Now that you have decided to go for your doctorate degree, it is time to make the journey. Many individuals begin the doctoral journey, few finish. Why do so many not finish their doctoral journey? Why, is hard to identify because there are many reasons do not finish the doctoral journey. For some the dissertation journey is a challenge and a misunderstanding about the process. For this month’s blog, the goal is to discuss surviving dissertation feedback because for some accepting the feedback can be real challenging.

First, your dissertation topic is yours to decide on when you plan on selecting your research study. The first thing many individuals do is consider solving the world’s problems or create some great study that will make them stand out. One thing to remember is a done dissertation is better than not going the distance. Professors remind students frequently, the best dissertation is a done dissertation. While these expressions may sound dysfunctional or out of place, the fact is the goal is to get your doctoral degree and that means getting to the finish line.

Reaching the finish line means completing the dissertation process, focus on the process rather than trying to solve the world’s problems in one dissertation. The reason for the mention about selecting the dissertation topic since this is the where the feedback begins with the dissertation work. Receiving feedback and accepting feedback are two different things. One can receive the feedback, but accepting and implementing the feedback is another situation. For some doctoral students, accepting feedback is a challenge.

Feedback is a part of the process, while the feedback may not be what we want to hear, the feedback is there to assist each individual in completing the dissertation journey. There are plenty of stories of how many times feedback was not received well because the feeling was that the professors were working against the individual. Personally, there are two individuals that I know where they did not receive the feedback and quit their doctoral journey.

Every college has a review board that contains three doctors that review dissertations in addition to the three doctors on the dissertation committee. Recently, I had my first review from the review board, for which I was extremely nervous about receiving. Review boards are notorious for having feedback to give a student. I knew they would have feedback for me, but was truly uncertain as to what to expect. Upon receiving the feedback, I was extremely relieved, probably not the reaction some expected. My dissertation and I discussed the feedback, she even asked me my thoughts on their feedback. The feedback was clear and made sense, everyone is working towards me reaching the finish line.

Feedback in a dissertation is not about working against you as a doctoral candidate, but there to assist you through the journey. One of the biggest pieces of advice to a doctoral student is to remember the feedback is to get you to the finish line. While we may not always be thrilled with the feedback, the feedback may change the direction of the dissertation topic or even research method, the goal is to focus on the reaching the finish line. Keep your eye on the finish line, get the dissertation complete and then one can research whatever topic they choose. As the top chosen graphic for this month, “Finished is better than Perfect”.