Post # 1
I woke up 3 hours late today and I feel so stressed out. I need to finish my dissertation this weekend and I have so much to do. I have no choice, I owed my advisor the draft weeks ago and now I sit here, nearly the end of March and its not done. I need to finish to keep my job (my job is technically a student position and its written in my agreement that I have to defend by may to be able to be converted to a career position). I need to finish to get a fellowship I’m being considered for. And Boyfriend or Best Friend has told me he won’t even think about proposing until the diss is finished (I think to try to motivate me, but it just stresses me out even more). My models aren’t working — they are not affirming my hypotheses and I will have to explain why and I just don’t know. I want to throw the whole thing out the window but I can’t. There’s no time to just start over. Sigh.
I’m sorry for the rant but I just want to give up at this point but I can’t.
Post # 3
I feel for you! I’m finishing up my master’s (although not as hard as a dissertation). I’ve sacrificed so much just to get some hours in on this paper. I also work full time.
Like your Boyfriend or Best Friend, I did not want to get engaged until my thesis was done, I knew the time it took to put into a thesis and I knew the time it took to put into a relationship (we planned to move in together after engagement). Then my paper went longer than I thought, and I so wish it were over too. This May though!
Keep your head up, just write about what you attempted and what didn’t work. Remember stuff doesn’t always work out, but you write about what was attempted and what failed and what the recommendations are.
Post # 4
Sorry you’re going through this, unfortunately I think its something that happens to every phd student at some point. I know that every situation is different, but if you’re data doesn’t match expectation and you can’t figure out why, I think its time to schedule a meeting with your advisor. Hopefully he can give you some ideas of possible causes that you can investigate. One of the things I’ve learned in grad school is that there’s no point in banging your head against the wall endlessly when you don’t know the answer, there’s nothing wrong with asking for help. Good luck!
Post # 5
Talk to your advisor! E-mail her/him right now and set up a time to meet tomorrow. If she/he is not available, contact a committee member, or a postdoc or grad student studying something similar (or using our same approach). If you hit a wall and can’t come up with new ideas, talking to someone usually helps. They may not be able to interpret your data for you, but can make you think about your project a little differently.
I’ve been there. I’ve thought my data was uninterpretable crap. After talking to others, I gained a new perspective and realized that, even if it doesn’t support my initial hypotheses, it suggests some pretty interesting things. We tend to get so wrapped up in our own data-world, we fail to consider some things that may be obvious to others.
Hang in there. I think PhDs/dissertations are more a test of perseverance and endurance and less of a test of intelligence or creative thinking. Don’t be afraid or embarassed to ask for help. That’s part of the training process!
Post # 6
I’m sitting here RIGHT NOW trying to finish the last chapter of my dissertation, and freaking out about how it is complete crap and doesn’t at all prove what I wanted it to prove.
You are not alone. This is the worst part. We will get through it. GOOD LUCK!!
Post # 7
I’m sorry sweetie..I feel your pain as I am in the same boat. I find that pushing wedding related ideas and anthing else clogging my mind to the side, gives me some time to focus on getting my Chapter 2 and 3 completed for my proposal draft.
I second the idea of talking to your advisor and see what new strategies you can use to help you get it done.
Post # 8
Hang in there! As PP have said – a dissertation is more of a test of perserverance than of intelligence….if there was an issue with intelligence….you would have been out after your prelims! (And you must have passed if you are writing your dissertation, so hang in there!)
Something to think about – ask your advisor what he/she thinks about his/her dissertation. I bet that most academics will tell you that their dissertation was crap. And that is OK – you dissertation relfects you at the start or your career – and really – who expects a masterpeice at the start of your career?!? In the end, you will most likely hate your dissertation, but it will be DONE, and then you can move on. Post defense, you can re-evalute your models and probably tweak them (new pub!) with better results.
And, as is shown by PP, you are not the only one who is behind in their writing schedule. Your job will most likely understand and be a bit flexible on your defense date…as long as you do indeed defend.
Hang in there!!!!
Post # 9
Last year, of the 5 people that graduated from my PhD program, only 2 had proved their hypotheses. Yeah, writing up stuff that doesn’t work SUCKS because it’s harder and makes you feel like crap, and makes it less intuitive of a write up, but eventually it gets done. And thankfully the dissertation committee does not require it to work! You’ll get through it!
Post # 10
Proving that something you thought would happen under certain conditions DIDN’T happen after all, is still an advancement of research. Write that.
I had to completely rethink my last chapter because the application that worked on the material for the other chapters, which I was absolutely sure would work on that chapter’s material as well, turned out to not work at all. I was in a total spin. But my advisor pointed out to me that it demonstrates something interesting to show what didn’t work. Remember your dissertation is not just a summation of your work – it is a statement of information you have gleaned that others will find useful so that they can carry the field forward. Eliminating possibilities DOES that. You studied the work of others to see what needed doing, you tried something, you tell people about it (in published form), they now have information they can use to conduct their research. That’s the point of what we do.
You can do this! Clear your head (go for a 15 minute walk). Turn off your phone. GET OFF THE INTERNET. Put yourself in a bubble today and just WRITE.
Post # 11
@google: Was thinking about you when I was at work today, wondering how this is going for you. Good thoughts still coming your way…
Post # 12
@ProfessorGirl: Thanks — I was up until 4 last night and didn’t get to where I wanted to be but had to go to sleep because I wasn’t thinking straight. Hopefully I can finish up the methods and two results chapters tonight so that all I have left is the discussion which I have outlined but not written at this point. It’ll get done, I know it will, but its just going to be a piece of [email protected] an I will have to accept that.
Post # 13
@google: Glad to know you’re making progress (even if you think it’s not any good). Keep at it!
Post # 14
Hang in there– just plugging along working seems like it might be the best thing for you right now, I think– get it worked on, make progress. . . that will help ease the pressure a little. Plus remember that part of science is NOT being able to reject the null hypothesis and all that– sometimes we do a heck of a lot of work and then find out that your hypothesis was wrong and all that work couldn’t prove what you were hoping to prove. Sorry to sound depressing!!!!! But I experienced something like that as an undergrad (though I was told by 2 professors that the semester’s work I’d designed was more like a graduate thesis), and while it is profoundly aggravating and discouraging, you can still show you know HOW the process works and WHY one investigates things. . . even if your results are not at all what you wanted.
Good luck with everything, and I hope you get this done and get the position you want!
Post # 15
Hang in there! Boyfriend or Best Friend probably just said that to motivate you…but trust me, you don’t want all the excitement of an engagement with the diss hanging over your head. Just get through it, I know you can do it!