(Vice Provost and Graduate
Dean at Ohio State University)
-- Love what you're doing -- but realize that passion for the subject isn't enough on its own to get you to the finish line.
-- Periodically reevaluate your personal and professional goals as well as your progress in developing the skills and qualifications you will need to achieve those goals.
-- From the beginning, set long-term and short-term dissertation goals. Help yourself realize that you are making progress by checking off achievements every day, even if those achievements seem insignificant (ordering necessary books from the library, reorganizing the notes for a particular chapter, and so forth). Recognize the small accomplishments and celebrate the larger ones.
-- Know your work rhythms and try to honor them. Be self-disciplined about setting aside regular times to work on your degree. Be equally self-disciplined about setting aside time for friends, family, exercise, and other interests that are important to you. Although you will almost certainly need to cut back in some areas in order to complete your degree, try to maintain balance in your life.
-- Engage your adviser. Don't avoid your adviser, even if you feel that you haven't made progress or have nothing to discuss. Frequent contact with your adviser will help you sustain momentum and address problems before they reach crisis proportions. Change advisers early in your program if the relationship does not seem to be working well.
-- Nurture good relationships with other faculty members, especially those on your dissertation committee.
-- Ask for help when you need it. If a
serious problem does arise, work with your
adviser or another trusted person to identify
and articulate the nature of the problem
so that you can seek appropriate
help. Universities provides a wide range of low-cost and free resources for graduate students.
-- Make sure that you are aware of all
program, graduate school, and university
requirements for graduating, including
requirements for filing the final doctoral
document. Get this information early, so
that you can plan appropriately.