Dissertation is a pretty lonely process, because no matter how many great mentors you have, obviously, the bulk of the work falls on you. It’s hard to turn over all of your work to your committee chair and be ready for feedback. I set the date for myself of September 1st… On September 1st I am going to turn over whatever I have of my proposal, whatever shape it’s in, to get some preliminary feedback and hopefully be able to defend the proposal sometime this fall.
Sometimes you just get so immersed in the research of a topic, it gets hard to organize everything. I can reasonably only work 1-2 hours on writing and reading for my proposal a day without going insane… sometimes it ends up being none, sometimes it ends up being 4, but I only “force” myself to do one. That’s just how I keep my mental health… or try to.
There’s sometimes needless competition in doctoral cohorts. I don’t really understand why. I try to stay out of it, but I have still felt some of the tension at times. I’m sort of glad that I can just fade away and sort of work independently now that class is over. I’ve never had any desire to be competitive. If people are respectful of me, I have a genuine desire that everyone do well and succeed. It has been a weird, strange journey in which friends have come and gone. I’m glad that I’m nearing the end and going to start my next chapter of my life soon. I’ve done things that I didn’t think I could do (like teach classes independently). More experience always helps, but I hope I get to focus on my dissertation for a while so I can be finished next Spring.