How not to let a Dissertation frustrate You

Deciding to continue your education and pursue a Ph.D. demonstrates a passionate commitment to education, but completing the required dissertation displays the depth of your dedication. For scholars, dissertations often begin as thrilling personal challenge, but for many the daunting process turns the task into a nightmare. If completing your degree is a goal you are set on achieving, then a dissertation is an unavoidable obligation you must fulfill. The following are tips for staying focused, not frustrated.

It’s not just you

Remember, you are not the only college student feeling this way. Dissertations are difficult, which is why most people do not take on the challenge of furthering their education to this degree. Remind yourself that your professors have completed dissertations before you and your classmates are feeling just as stressed as you are. Rest assured that you are not alone and that true empathy is just an email or phone call away.

Pace yourself

Set an attainable goal for completion each day. Set a timer for thirty minutes and commit to working until the timer sounds. Mentally, you can accept the challenge of pushing yourself for a limited amount of time each day. Some days you will be only too happy to hear the buzzer sound. Other days you may be on a role and push yourself further. The point is that accomplishing something is always better than doing nothing.

Write for today

Do not dwell on the finished product. Concentrating on the sheer volume of the completed paper is too overwhelming and will only increase your stress level. Instead, focus your attention on one sentence at a time. You can write one sentence. And you can follow it with one more. If you are researching, take a few minutes to summarize your findings, even if you don’t feel you have learned anything new. You may be encouraged by the concepts you develop as you connect old information with the new. Writing one thing will remind you that you have the skills to complete the challenge, and belief is half the battle.

Take a time out

Work hard, but remember to play hard too. Take time to play and exercise. Keeping your body healthy will not only increase your self-esteem, but exercise will also release stress relieving endorphins into your system. The better you feel physically, the more you will be able to achieve mentally.

Finished not Flawless

Dissertations are about completion, not competition. The point is to have good work to turn in, not to change the world. You can focus on changing the world after you have a degree, when you can conduct research in your own manner and are not limited to meeting deadlines and specific requirements. Cut yourself some slack. This is not about perfection; it’s about endurance and conclusion.

Ask for help

If you get stuck in your dissertation, you can always talk it through with your colleagues, but don’t be afraid to ask for help in other aspects of your life as well. Let a friend pick the kids up from soccer practice. Let your spouse cook (or order) dinner sometimes. Decide NOT to do the laundry for a day. Take pride in what you are accomplishing, and let others take pride in helping you maintain your sanity along the way.

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