10.4.05

10 ABD must-haves!

In case your life doesn't revolve in some manner around academia, ABD is the (largely North American?) acronym for "All But Dissertation". Here's my take along the lines of a top-10 list:

1. A supportive family who both talk to you about dissertating and are part of the passion that brought you to this journey in the first place. Most importantly, they know and remember that you need to be loved no matter how cranky and depressed you get in the process.
2. A dissertation project that starts from the funny-in-your-tummy and that you don't mind living and breathing from now until whenever. Unless it's an idea, a commitment to which you want to give your heart and soul it just isn't worth it.
3. A chair who gets as excited as you do about your green-points (my phrase for those thoughts that fall into my head about school/research stuff that make me go "woohoo!") and cares about your general well-being and sanity.
4. A larger dissertation committee in addition to your chair that is also extremely supportive and enthusiastic.
5. A larger, but not too large, epistemic community full of brilliant minds and fantastic people.
6. A network of close friends, irrespective of their geographic location in relation to yours, who you know will always be there to remind you of your life outside the PhD realm and drop themselves inside it without their arms being twisted.
7. A good book to read every night that has nothing to do with anything you're researching - well, at least not explicitly!
8. A source of funding other than loans that will let you write/field/dissertate uninterrupted, undistracted...unless you're one of those polychronic folks who can schedule every second of their waking existence and won't be depressed about the massive debt surmounted in your name before you've even turned 30.
9. The ability to survive without instant gratification....it's definitely a long-haul thing.
10. Faith, courage, perseverance, and, most importantly, passion.

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