Barbershop Quartets and Dissertations

April 11th is National Barbershop Quartet Day! Do you think you can sing?… then, you can! Do you think you can get your dissertation done?…

The barbershop quartet style of singing without musical accompaniment was very popular in the 1900s but had become obscure by the 1930s. On April 11, 1938 a group called the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America (what a mouthful!) was founded and began a revival of this musical performance style.

On the topic of recruiting prospective singers, the founder was quoted as saying, “All we ask is just that said prospective member THINK he can sing.”

Presumably the organization was planning to teach these pinstripe-class recruits a few more details about how to sing and sing well, but I think the founder may have been getting at something else: attitude.

If you think you can sing, you can probably learn.

If you think you can’t sing, even the best voice coach probably won’t make much progress.

Dissertations are the same!

I’ll never finish.

This draft is hopeless.

My committee is blocking me at every turn.

These types of thoughts are going to creep in now and again. It is important that you beat them down. How? Replace them with thoughts that lead you to positive actions.

I’ll never finish. Whoa, am I off schedule! Let me rework my plan and see how many more hours a week I need to dedicate to my dissertation to finish on time.

This draft is hopeless. Why am I struggling with this draft so much? Do I need to refine my scope or get input from my adviser?

My committee is blocking me at every turn. Is there anything I could do to improve my relationship with my committee and help me make better progress?

It’s true that over half of doctorate students do not finish their dissertation. But you don’t have to be one of them. If you’re struggling, make sure you at least clear the first hurdle…do you THINK you can?

So, do you think you can sing? If so, 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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