Gardening and Dissertations

April 14th is National Gardening Day. Do you have a green thumb when it comes to your dissertation? Here’s how to turn your black thumb green…

Ah, the garden. Gardens are just like dissertations! Sunshine and warm soil give way to bundles of fragrant blooms and bunches of crunchy carrots. Right?

Well…maybe your gardening experience looks a little more like mine:

Oh! The neighbors have flowers!

Go to the garden store. Plunk down $100 on various plants, seeds, and bags of soil.

Spend the afternoon digging and planting and watering and saying that this year you’ll garden everyday.

Three weeks later notice plants have died.

Ugh! I have such a black thumb!

Give up on gardening again until the next year.

This is an extreme example, but common. I know I’ve done it more than once. You don’t want your dissertation writing experience to be like my gardening.

But, you can have a green thumb for dissertations!

“What could I do to make my gardening experience a success, and how could these same steps help your dissertation?”

Have a plan. Don’t start a garden on a random day just because it’s a nice day and you neighbors have pretty flowers. Instead, you need to have a plan for what you want to grow, where you want to grow it, and when and how you’ll tend it. Dissertation? Same! Have a plan.

Be realistic. No gardening experience and very little time? Probably shouldn’t have bought more plants than you have time to put in the ground and won’t be home to water for the next two weeks. Dissertations? This is where scope is important. Make sure your topic is narrow enough for you to handle.

Be focused. You must water your garden every day or the seedlings will die. You have to pull the weeds or they’ll take over the whole garden. Similarly, dissertations don’t write themselves in a couple of hours every other Saturday. You will need to set aside 10-15 hours each week to diligently work on your dissertation.

Are you having trouble getting your dissertation garden to grow? 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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