That photo was taken just over 6 months ago. It was a few minutes after I successfully defended my dissertation. It was a thrill of emotions but also a little bit of an anticlimactic moment of being done.
After the defense people told me the feelings I would feel would be all over the map. They’re not wrong.
Where Are We Now
Now that we’re out 6 months from defending, I wanted to share how I’ve managed the time that I found when I wasn’t working on it every night. I also wanted to offer some tips to help anyone else who is on the path toward finishing their dissertation.
Five Tips for Finding A New You
Here are my tips. This is the order I worked through them. However, I think the order can work in whatever way is best for you!
First – Take a week and just enjoy it. I had a million things printed with Dr. on them, ordered new business cards, celebrated a bit. I needed to exhale all the stress and the nervous energy.
Second – Get a plan of what to do with your research. I had a great call with the amazing Liz Gross from Campus Sonar. She helped me think through did I want to pursue writing on my own, guest podcasts, and speaking. Or would I be more suited to think of this in an academic context. Truth be told, I love the first but do have a few more academic-opportunities cooking.
Third – Marketing basic here, but trust me– it’s the best time you’ll spend. Once you know what you want to talk about and how…. develop your content plan. I knew I wanted to create small articles on my website, so I developed a timeline with 6 months of content ideas. It has definitely changed as current events and other ideas have inspired me, but it is so helpful each week to have a sense of what to talk about.
Fourth – Find time each week to do something for you. I joined a gym. I used to love going but hadn’t had time. I also found a series or two (Jag and The Crown) to watch and made myself watch an episode or two a week. These really helped me slow my brain back down from the fast pace of dissertation. I’m still not there, but this definitely helped me!
Fifth – Make sure you say thank you. I took a strong assessment of my village and owed many debts of gratitude. It took me several months of coffees, notecards, lunches, and the like to make sure I properly recognized all the members of tribe who had supported me. I had an incredible village, and I finally had some time to honor them!
I’m going to try to keep following my own advice and see where we head from here. In the middle of this, I landed a great new role that I love, so that has definitely taken a bit of all that extra time I had.
Until next week! (After all, I have a content plan)