While seeking advice on how to deal w/ my current low points related to doc program, found this info, thought it was interesting, thought I should share it w/ my fellow grad student friends and family, and also give insight into what I am going through:
-- It's not easy, but it does get easier to stand the isolation. You may not want to stand it, (and you shouldn't have to stand it). I didn't want to, but the inertia was there.-- My single best piece of advice is this: Barring extraordinary situations like test cramming and lecture preparation, there is a finite amount of work that you can accomplish in a given day. Figure out what this amount is and then budget for it. Wake up as early as you can and get it done. Then live your life.
--About 44,000 doctoral degrees are conferred nationally each year, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Although there are no hard figures, anecdotal evidence suggests that as many as half of all doctoral candidates never complete their dissertations.
Writing a dissertation is very isolating, students say. Advisers can be busy with their own work or don't offer the guidance certain students need. Even if the relationship with academic advisers is amicable, nebulous deadlines make it hard to be held accountable.
"You're basically rudderless out there on the big ocean by yourself," said Bari, who found her coach through an advertisement at her university.
The term itself -- Ph.D. -- is shrouded in a powerful mystique. Those three letters can be intimidating to the person pursuing them, symbolizing a high level of expertise and authority on a subject. The psychological barriers of perfectionism, procrastination and pressure keep many otherwise motivated people from completing their dissertations.
"I needed someone to kick my ass," said Bari, who turned down teaching jobs this year in order to concentrate on her dissertation, which she expects will exceed 300 pages.
Earning a Ph.D. takes an average of five years, but may take as long as 10. And years of frustration and lack of productivity can leave doctoral candidates forgetting why those three letters were so important in the first place.
"I thought about quitting many, many times," said Susan Neufeld, 32, who has been working on a doctorate in applied developmental psychology at Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, Calif., since 1998. "I would have fantasies of burning everything when I was done -- a big bonfire."