My GCU boyfriend (as I call him), Todd, is my doctoral enrollment counselor. His only job was to enroll me in a program almost three years ago. Well....we clicked and have been in contact ever since. He calls to check on my progress and congratulate me for finishing classes, etc. I know that he has a twin brother, is working on his degree, just bought a house with a pool, etc. We have encouraged each other to keep pushing forward on a professional level. Well, about 2 months ago, he called to inform me that GCU would be having a "test" doctoral residency here in Atlanta and that even though I wasn't required to go (because I finished my required two in Phoenix last summer and the summer before), that I should consider getting involved. I emailed the lady in charge of setting it up and offered to assist. She responded and asked if I would like to participate in the Emerging Scholars Conference and speak to the group of about 75 attendees about my experience in the program and words of wisdom that I had to offer them. Of course I said yes!!!!
So on Monday, I drove to the hotel where it was being held, ate dinner, and had the opportunity to speak. Three of us spoke and I went last. The two ladies before me just finished their doctoral journey so it was inspiring for me to hear them. I offered the perspective in between the attendees journey and those that finished. First I told them about myself and what I did for a living. Below are some of the points of advice or nuggets that I offered them:
- You will get finished.
- Celebrate small successes.
- Make sure your family and friends understand what you are taking on...you will need their support.
- View your paper as 5 small research papers as opposed to one large dissertation.
- As you are progressing through your classes, write towards your topic. That way, when it comes time to write your dissertation, you will have a list of resources to pull from.
- Find a few dissertations that you love that are based on your topic and pull references from their reference pages.
- Block out time to write (ie. every Sunday afternoon).
- Never take too much time off from your research and writing...you'll get too far behind.