The Red Cross and Dissertations

On May 21, 1881, Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross. Here are a few words of wisdom from the Red Cross’s famous founder for dissertation students everywhere…

“The surest test of discipline is its absence.”
— Clara Barton

Many former college athletes struggle to maintain a healthy exercise regimen after their college athletic careers end. It isn’t because they’re afraid of hard work. They did plenty of that as athletes.

Rather, it’s because they don’t know how to create a structured training regimen and hold themselves accountable to it — their coaches always did that for them! The dissertation process involves a similar transition.

Before your dissertation, you always had your assignments and deadlines laid out for you to complete. Your teachers and professors told you exactly what to do, and you just did it.

Now that you’re in the dissertation process, you’re going to need to a take a more active role in the planning and scheduling of your dissertation work. Not just when to do it, but how to do it, and even what to do! And, you must have find a way to hold yourself accountable.

Establishing those good habits of daily dissertation work, with no one to answer to but yourself, is the toughest part of the process for most students.

“Offering a hand up is not a hand-out.”
Clara Barton

Some students I speak with feel that they shouldn’t ask for the help as they struggle through the dissertation process.


Well, it usually boils down to some heroic sense of accomplishing their goals by themselves.

But, why is that so important? I think it stems from students self-identity as a hard worker. And, hard work, or rather the willingness and ability to do har work when necessary, is commendable.

But, would you rather be considered to be smart, or a hard worker? Shouldn’t doctors work smarter, not harder?

So, which is the smarter play? Struggling for months or years longer than necessary and running the risk of failing to earn your doctoral degree? Or, finding and enlisting the support you need to guide you through the transition from doctoral student to doctor?

No one climbs Mt. Everest without a Sherpa.

The horse that recently won the Kentucky Derby had a trainer.

Captains of industry have advisers.

If the right support and guidance will help you earn your doctoral degree sooner, then you’ll be able to help those you’re called to serve that much sooner.

Is your dissertation in need of a little first aid? Then, click here to schedule a quick, 15-minute chat with me to see if you’re a good candidate 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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