Ideas and Dissertations
September 10th is National Swap Ideas Day. Celebrate by adding an accountability partner to your dissertation support network…
One of my early dissertation students completed her study on the types of support a student needs in order to complete his dissertation. She focused specifically on students who were working on their dissertations remotely.
They may have begun studying at traditional campuses but moved away from campus while working on their dissertations. Or, they may have been studying at online universities. Either way, without the support of a campus community they needed to connect with others in order to be successful.
Her study identified three types of support that are important for dissertation students: academic, emotional, and practical.
Practical support was determined to be the least important type. Practical support is basically about creating more time for your dissertation. So, if it’s typically your responsibility to cut the grass or take a the trash, a family member could take on those responsibilities, giving you more time to work on your dissertation.
But, time isn’t really the issue for most dissertation students. I know that you might think that your problem is time management. But, it’s really not. The real problem is motivating yourself to work on your dissertation each day, and that’s only a problem because you really don’t know what to do!
Meaning no offense by that. You’re a student. Of course, you don’t know what to do. That’s the point of being a student — to learn. And, that’s why you need academic support — to teach you what you need to know.
In addition to knowing what to do, sometimes you need to know that you can do it. Hearing from your husband, wife, or children how smart you are and how they know you can do it can come off like a cruel taunt after a while. If they never earned their own doctoral degree, then they don’t really know what they’re talking about. Do they?
This is why it’s important that your support network includes people who’ve been there. Not only current doctoral students with whom you may share ideas, but also former doctoral students, those who have earned their doctoral degrees and can speak from experience.
So, find people to support you in your family. Find people to support you among your friends. Find people to support you at work. Enlist those who can provide you more time, those who can alleviate your stress, and those who can point you in the right direction.