intense scholarship that follows in a successful career in academia. It sets the standard by which you will be held as a professional and expert in your field. Your desire for academic success, then, directly influences just how much time and effort you are willing to commit to the dissertation writing process. Before you start on the long journey take the time to consider just how much you want and deserve that Ph.D.

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