Here are the recordings, and below are the notes, from a workshop on planning to finish a dissertation in the next year. There are many things specific to Carleton, and I’m making these available especially for the folks who were not able to attend in person, but perhaps they will be useful. Other caveat: This recording was made from Zoom for the participants beaming in remotely, so it’s a weird camera angle etc.
- Orienting yourself, your close ones, your supervisor and committee
- Yourself: what do you know about how you actually work? How are you doing? When are things reasonably possible, when are they very hard? Making the internal shift definitively.
- Close ones: recognize that “I will be a good parent/partner/friend/lover/etc after I’m done with this dissertation” is not a workable plan. What do the people supporting you need for basic care? How can giving them that also support your process?
- Supervisors and committee: how do yours actually work? What do you need to do to convince them that you’re finishing this year and they should sit up and take notice? Assessing how much they believe you about what you’re doing.
- Where are you at?
- Back-outlining what the dissertation is
- The title question
- Mapping the continuum from the “aspirational dissertation” to the “hang-my head dissertation”
- Getting a real view of the timelines
DD -6 months: Confirm with your supervisor and committee that you are planning to finish the dissertation within six months, and get a clear sense of what they think will be required to meet that plan
DD -3 months: Submit full draft of dissertation to committee (they may take as much as a month to return comments)
DD -10-12 weeks: Discuss with supervisor who to invite as the External and Internal External (they will approach these people to invite them to serve in these roles)
DD -8 weeks: Submit Submission of PhD Thesis for Defense form
DD -6 weeks: Upload final defense copy to Carleton Central (no further revisions possible)
- The doing part: Planning activity rather than outcome, but checking on outcomes. Determine your metrics (words? Time? Anything other than “tired must stop”). Scheduling writing. Assuming that the worst happens, and the good-enough dissertation. If-then loops. Limiting work. Committing to breaks and play.
- At the end: “managing-up” the administrative apparatus gatekeeping finishing