How doctoral students can find more time, snag jobs, write more, and rap more on the way to their PhD | Issue 225

In less than 8 minutes, discover how to find more time, snag a non-academic job, blast past writer's block, and decipher the proposal process. . . plus get updated on activism in dissertations, campuses, and the streets.

Need more? We are here for you—apply for your own coach if you want to finish faster and enjoy the ride.

HOW TO FIND MORE TIME: APPLY THE FIVE D'S STRATEGY TO GET YOUR PH.D.

Think you don't have enough time to dissertate? Think again—but this time using the 5 D's. This update on the traditional 4-D time management model quickly shrinks a ginormous To Do list to more manageable size. Get out your academic and personal action lists and review each item. Decide which of these five D's you could best apply to create more time for your dissertation: Do, Delete, Delegate, Defer, or Diminish (the newest addition to the model).

Dyan Williams in her top-notch post describes and illustrates each "D" option. She also makes astute observations on how perfectionism, people-pleasing, and overachieving can get in the way of managing time effectively.

Editor's note: My ABD clients find it helpful to post the 5D list in a handy spot for applying to new tasks as they come up. Can you diminish the time spent on preparing lessons or meals? What about delegating formatting or laundry to paid services? What can you stop doing or postpone until after you finish? For peace of mind, keep deferred items in folders marked "Incubating" or "Someday/Maybe" and review these monthly.

 

CONSIDERING A NON-ACADEMIC JOB? BETTER READ THIS FIRST

 

Sarah Pike planned to teach college writing, earning a BA in communications and an MA in rhetoric along the way. But then she pushed the pause button while working on her doctorate to pursue unrelated jobs. Now she works in marketing—by choice—and shares her story plus tips in her post for The Muse, a resource-filled career website.

Pike clearly describes various transferrable skills from academia that you probably share but may not yet have identified. Follow her lead to create your own resume that will land you a decent job that you previously had no hopes of snagging. Here are just a few of the highly desirable skills you likely possess: doing research, public speaking, teaching, mentoring, planning events, increasing audience engagement, representing a brand in public settings, etc.

Don't forget, she stresses, to tailor each resume to the particulars of the job under consideration and to use your cover letter as a persuasive essay to make the case that your qualifications are highly relevant.

 

12 SIMPLE WAYS TO CONQUER WRITER'S BLOCK

The next time a blank page paralyzes you as you sit down to dissertate, try one of the twelve tips offered by Dora Farkas's blog post for Next Scientist, a website dedicated to helping PhD students stay motivated, graduate, and find a job in industry.

To get going, she recommends a writing support group, writing daily, writing first, writing about any aspect of your research, writing about the big picture, and writing an outline, among other things. You can read the complete annotated list here.

 

Editor's note: If none of those strategies work, consider getting your own coach.

HOW MANY RAP SONGS DOES IT TAKE TO GET A PH.D.?

 

The answer is 34.

We know this because A. D. Carson made history at Clemson in February by successfully defending his dissertation—a 34-track rap album titled "Owning My Masters: The Rhetorics of Rhymes & Revolutions." His unusual dissertation explored racism, the rap community, and aspects of black lives through music and video.

A seasoned campus activist, Carson earned his degree from the department of rhetoric, communication, and information design, reports the Chronicle of Higher Education. "I realized that there were lots of people who were in attendance at the defense who were moved by the messages, the music, and the engagement in ways that I hadn't considered," Carson told CHE.

"The project, which has already been referenced publicly by such leading scholars in popular music culture as Mark Anthony Neal, explores complicated questions related to the art, criticism and knowledge production in the context of the ongoing problem of global racial and class hierarchies within and beyond the academy," his mentor and former hip-hop musician, Chenjerai Kumanyika commented to the Clemson Newsstand.

Who said academics had to be dull or irrelevant? Experience part of his work here and here on YouTube. The latter garnered more than 10,000 views and sparked community dialogue at Clemson—situated on a former plantation worked by slaves. Bravo, Dr. Carson!

 

FOR BEGINNING DISSERTATORS: A SIMPLE ROAD MAP TO YOUR PROPOSAL

Getting a dissertation underway can be a daunting task, but www.scribber.com makes it easier with a very simple roadmap. They offer the skinny on choosing a topic, writing a problem statement, and structuring your proposal. You can check for plagiarism and generate APA-style references for free at their site, though other services come with a fee.

Also check with your own university—they may offer roadmaps, tutorials, and timeline templates. You can also take a look at our most recent issue, "Want To Get Your Research Question Approved Fast?" in the Recent Issues section at www.abdsurvivalguide.com.

SIGNS OF THE TIMES: STREET ACTION AND NEGOTIATING DELAYS

Earth Day dawned gray and rainy but scientists, graduate students, and folks ready to aid and abet science turned out in force in Washington, D.C., and other major cities for the March for Science, reported the Washington Post.

Thousands marched in support of politics-free scientific investigation, more research funding, and an affirmation of the value of science, countering the anti-science voices in the current administration and Congress

Meanwhile, inaction has become the order of the day at Yale, where administrators have delayed negotiating terms with new graduate student teacher unions. Some of the unionizers claim that the college is stalling in the hope that Trump's eventual nominees to the National Labor Relations Board will quash the emerging graduate student unionization attempts, reports the CT Mirror. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports a similar situation at Harvard.

How are politics affecting you as a grad student? Let us know.

 

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GAYLE SCROGGS, Ph.D., P.C.C., Editor, ABDSG. 
An accomplished coach, workshop leader, keynote speaker, and educator, Gayle earned her doctorate in social psychology from the University of New Hampshire. Her deep expertise in positive psychology allows her to help clients build their personal strengths, positive habits, and confidence to overcome procrastination, self-doubts and other blocks in order to reach vital academic and personal goals. In addition to editing the ABD Survival Guide, she contributed two chapters to the positive psychology anthology, Women's Paths to Happiness. Contact her at gayle@essencecoaching.com for coaching, presentations, and workshops on thriving in graduate school and beyond, and find free resource www.essencecoaching.com

BEN DEAN, Publisher, ABDSG
Ben holds a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. He began writing the ABDSG in 1997. Over the years, the ABDSG has published hundreds of articles and provided thousands of hours of pro bono coaching and teleworkshops to ABDs all over the world. Ben is also the founder of MentorCoach (www.MentorCoach.com), a virtual university focused on training accomplished professionals to become part-time or full-time coaches. You may wish to subscribe to the Coaching Toward Happiness eNewsletter! It's on applying the science of Positive Psychology to your work and life (131,000 readers). Ben lives in suburban Maryland with his wife, Janice, their two children, and Dusty, their Norwegian dwarf bunny.

 

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