This week’s blog is about advice from a seasoned academic advisor (SAA). I wondered how that advice compared to advice Dr. Patti and I share on this blog. While the dissertation process (SAA calls it dissertating) feels like a mystery, it isn’t. When you start the process or when you’re deep in the bowels of it, you don’t know what you don’t know. You don’t know what questions to ask, what ideas are important, what a good research project looks like. And that’s the real mystery: When do you know what you know? When does the light goes on and your thinking starts to flow? When do you feel like you’ve got this?
Everyone loves a good story: a good story means good writing. Since Dr. Patti and I completed my doctoral journey, we’ve developed a new appreciation for writing. We earned our writing chops, but writing is an evolving skill.
For example, I push myself to try different forms of writing: blogging, academic, copy writing, drafting proposals for conferences and fellowships, and emails. But another form of writing that I see too often is bad writing. Let’s talk about why scholars need a clue about good writing.
In reality, we’re all bad at something, probably many things. For example, I’m bad at cooking, but I discovered how to bake a cheesecake from scratch. When I started my doctoral journey, I had no idea that writing could be so complicated. I wasn’t a bad writer, but I had bad writing habits. And writing is at the heart of your dissertation program. What can you learn from being bad at something?
Writing is a skill we need to practice. As a grad student or doctoral candidate, writing is at the heart of your plan. If you don’t write you won’t finish your program. I try to practice writing daily in my journal, and weekly for my blogs.
Last week, I read a blog about loss and the end of a dream. It was written by an academic who was struggling to re-invent himself. He was a talented physicist who described his 14-year journey from undergraduate to PhD to postdoc research. But suddenly the journey ended. He would not reach his dream of becoming a tenured physics professor. He was a failure.
Spring is in the air, pollen is flying and graduation is in bloom. This week many universities are in graduation or commencement mode. It feels great to finish your program, get out of school and start a new life. But now what??? Dr. Patti Mason and I are two years out of finishing our doctorate. Here’s a look at some realities for new graduates and where Dr. Patti and I are in 2017…
Dr. Bessie and I know that as a doctoral student, most of your time is spent pounding on the keyboard pouring out your heart and soul to complete your chosen topic. We are aware that if you do not truly love writing or your topic, it is impossible to keep focused. Continue reading “Your Passion: How to Write About It”