In last week’s post, I provided an overview of what the dissertation defense is, and what my experience with it was nearly two months ago. This week, I want to unpack a part of my defense that, although virtually unheard of in my department, is common in others – defense presentations.
There are three main components of my preparation for this milestone in my graduate career: the outline, the slide deck, and the presentation.
Whether you’re preparing for a defense that is imminent or you’re in the early stages of your degree, I hope this post will be helpful!
There are a lot of examinations while earning a PhD. Many line up with major milestones of the degree. In general, these are: comprehensive exams, preliminary exams, and a thesis defense.
Of those, the defense was the most emotionally and mentally challenging.
The reasons why are summarized nicely in a blog post by Albert Kuo. Giving a public presentation, not wanting to disappoint anyone (especially your dissertation chair), and the unknowns of the closed-door session are all extremely anxiety-inducing.
In this week’s post, I’m revisiting that harrowing time in the hopes that it will help others going into this process for the first time.
Do you ever look back on your grad school journey and wonder how the heck you made it so far? Well, now that I’ve successfully defended my dissertation, that’s where I’m at.
I’m not sure how I made it through the last seven years. I do, however, have a better sense of what it took to finish the dissertation. In this post, I am sharing 6 things I learned in the last few months of writing my dissertation.
When I was applying to graduate programs, I attended two campus visits and they couldn’t have been more different from one another.
One was an “accepted students weekend” – less of an interview, more of a get-to-know-the-program situation. The other was more of a full-blown “interview” – my days were a mix of meetings with faculty, heads of departments, and informal socializing with students.
It’s helpful to know what kind of weekend you’re getting into before you go.
In this post, I talk more specifically about preparing for an “interview” weekend, but a lot of this advice will be helpful for any kind of recruitment situation.
It’s no secret that Notion has become a popular digital tool over the past few years – a quick search for it on Youtube yields thousands of videos. Most of them praise the app and offer detailed tutorials and aesthetic templates.
But is it better than Google Calendar? Would you use it? Should you?
In this post, we’ll compare Google Calendar and Notion. We’ll go over the strengths and weaknesses of each, so that you can make the best choice for you. After that, you’ll (hopefully) have a better handle on all the things going on in your (personal and professional) life.
Given the choice between Scrivener, Microsoft Word, and Google Docs, which would you choose?
Institutions are pretty strict about the format in which a thesis should be submitted. However, there are no rules about what word processing application you can use during the writing process.
How you decide which application to use depends primarily on your budget, your writing style, and what features you need.
In this post, we’ll compare Scrivener, Microsoft Word, and Google Docs. We’ll go over the strengths and weaknesses of each, so that you can make the best choice for you. After that, your thesis writing process will (hopefully) be smooth sailing.
Another year, another grad school interview season underway.
This is (I think) the first year that my program (archaeology) and our department (Classical Studies) have decided to go their separate ways for recruitment. Last week was the department’s; in a few weeks will be my program’s.
I figured that now was as good a time as any to breach the subject (again). In case you missed last year’s installment, you can check out the first five questions I suggested here.
Last year’s post was centered primarily around considerations for BIPOC prospective students, including questions about interdisciplinarity, DEI approaches, and institutional support.
This year I thought more about questions that dig deeper into structural issues, such as pedagogical training, time to degree, and financial support.
A quick reminder: although some questions may seem best suited for faculty interviews, don’t forget to talk to current students! Current students are just as (if not more) valuable as sources of information about grad programs. And don’t just ask younger students – talk to the older ones, too!
Raise your hand if you’ve ever had technical difficulties while giving a presentation.
How about if you’ve ever been given the five-minute warning from a session presider? Or if you’ve ever been asked a question in the Q&A that you didn’t have the answer to?
The unfortunate reality is that the possibilities for things to go wrong during a conference presentation are endless. I’m sure any seasoned veteran can confirm that they’ve experienced at least one or two over the years. I’ve been there, too. You know what we all have in common?
We got through it. And you will too. Your chances of getting through it are exponentially better if you do the following seven things.
A few months ago, I described what scholars of the ancient world needed to sacrifice to make the field more inclusive and equitable. One of those things was feeling the need to be an expert in everything.
It’s not easy for any of us to admit when we don’t know the answer to something. Part of this hesitation, I think, stems from the high-pressure, high-stakes structure of our graduate education.
For those of you who are new here, the hidden curriculum includes a set of things we’re expected to know how to do, from attending a conference for the first time to applying for funding to going on the job market, without actually being taught them. This month I’m talking the dissertation prospectus: what it is and how to write it.
Congratulations, you’re a PhD candidate! You might be either celebrating the fact that you are done with exams and coursework or tentatively wondering, “Now what?” (Or both.)
While you are definitely free from the constraints of courses and teaching, there still remains one final hurdle before you’re really free (aka ABD): the dissertation prospectus. In this post, I offer some general guidance for navigating this onerous and often inadequately explained requirement.
As with everything, the timeline for writing and submitting the dissertation prospectus may vary somewhat from department to department. However, in general, there are certain steps that you usually must follow before officially changing your email signature to include “ABD” (all but dissertation).
These steps are, roughly:
Assemble dissertation committee, including deciding on a chair or co-chairs, and submit through appropriate channels
Consult with committee members about dissertation topic and possible approaches
Draft dissertation prospectus
Defend prospectus (aka meet with your committee members to discuss your draft)
Complete revisions and submit prospectus to department for final approval
This post focuses primarily on writing the prospectus. If you want to know more about how to approach other steps in this process – such as how to choose who’s on your committee or how to prepare for and what to expect at a defense – let me know!