Unrealistic expectations are public enemy #1 for dissertators. What brilliant mind can withstand 6-10 years of daily failure?
In my experience, setting realistic goals cannot happen in a vacuum. The advice of a dissertation support group, adviser, or friend can help the deflated graduate student pat her herself on the back and take a well-deserved bubble bath.
Receiving precious help does no good, however, if you develop secret goals. Last week, I told my Dissertation Support Group member The Future Doctor Gale that I wanted to read one book and write a draft of a grant application, in addition to preparing for a translation exam. She said that I had ambitious goals, and warned me that they might be too much for a single week. I ignored her advice and made extra, secret goals. I planned to type up a towering pile of notes, organize my desk, and clean out my in-box.
Not too surprisingly, I didn’t accomplish my secret goals or my stated goals. Plus, I felt panicked and miserable. I’m all for dreams and imagination and positive thinking. But indulging in secret fantasies about turning out a perfect chapter in one draft that wins a major award and results in universities offering you jobs before you even apply is going to turn you into the sad, miserable failure that you never had to be.
Good blog ppost