The dissertation is DONE! And, I only nearly cried once.
My supervisor, previously the Dean of the U. Edinburgh Business College, has a characteristically British dry sense of humor and scathing sarcastic wit. Earlier in the program he facilitated a competition between several departments; we formed teams to simulate businesses, then in a 2-hour marathon competed against each other to produce greeting cards.
The winners were welcomed to the stage to receive his highest praise, and then the losers were invited to do the same...receiving the most humiliating public shaming ever endured. Producing a package of Polo candies, which look like this for the non-UK readers...
he proceeded to explain that this was the only item he could think of with more holes than their failing business plan.
Even from my seat safely tucked away in the middle of the auditorium, it was painful.
So, I knew he wouldn't hold anything back in providing "feedback" on my work. I'm a glutton for punishment, and this was the best decision of the entire semester.
Explaining his insistence that I identify a research question before reading anything, he shared a metaphor. "Laurah," he admonished, "Your research question is like a compass. The library, and the research databases it contains, are like the woods. If you go into the woods without a compass, you're going to get lost."
He encouraged me to frame my question in plain ol' English, and we settled on this: So, how do college students actually find their career paths?
I then proceeded to spend the entire summer immersed in my favorite topic ever, reading research in beautiful cafe's across Edinburgh.
And you know what? I love it even more now.
I can't wait to turn this dissertation into some fun content here at B+B.
Thank you for your patience with my long study break.
PS: Oh! Right! The only time I nearly cried was when he told me I needed to stop writing the lit review and move on to the next section.
Whaaat? I'm sorry, but whose dissertation is this? :) :)
I explained, through quivering lips and misty eyes, that the final section on iterative decision making was essential for my professional growth, sent him an updated draft the next day, and he acquiesced. At 35, I don't apologize for being a humungous nerd anymore.