POTUS 28 and Dissertations

December 28th marks the birthday of the 28th President of the United States. Here’re some words of wisdom from Woodrow Wilson that you can apply to your dissertation…

You cannot, in human experience, rush into the light. You have to go through the twilight into the broadening day before the noon comes and the full sun is upon the landscape.
—— Woodrow Wilson

Most students I speak with want to graduate as soon as possible. Even if you do everything “right,” however, it’s still a process. You do have to wade through the twilight of writing a proposal. Then the sun eventually rises, you build momentum, and win approvals. Finally, you’re free to collect your data and write your dissertation, and schedule your defense!

As a project manager once told me, “You can’t get nine women to make a baby in one month!”

The only use of an obstacle is to be overcome. All that an obstacle does with brave men is, not to frighten them, but to challenge them. 
— Woodrow Wilson

I have to say, that I’ve never heard a doctoral student say that they were “frightened” about their dissertation. Frustrated, lost, confused — yes, but not frightened or scared!

It’s really tough to get beyond being scared. As I’ve heard many a soldier say, “Bravery is the thing you get after you do something that scares you.” It takes a special kind of person to overcome a fear.

But, since future docs aren’t scared of the dissertation process, overcoming the obstacle is much easier.

If you’re frustrated, seek a new approach.

If you’re lost, get direction.

If you’re confused, seek counsel.

You’ve suceeded in challenging situations before. This is just one more challenge!

The man who is swimming against the stream knows the strength of it. 
— Woodrow Wilson

Though, I’m quite sure that this is true, doctoral students never need to swim against the stream.

Instead, find a project that’s completely do-able. Know of the required tasks and assure yourself that you are capable to completing each one.

When you receive feedback from your committee members, you may be inclined to fight for your ideas, for the way you want to your study to proceed.

Resist this urge to swim against the stream. Realize that, in a very really sense, your dissertation is not your dissertation, rather it is your committee’s dissertation.

You graduate when your committee is happy with your dissertation. Instead of trying to convince them that they should be happy with the what you envision for your dissertation, just give’m what they want!

I not only use all the brains that I have, but all that I can borrow. 
— Woodrow Wilson

If you need to borrow the brains of someone who’s been there before, click here to schedule a quick, 15-minute chat with me to see if you’re a good fit for our Fast Track Your Dissertation Coaching Program. If you are, then I’ll invite you to join the fastest group of dissertation students out there and help you to reach graduation a good year or two faster than you would on your own.

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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