Thursday, January 19, 2006

Today's reminder

"Donít feel that you need to create the greatest work that Western Civilization has ever seen. Five years from now the only thing that will matter is whether you finished."

Inside Higher Ed: What They Donít Teach You in Graduate School


Anonymous e-tat said...

In that case, I have some questions.
Which of these are necessary, or conversely which are fatal, to a finished dissertation?

1) Spouse and/or support from close relations;
2) Enough money to pay for food and rent;
3) Additional money to pay for travel, computer, books and so forth;
4) A job, either full or part time, to cover costs of 1 & 2, and to provide an alternative mental activity as in 5 & 6;
5) A substantive break (i.e. proper holiday) at consistent intervals;
6) A consistent focus for the purposes of distraction (e.g., a blog, a hobby);
7) Teaching experience (see item 4);
8) Colleagues studying in the same field or sub-discipline, for conversational purposes;
9) A tendency to frame discussion in the popular jargon/discourse of the day;
10) A clear vision of what you want the finished product to look like and do;
11) The ability to write to a certain standard and/or deadlines;
12) ? - something I've missed.

How many of these are neccessary to finish, cf. how many are neded to foretell failure?

I would expect that the answers would vary from one person to the next (in terms of who can or cannot accomplish things under given circumstances, what a given person can get by with/without). I am also pretty sure that several of these items can have big effects, but that they are not addressed in any consistent manner by students, their advisors or host institutions. So even though this started out as a list of things that are necessary or fatal, you might also think of it as an attempt to identify things that should be addressed but usually aren't.

Blogger Knoblauch said...

I'm only working on a two year research thesis, but this was helpful!
Thanks for sharing!



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