Butterflies and Dissertations

February 5th is Western Monarch Day. These beautiful butterflies are known for their spectacular semi-annual migrations. But, they also offer an important message for dissertation students…

At least once a week a student contacts me and asks why their committee members won’t “let” them graduate. Although I often tell students that they will graduate when their committee is happy with their work, that description belies a certain connotation of capriciousness.

In fact, your committee has a very specific set criteria they require you to satisfy. And, they’re waiting on you! When you enter the dissertation process, you’re a doctoral student, but you leave as a doctor. Like the monarch butterfly emerging from its chrysalis, you must transform during your dissertation journey.

I encourage all of my dissertation students to save every draft of their concept paper, prospectus, proposal, and dissertation. It’s a good idea to include the date of the draft in the file name, like so, YYYYMMDD. That way, simply sorting the drafts by file name also yields a proper chronological ordering.

Every two-to-three months you should review your early drafts to assess your progress. I have never encountered a student who wasn’t shocked by the progress he had made over a period of four-to-six months. Reviewing your own work over time can be one of the easiest ways to see the doctoral transformation in action.

If you’re desperate to stretch your wings but remain stuck in your cocoon, 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...

Let's Talk About Your Dissertation
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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