For anyone who has never been ABD

I took my qualifying exams in May of 2007, which in the system here means that after I passed, I was given permission to begin working on my dissertation. Since then, I have tried out various topics, theories, and approaches, finally settling on something I am happy with. Then I had to do all the research to support the thesis I had developed, and I am still finding holes in my logic and thinking, places that need to be shored up with more research. Now I am also in the writing phase, and am building up confidence that I do have something to say, and that I know what I am talking about, and that the dissertation will be good.

Some people give up at this stage. Some people think to themselves that they have done enough thinking about this one subject, and they are ready to move on. I could do that, I could just push the dissertation aside and take a job. Or, I could abandon the dissertation and start working on another project, a book on a different topic or something more creative.

But I have always been the kind of person who insists on building upon the accomplishments of my past. I went to college because I had good grades in school - it was not the other way around. I thought to myself, "Well, I did all that hard work to get honors grades, I guess I better go to college so that work proves to be useful somehow."

So maybe this explains why I am not so willing to just forget about my dissertation and go do something else more fun. I simply insist that all the years of hard work I have put into it pay off somehow. How exactly I do not know, but somehow.


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