Friday, June 8, 2012

Talking about finishing

Sam was away for a while in Ukenzagapia, so this week was the first day I saw since since I decided to finish. I told him I want to finish a year from now. He asked me why, and I said that I thought I could do it and should do it. My GRF ends then, so that's convenient, but I'm not worried about getting continued funding into the next year if necessary. He said that a year is kind of short time to finish. We talked through my chapters, and I really only have one written right now. I've got to turn out 4 more chapters. Two are in the works for Best Project. The other two I've got everything left to do.

He said that if I can get the first chapter of Best Project submitted (to a very good journal) by mid-August, then he thinks I can finish in a year. If I don't get it done then, he thinks I'll have to plan a longer timeline for sure. This puts a fire under my ass this summer. Oh boy.

I think it was important to have this conversation with Sam now so he knows what my intentions are and can help push me (which clearly he is), and also help me think about what's next. There are two projects (including Best Project) for which I could try to create-a-postdoc (i.e. write a grant to fund myself), but I think I'd rather wait and see what comes up.

For those of you who finished a MS or PhD, did you have a moment when you decided to finish? How far away was it when you decided? How long did you think it would take and how long did it actually?


Anonymous said...

This is a great question, and very timely for me. I finished my PhD in an applied ecology last december, and since then have had a couple of friends ask me the same questions.

Right from the very beginning I always said that I wanted to get it done in 3 1/2 years... even when my supervisor and our lab manager laughed and said "you'll see". I'm pretty stubborn, so I set out a plan. While things did change, I still managed to get it all done in that time! I was very focussed and strategic... And limited the number of side projects I got involved in.

I still wasn't very sure that I could do it until about 4 months out from actually finishing... At that time I had a meeting with my supervisor and laid out my plan. I didn't reslly ask him if I could finish... But rather told him when I was finishing. Then it was just a case of putting my head down and getting it done!

Goodluck with finishing up... It's hardwork but definitely worth it in the end.

Karina said...

Good for you! Your advice sounds very similar to advice I got from my friends, who basically said, "I told my advisor/committee when I was going to finish." Thanks for sharing!

Alyssa said...

My timeline came about very much like Anon's - I just planned from the get-go that I would take no longer than 4 years. Again, I wasn't exactly sure of the specific timing until about 6 months before I finished. At that time, I drafted out a plan and gave it to my supervisor and committee, and they okay'd it. Like Anon, I told them I was finishing, I didn't ask.

The initial plan was to defend in August, but I actually defended in mid-July because my thesis didn't take as long to write as my committee thought it would!

Karina said...

Wow Alyssa, that's amazing and also very encouraging. The more stories like this that I hear, the more convinced I am that I can do this on my timeline :-)