Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Writing that DISSERTATION...

 So here I am at the coffee shop (my usual location) working away on my dissertation, and stopping to take a quick study break (to write this blog). 
I am currently reviewing recent research, pondering over my methods, while also considering what I have already written in my Chapter 2.  It’s a process that seems like it could go on forever, and if I’m not careful I can easily get caught up searching for research minimally related to mine, instead of writing.   My problem is I LOVE reading and exploring what has been researched and written…  I am also passionate about my dissertation topic, which seems to only amplify my perfectionist ways…  This can be a good and bad thing… but definitely tacks on a lot of time to the completion of my dissertation.


 My PhD study has been atypical in the sense that I’ve had to balance my job as a professional athlete, while also being a doctoral student.  As one of my dissertation committee members once mentioned to me, a PhD is like the Olympics of academics.  It’s A LOT of work.  I can attest that this is the hardest I have ever worked academically.  Currently, I’m trying to be re-embedded in my research as I was prior to the holidays.  I’m learning, when you’ve written over a hundred pages and you still have much writing to do, any break taken can cost you some serious time, getting caught up to speed with what you’ve already written….( Ughh… right about now I am regretting taking a break during the Christmas holidays)
The pursuit of a PhD varies across programs.  At my school, Michigan State University, I refer to my program as a very traditional program.  There are courses one must complete, research, a comprehensive exam, dissertation proposal and the defense of a dissertation.  The time frame can range from 4 to 8 years to complete… You better be passionate about what you’re studying or this process can be grueling.  Less than half of students ever actually complete their PhD.  It is intense and not for the faint at heart.  I am currently at the step before defending my dissertation, and I have an AMAZING dissertation committee that pushes me to provide a paramount dissertation.   I barely see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it is enough to remind me that what I’m doing is so worth it.  
Oh, and if you’re wondering what my dissertation topic is, it’s “Good to great in athletics; how and why some athletes make the leap and others don’t.”
Getting back to my dissertation writing,
Nicole

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