Detachment - A critical phase in writing your dissertation
May 25, 2021
It is easy for doc students to become frustrated in the cycle of “revolving revisions”… especially as they approach the end of the doctoral journey. Chair and committee requests for revisions are often met with reluctance. Sometimes it's difficult for doc students to recognize the value in revisions, and there is a sense of resistance... that the work we are doing has somehow become a part of who we are. We are too close to our research. We have a deep feeling of connectedness to our ideas and the years of work we have accomplished. This is a painful (and natural) part of the dissertation journey. We’ve talked about perfectionism prison
before, and sometimes, this resistance is how it rears its ugly head.
So... how can we move past the frustration, the reluctance to accept when our committee requests revisions?
We do so, by aiming for detachment.
Eight weeks before my own dissertation defense, my chair had asked me to make (what I felt was) a major organizational revision before he felt comfortable sending the draft to my committee. At first, I felt the blood rushing to my head, and the tears started to fill my eyes…
and then, it happened.
A deep sense of detachment came over me, and I said to him, “I’ll do whatever it takes to get this done and move on with my life”. We were in a video call together. He smiled at me as if to acknowledge that I had finally reached the stage where I was done debating changes with him. “You are almost there…” he said to me.
My goal in helping my dissertation coaching clients is to get you to the detachment phase sooner. While each of you has something waiting for you when this is over… a professional promotion, a collegiate teaching career, a tremendous sense of accomplishment, achieving a personal milestone... the dissertation is a means to an end. We are not defined by this sole body of work. Once you can detach yourself from the work you are doing, each revision request met without resistance will get you closer to the finish line.
How many of you are there already? Are you ready (and willing) to meet revisions without resistance? How many of you are still struggling with this?
Keep Going. You've Got This!
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