Questions to consider:
- What are the milestones/goals you've reached? How will you celebrate these?
- How will you thank family and friends who have witnessed and supported your work as a graduate student, scholar, and researcher in the making?
- Graduate school is a life changing endeavor with new sets of relationships each containing their unique communication and interpersonal glitches. How might you sift through resulting moments of regret, sadness, and grief so as to learn from, leave behind, or otherwise move into the next phases of your life without these as burdens?
- How will you mark the relationship changes with those who have as chairs, advisors, writing support group members, peer/co-researchers, and research study participants who have been central to this specific project but with whom you may have no future or a different future professional relationship?
- What next dissertation-related publications and presentations might you pursue in order to bring your ideas to conversations beyond local disciplinary circles?
- Looking at the big picture of graduate school, what feedback, mentoring, and professional conversations have you found helpful? Not helpful? What were the biggest ups and downs of the process? What of these would you like to hold onto in your own practise? What would you change so that the downs might be erased, the ups might be more regular?
Why to do this:
Doing this writing and coming back to it at key points in your early professional life, one recent dissertation finisher noted, "will help shape you into the advisor you'd like to be when it comes to directing dissertations yourself, and they will also remind you what it was like to be a graduate student finishing your dissertation." You will have reflected on this experience, set out ideas that can become an action plan, and planted a reminder of how the dissertation and graduate school processes feel from the inside. All of these will allow you to move gracefully and graciously into future professional roles. Putting off celebrations, thank yous, making new relationships of old ones, or dealing with regrets will not make for easier next steps.
Resources to consult:
SGS 901: Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
Adding Job Searching Resources
Transforming a Dissertation into a Book (a bibliography offered by UNC Press)