September was a month of settling in to life in Lithuania and traveling – both for fun to Krakow and for work at the conference in Italy. (Okay, I’ll admit that Italy was fun too!) I did do some work on my dissertation. I had to finish writing the paper that I presented at the conference – and that paper is the basis for a dissertation chapter.
But today is the day that the real work starts. As of October 1, I am implementing a plan to complete a full draft of my dissertation by next summer. For the first three years that I was in the Ph.D. program, there was a fair amount of structure. I had to complete a certain number of course hours. I had a couple of required courses. I had to set up exam fields in four subjects and fulfill each professors’ requirements. After passing my comprehensive exams, I knew that I had to come to Lithuania to do research in the archives so that I could find documents.
But the writing part of the dissertation? There is an expectation that a doctoral candidate is progressing but no deadlines or structure set by the department or advisers in order to do so. It’s just up to me and my own self-discipline – which is, of course, why it is so easy NOT to write the dissertation. There is always something else that seems to need my attention. But I am determined to complete and I am looking forward to actually writing since this is what I love to do. So here’s to October 1 and the first day of the rest of my dissertation!
* Don’t worry – I’ll still have time to post photos and stories from my Italy trip.