August 22, 2005

Dissertations: Notice Your Successes

Lately I've noticed that as summer comes to an end, my ABD clients feel overwhelmed and down on themselves. There's a tendency for grad students to feel that they haven't accomplished enough on their dissertation at any time of year. It's particularly bad at the end of the summer.

After I pointed out their tendency to overfocus on what they hadn’t accomplished, one of my dissertation coaching groups decided that they would post what they had accomplished over the course of the summer. (I have a private listserv for each coaching group.) This turned out to be very successful – they had done a lot more than they thought they had. They all now feel encouraged.

I suggest you try making a list of all that you accomplished during the summer, big and small. This includes not only what you’ve written, but what you’ve researched, read, learned, figured out, realized, decided or changed. You might be surprised at what you’ve actually done!

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