Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The dissertation

I got curious today as to why the document produced as a culmination of the doctoral studies is called a "dissertation."

According to, a dissertation is an "extended usually written treatment of a subject."

Seriously? The lack of comma usage notwithstanding, that is an extreme understatement. Where is the information about blood, sweat, toil, and tears? What about overwhelming exhaustion? Burnout?

I got an email from one of my classmates in the Ph.D. program. She was wondering if she should take a term off. It turns out that several people have decided the same thing. They are all overwhelmed.

I feel the same, but doggone it, I am going to finish this, and my timeline is for the end of the year. I want it over with, but I also want to finish this once and for all. Yes, I am exhausted--no, weary. Yes, I cry every other day or so because I am so tired and frustrated. No, I don't have a whole lot of fun, and I have a huge stack of books which I will be reading after I finish up. Every day is pretty much a blur. I hear about women who work and come home to relax and be with their families, and I think, "What am I, nuts?"

I remember when I was in middle school. My mother had never finished high school, and she decided that she was going back for her equivalency diploma. For months, she drove to Cleveland (which I know was a bit nerve-wracking for her), and she studied for the test at home. The night she took the test, she called from a pay phone to tell me she had passed and she was bringing ice cream home to celebrate. She was proud of her accomplishments and her ability to persevere.

I guess that event drives me to finish this degree. So here I go. I'm off to open the revisions my advisor made to my chapters.


1 comment:

Anita said...

I also believe you'll finish it.

Years ago, I had a revelation. The things that we "really" want to do, we do it.

I've had some dreams and goals that did not come to fruition. My excuses were: not enough time, exhaustion after working a job all day, fear of failure, lack of knowledge, etc.

Now, at 53, I'm honest with myself; I just don't want certain things "bad enough." If I obtain them without the struggle, yes, I'd feel good, but will things happen that way? Probably not.

It's interesting how I can sit at the computer every time that I can steal 15 minutes, reading and writing blogs. I love it!

I suppose it's the passion that drives us.

You have it. Your mother had it. Whether it's the end of this year or next, you'll finish...Doctor :)

This is the end of my dissertation. :)