This is probably a vague and weird question, but given the (years of) isolation of post-grad life, I hope people will be understanding of my need for affirmation and advice! ;-)
I have one month left before I have to submit my PhD dissertation, and I've set out as much time as possible to dedicate to completing it. But it feels like I've left too much work for this period, and I'm completely overwhelmed. Can anyone share what they think you should be doing/focusing on in the last month? I initially hoped to do only editing, but I still have some writing to do, and only about 90% of the research is done. Can I make it? More importantly, will this be enough time to submit something that will get me a pass with only minor corrections?
I know every project and person is different, and if someone is a strong writer I think this stage will be less stressful for them, but I would love to hear what other people are/were thinking at this stage. Any advice would be appreciated!
Do you mean last month before submission to your supervisors for approval, or last month before submission to university?
I'm submitting my final thesis to my supervisors by the end of June. I've written every chapter except my final discussion and I still need to do appendix, reference list and check everything over one last time.
I don't think I would have enough time to submit everything to my university by the end of June as I will still need supervisory feedback and then make changes before submission.
I'm in a similar position Ellebelle! I still have a data chapter to do analysis for and then write up, haven't done my discussion chapter yet, plus everything else is still in need of serious revisions! My final deadline is 31st Sept, but I'm training/working full time from the end of June onwards! But I do know of people who have been in similar or even worse positions and still managed to pass with minor corrections! My supervisor says he wrote his whole thesis in the 2 weeks before it's due, he doesn't recommend that approach but it can be done!
Wow these people are machines! I'm a slow writer (at best) so I won't be able to manage that! :)
But, like TreeofLife, I'm submitting for approval first so I guess that helps a bit. Although, it will take my supervisors a month to read it (their estimate) which only leaves me with two weeks til final submission. The other good thing is that they have seen most of it already, but earlier drafts of it - so hopefully, if I put in solid work now, I won't have too much left to do in those final two weeks. (Which will be hectic because of work and family stuff...)
Caro, sounds like we have similar things left to do, although I still need to do some serious work on my theory chapter as well.
Guess the best we can do is just use the time we have to do what we can... (Easier said than done though, whew I am really panicking!)
All the best to the both of you! And thanks so much for commenting - writing up is so lonely!
I'm very slow too! And I'm not confident in my writing, it usually needs a lot of modifications from supervisors, but I think I'm getting better, just slowly! I also have the attention span of a knat and it takes a lot for me to work on something for more than 30 mins at a time! I'm trying to get into the habit of using the Pomodoro technique when I'm struggling (a timer where you work for 25 mins and have 5 min break) and that really helps when I remember to use it.
I'm sure you are getting loads better - I'm so proud of myself when I compare the standard of writing in my research proposal with what I'm doing now - but sheesh it doesn't come naturally to me!
I googled the Pomodoro technique you mentioned and it sounds amazing - not only because I have a pretty short attention span too, but it seems like a great way to take baby steps. At the moment I'm so overwhelmed by the "big picture" of what I still want/need to do in the next month, it's paralysing me when it comes to actually getting stuff done. I'm going to give it a try tomorrow.
I have to say that this forum is a total lifesaver, it helps just to know other people are out there, dealing with (some of the) same stuff.
There is a free online timer called Tomato Timer that times you and has an alarm when the time is up which might be helpful too! I think small steps is the way to go! I remember being told to break everything down into the smallest steps possible and tick each one off as you go, it gives you momentum as you are always achieving something =)
I'm glad it's helping! I think I will use it today too! I was at my pt job yesterday so didn't get any PhD work done, so today I am trying to get my data analysis done and figures drafted for my last data chapters results. I'm having problems with some data having been mislabelled and so it's taking a while but hopefully I'll work it all out by the end of today! Good luck with your tasks today Ellebelle!
Thanks Nautilus! Where are you in the process?
Caro, hope you achieved what you set out to do last week? I'm a bit behind schedule after the weekend, but I've been making solid progress all morning.
Question: are you/were you guys able to tell when you moved from making changes that were fundamentally important to get the piece examined/passed to more superficial or cosmetic changes that were more subjective and "nice to haves" to make examination (hopefully) go smoother? Difficult to know how much is enough....
My data analysis is taking far longer than I wanted (as usual), there was problems with my database and it was hiding some of my data and now has spat it out all in the wrong format so it's going to take a whole day to sort =(
I hope you are having a better time of it!
I haven't got to that stage yet! I'm def still in the 'make this good enough to pass even with major corrections' stage. And I don't know if I'll have time to get it to the superficial stage! Your supervisors should be better at telling what stage you are in! Mine are quite vocal on the 'this won't pass, this will pass with majors' type talk hah!
My deadline is in a month, but I have applied for extension. Basically, I have generated lots of data. I have started a paper in late 2013... and it was really hard to write it. The topic has changed completely from the beginning, I had to get more data to fill the gaps... but now it was reviewed by my supervisors and its almost ready. I hope I can finish it by the weekend. I am always delaying :(
and then I have to write the rest, that is 2 or 3 more body chapters, I have produced data for all of them, and analysed (interpreted) the data. kind of "know what to do". However, there is almost no written text ready... I have learned a lot while writing this paper. and I really hope the writing for other chapters will be much faster.
Regarding your question. I would also recommend to ask your supervisors. What kind of deadline is it? Do you have 1 month before sending the draft to your supervisors? Sorry, if I missed it.
Caro, hopefully you can fix the data shortly. This must be stressful for you. Good luck!
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