For this post, I am sharing my experience about the dissertation grind! I officially started my dissertation in December 2018, and have submitted one chapter so far. What has become evident for me is how different it feels to be in this particular phase of my academic journey. While I have been a doctoral student for four years now, it really all leads up to this point. It feels great to have advanced to this part of my journey as it signals that the finish line is getting a little bit closer, but it also means that there is so much more work to be done by me and me alone. While you are taking classes there is a certain sense of community because you are reading and discussing the same readings and topics with others. However, when working on your dissertation, it is mainly you (and your advisor every couple of weeks). As such, you have to re-learn how to navigate your space.
The dissertation journey is very different from other academic experiences. While taking courses, you often complete readings and then write a final paper in which you receive a grade a few weeks later. When working on your dissertation, your submission is never complete on the first submission and you have to work your way through the revision process. Simply put, dissertation writing is completely different than coursework writing. For this reason, it helps to connect with others going through the same process. This semester I joined a dissertation writing group which provides a time and space for me to work and also connect with others who are in a similar place. Whether you join a formal group that meets weekly as I did, or create your own writing group with friends, I definitely find this to be a beneficial tool that is allowing me to make progress through the dissertation grind.