Your New Job: Taking Your Thesis or Dissertation Seriously

You’ve finally finished several of your upper-level graduate courses and are beginning to put together your dissertation plan. You might be thinking that writing this paper will be a breeze and that you will complete the project easily. However, writing your thesis or dissertation is a process that will consume much more of your time and concentration than will any of your other class or term papers. The most successful graduate students treat their theses or dissertations as if writing their papers is a new position at a major company that they have always wanted. You should do the same because writing your thesis or dissertation will necessitate a comprehensive dissertation plan, constant consideration, and diligent honest work.

Scheduling

Again, you should equate your dissertation plan to a new job that you have always wanted and desperately want to keep. Just like your boss might give you deadlines for presentations and sales goals, you should give yourself hard deadlines to complete specific writing goals. After you establish deadlines for your research, analysis, rough draft, and final draft for your paper, you should write your deadlines in a planner or program them into your online calendar. In addition to hard deadlines, you should make short-term goals for writing your dissertation or thesis, such as dates by which you want to finish each subheading of your paper. Once you have set this dissertation schedule for yourself, stick to them as if you were getting paid to do so. Actually, the more quickly you finish your thesis or dissertation, the more quickly you will be able to devote more time to your actual professional position.

Attitude

You must always keep your thesis or dissertation plan in mind when you are considering making major life changes while you are still writing your paper, just as people seriously consider their jobs before moving, getting pets, or starting families. When your friends go out and invite you to come along, consider how doing so will affect the writing goals and deadlines that you have set for yourself. Likewise, do not agree to any major time commitment, such as a vacation or a new work project, without first seriously and practically thinking about whether this new commitment will negatively affect your thesis or dissertation goals. Finally, do not do anything with your dissertation plan that you would not do at a new job. For example, never procrastinate on something that you will need a lot of time to finish, and don’t waste too much time distracting yourself during time when you need to be working. Remember, in a roundabout way, you are getting paid for the time you are working on your research paper. The more work you complete, whether in the professional or academic sphere, the more valuable you are.

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