Life and Dissertations – Part II

We all have multiple priorities we must juggle, and seldom does a day go according to script. As a dissertation student, it’s how you handle each day that determines whether you succeed or fail…

Have you ever had one of those days? Of course you have!

Today, mine started at 5am, the usual time since my son started middle school. His school bus arrives at 5:43, and it is our practice to there four minutes early. Today we were only three minutes early. It turns out that the bus was four minutes early.

Thus, started our pre-dawn hunt for the big yellow school bus. My son and I worked to piece to together the bus’s route and to try to get ahead of it. We finally succeeded over half an hour later.

But then it’s past time to get the girls up and off to school. They attend a magnet school the next town over and buses aren’t part of the deal. A misplaced shoe and some indecision over breakfast are par for the course, and we’re nearly back on schedule.

Off to school and back. Now it’s time to start my day. But, our billing system decided not to. And, another hour  is gone.

A few more personal fires flare up, and I extinguished them. Now it’s past lunchtime.

Did I mention that this is Day Two of my new diet? My family has always struggled with weight, and for some reason, I chose yesterday to rejoin the struggle.

As I was reheating a bit of leftover fish, the phone rings. It’s my daughter’s school. Now, it’s not unusual for the school to send out an automated call with some announcement or the other. In those cases, it’s actually better to let the call roll over to voice mail, so that I can listen to the message when I choose.

But, a little voice told me that I should answer this call. And, when I did, there was a real voice on the other end. No pre-recorded message for the masses. No, the actual school nurse was actually telling me that my daughter had been sick and must be collected right away, nearly two hours before school was supposed to end.

So, I gather my leftover fish onto a paper plate and dispatch myself to my daughter. It turns out the illness, though real, was quite transitory.

However, this particular reshuffling of my day had the salutary side effect of freeing my schedule to allow me to be available to meet a repairman at home. I would have had to thread the needle to return after school with the girls and meet the repairman at the start of the two hour window his company provided. I was amply warned by the vendor that the repairman would arrive near the beginning of the service window and that I must be there to receive him.

One hour, fifty-six minutes into the two-hour service window, the doorbell finally rings. So, now I’m running late to head out to my son’s school for his meet-the-teacher fall kick-out event…

Have you ever had days like this? Of course you have!

Polishing off a day like today and not letting it get to you or rob you of your progress for the day is tough. But you will absolutely be called to do it, again and again on the path to graduation.

Putting out of the unexpected fires and still tending to the garden so that it continues to grow requires sacrifice. In my case today, I’m posting this blog a few minutes before midnight knowing that the game begin anew at five a.m. tomorrow!

If you need extra support and guidance to make it to graduation, I may be able to help. If you'd like to find out whether you qualify for the support we offer throughout the dissertation process, then...

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Dr. Russell W. Strickland

RUSSELL STRICKLAND, Ph.D., has been referred to as a “rocket scientist turned management consultant.” In truth, he applies an eclectic body of work from astronomy and nuclear physics to dynamic inventory management to market research to each of his student engagements.

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