Just Beginning Your Dissertation? In the Midst? Defended and Degreed? Doesn’t Matter—You Made It!
Updated: Dec 22, 2020
Everyone struggled in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic was unprecedented in our lifetimes, affecting all of our emotions, finances, schedules, and day-to-day routines.
As I saw up close, working with many of you toward your proposal and final defenses, doctoral students were especially affected. Instead of balancing your studies and dissertation efforts with jobs and families, you suddenly had to become homeschool teachers, responsible for your children’s educations and online learning schedules. You couldn’t carve out some quiet time by sending the kids to summer camp. You weren’t able to take a break from cooking by going out to dinner. You missed out on travel and vacations, weekend getaways with friends, and simple things, like going to the movies or museums. You missed out on holiday traditions with near and extended family. And that New Year’s Eve celebration you’re used to? Forget about it.
And still, amid all of these personal sacrifices, you had to continue with your research. Those of you conducting studies in schools suddenly found yourselves without sites, as schools shut down in March and all learning went remote. Participant and site observations were no longer possible. All of those in-person interviews you had struggled to schedule were out of the question. And the business-as-usual you had researched and prepared to explore was suddenly quite unusual. Businesses closed, people—many of them your participants—lost their jobs, and the economy went into a nosedive, with entire industries impacted.
But you did it. You persevered. You overhauled your studies, submitted updated proposals and IRB applications, and conducted your research. You defended your proposals and dissertations and received the honorarium you so rightly deserved. You overcame.
Despite the overwhelming challenges, you made it through 2020. You made it. And although the pandemic is still in our midst, hope is on the horizon. Bigger and brighter things await us all in 2021.
So, whether you’re at the beginning, middle, or end of your doctoral journey, know this: You can do it. You did it. And I, just one among many, am immensely proud of you.
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