When you decide to work on a doctorate degree, many people believe the process is similar to a Master’s program or thesis. A doctorate degree is the highest level of education, the process is far from simple, fast or similar. The early part of a doctoral program will contain the typical course work, the dissertation is where the challenges of a doctoral program begin. These are the challenges that no one wants to tell you about and that after the dissertation is complete, the pain fades away.
Patience are important in the doctoral process since there are many approvals to be obtained along the way. Too many times, individuals want to give up or yell at their advisors about how long these processes take. Believe me, I know, I have been frustrated myself.
As a current doctoral student working on what the University I attend calls, “The Letter of Intent” or LOI. The letter of intent identifies the general and specific problem that my dissertation plans to address. There are specific standards for the letter of intent, therefore it must be approved by my dissertation chair before going to the University’s IRB (Internal Review Board). Each University has an Internal Review Board (IRB) that will approve dissertations within different phases. The early stages of the dissertation are the most frustrating as my fellow classmates tell me that are ahead of me in their program. This cartoon shows all of the emotions that can be covered during the dissertation phase, most of which I have experienced myself already.
Please know this month’s blog is not meant to scare anyone away from going after their doctorate degree, but to help you prepare for the long journey ahead of you. As stated above, this is the highest level of education that one can achieve and so the journey is not a speedy one. Currently, my doctoral work is fast to get updates on my letter of intent done and then I sit and wait for feedback. Could I work ahead, yes! The challenge is my topic is not approved and until my research topic is approved, everything is subject to change. For that reason, I wait patiently on feedback.
A dissertation is a journey just like any other in life, there will be curves, hills, bumps, screams, crying and frustration, just do not give up. If you decide you must take a break, remember to get back up on the dissertation horse and go the distance. The goal is to obtain your doctorate degree, you can do it! Just remember to be prepared and set realistic goals, tie a knot at the end rope and hang on for an interesting journey, these are the steps I take and believe me, there have been challenges. My goal is hopefully to finish within the next 12 months, it is achievable, but if it takes longer I will go the distance.
You got this! Patience and prepare for the challenges!