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Doctoral Journey Reflection W2

And we're back… I’ve been slacking a bit when it comes to writing my reflection posts, but it has been a crazy couple of weeks, to say the least. If you’re just joining, for my Doctoral Seminar course, I am writing weekly (or bi-weekly reflections) on various topics related to my doctoral journey. If you are browsing this space... enjoy! I will try to keep them real and authentic (one of my core values), and I hope you learn a little more about me. Let’s check out the past couple of weeks.

Reflect on your discussion with your MP about prelim, prospectus, and dissertation and how this impacted timeline development.

I usually have a standing weekly meeting that I have with my MP (Major Professor) where we talk about teaching, grading, consulting, and research. Last semester, with COVID, it was a bit spaced out and things were not normal. This semester, I made sure to have time on Fridays to meet with him every week, and so far, so good. I finally had the conversation about preliminary work and dissertation expectations, and I walked away from the meeting pretty stressed! I did not have any idea what I was doing, no questions planned for him, or timeline. I only had a small idea of a topic that I found interested in and would be willing to commit my next 18 months to read and write about.

For those that don’t know, a Ph.D. consists of about 2 years of coursework, and then 1 to 1.5 years of research. The dissertation is a required component that is original work that can sometimes result in a manuscript of up to 200 pages long! Before you can start your dissertation project, you have to reach

“candidacy.” There are many ways to reach this and it depends on your department and MP. For me, I don’t have the common “comprehensive exams” approach. To be a Certified Mental Performance Consultant, there is already a big exam that you have to pass, so this (in a way) acts like that. And it’s a good thing I have taken that CMPC exam and passed! My MP wants me to conduct an original study (on a smaller scale), collect data for it, and write a paper that can be submitted for publication to a scholarly journal article. Sounds easy, right? Ha! This picture shows how I feel about my research process currently!

Before this meeting, I was not carving out the time of my schedule to read or write for my research, but after this initial meeting, it lit a fire under me! I remember asking my MP, “What do you think about timelines? When do you want me to have my preliminary research completed?” Damon laughs, and says, “Well, I hope you don’t want to be here for too long!”

That was his answer… I felt lost, and that’s when the weekend meltdown started.

I began scheduling time in my Outlook calendar to begin brainstorming, using my home office whiteboard to write things down, and I did a ton of reading. I also never have created a visual long-term timeline before, and my doc sem class taught me to create and use one (thank you, Dr. D!). To you, this picture of a simple excel sheet might look minor and/or non-impactful. But I can tell you that this has been my accountability partner for the past 2 weeks. And, some of these dates are just projections and not set in stone, and that's okay! I know there will some things outside of my control, but all I can do is focus on the things within my control. I will FOR SURE be creating one for my dissertation and the remainder of my Ph.D. journey.

This is also part of the reason I haven’t posted in a few weeks. The last 12 days have been CONSUMED with my preliminary prospectus (a fancy term for small idea proposal). But I can gladly say that my prelim prospectus draft has been submitted to my MP for review! Now we play the waiting game for feedback and markups. Hopefully, my timeline doesn’t have to change too much moving forward!

The best is ahead,


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