Wednesday, July 22, 2009

All That Remains Is The Dissertation

In order to secure a doctoral degree, one has to progress through a series of steps. For me, a huge portion of work is behind me, but I still have plenty to do. More specifically, I have to finish the final paper, which we call the dissertation.

As of yesterday, I began the first day with my mentor. The class is labeled DOC 733. This is actually the second time I am taking it. According to the University of Phoenix, doctoral students are required to continue with this course until the dissertation proposal is approved by the IRB. The proposal consists of three chapters. Chapter one is the introduction, chapter two is the literature review, and chapter three is the methodology. Based on documents given to me, the average size of a proposal is around 60-115 pages.

Clearly, this appears to be an overwhelming project. Throughout the past year, the University advised us students to read journal articles and prepare the proposal. In fact, over a year ago there were some that already submitted their proposals and achieved IRB approval. Me? Well, I was far too busy trying to finish my coursework.

Today, I am looking at this paper thinking the journey of a thousands miles begins with one step. If I can only look at the project as a bunch of tiny tasks, then in time the job will get done. To support this belief, I submitted to my mentor a plan of action. Based on the eight weeks I have left in this course, I figured that writing 500 words a day would give me around 3,500 (or 7 pages) a week. That seems doable, right?

As of this post, I haven't written anything new. I told myself that if I can only wake up at 3 am each morning, that would give me a few undisturbed hours to read and write. I also recognize that weekends provide valuable gems of opportunity, maybe I can get ahead.

I am optimistic. I believe I can finish the proposal within this course. Although, I cannot control how long it will take for the IRB to review my submission. In any case, I figured telling the world my goal would also help apply healthy amounts of pressure. If I succeed or fail, it will be in the public eye. Besides, whatever lesson I gain from the next eight weeks, I hope someone else will find inspiration and hope that they can do it too.

Until next time...

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Damond L. Nollan, M.B.A.

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