Every month the graduate college here puts out a newsletter about how to get funding for graduate school. For the month of March it is all about getting the funds you might need to write your dissertation. The newsletter starts with:
An Introduction to Dissertation Support
The dissertation writing stage can be difficult in many ways for graduate students (and everyone in their immediate vicinity). This newsletter will give an overview of where to find financial help, for other kinds of assistance please contact your adviser, friends, family, priest, rabbi, or psychologist.
Which made me laugh in its blunt truthfulness of the situation.
It then said to start with you need to list all of the resources you need to write your dissertation, giving examples of resources beyond just money. And that seemed like a good idea. So here’s the list I’ve come up with.
- Two computers at the same desk. That way I can look at my references on one screen and write on the other.
- At least three hours a day, although five would make me feel better. Good luck finding this with work and my other commitments.
- A clean environment. At least in the immediate vicinity of the desk I’m at. Cluttered space makes my brain feel cluttered. This might result in the longest my desk area will ever be clean at the same time ever.
- Less stress. I know. Pipe dream. But it said to list all the resources I need. If I could remove stress in all the other areas outside of the dissertation that would be fine. But it has lead to Brett rather strongly suggesting…
- Daily yoga. After I inadvertently woke him up at 3am Tuesday when my body was suddenly so tight and sore that I couldn’t sleep and had to get out of bed to do middle of the night yoga to stretch me out enough so I could go back to sleep, he’s been helping me remember to do yoga before we go to bed rather than after we’re trying to sleep.
- Health. Because going to the doctor all the time is just one more thing I don’t want to have to schedule. Among other things, someone needs to tell my kidney stones that now is not a good time for them to be moving around.
- SPSS. It’s a statistics program. Because there’s statistics involved in all of this.
- Munchy foods, preferably health foods, foods that I can just sit and munch on while I’m sitting at my desk with two computers.
- References. I’ve actually fallen down a bit of a rabbit hole on this one. Every reference leads me to more. I need to stop it already.
- Data. I’m actually half way through the second round. I’ll have all my data collection finished the first full week of May. Yea!
That’s five checked off, and two more (yoga and munchies) in an ongoing checking off stage. Not too bad considering that the other three are more time, less stress, and better health. And I think all three of those are related. Pulling the string of one will pull the other two with it. And I think the easiest string to pull would be time. Which means it’s time to see about cutting out all nonessential things taking up my time, as long as doing so doesn’t also increase my stress.