One BIG tip for dissertation

I received a compliment from my mentor the other day. He said that when talking with his other colleague my name came up and they both agreed that they enjoyed working with me/helping me along in my dissertation process … because I do the work.

Perplexed, I kind of didn’t understand at first because… well, no one does the work for you at this level. He explained that I always bring something to the table. I always have something to go off of, or to show when I come to a meeting, whether that’s notes, questions prepared, SPSS output, an updated draft, etc. Essentially, I don’t just say “teach me” or “tell me what to do.” Instead, I show that I put some effort into trying solutions (especially regarding statistics) on my own before coming to my mentors.

This is just something that I’ve always done because I want people to know that I care about my work and I care about their time. I don’t expect people to try to help me if I’m not trying to help myself. So here is my tip broken down to you for dissertation.

  1. Always come to meetings with something to show. Some work that you’ve done… even if you’re not sure if it’s finalized or right, just bring SOMETHING to show that you’ve been trying. You might start off with a few research articles summarized to help try to narrow down your topic.

While this may seem like a no-brainer, it may be kind of hard to do if you feel stuck. Still TRY SOMETHING. People are more likely to help you if you show that you are willing to work, willing to try, and willing to BE WRONG.  At least that has been my experience, and overall, despite all of the stress, I’ve had the best mentors through the dissertation process which has made it so so much easier. I anticipate being done by May. 🙂

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