The Grind: Your 10 Reasons to Finish That DANG Dissertation!

Many of my friends know about my “10 Dissertation Cognitions.” In 2006, I typed up 10 reasons to finish my dissertation on a single sheet of resumé paper. Last week, a more recent GFF (aka Grad Friend Forever) told me that she actually made her own and posted it in her office as she’s racing to the finish line next spring. I thought that I’d finally share this tip publicly.

I kept the list posted  in front of  my desk. I’d glance at it every now and then for inspiration, especially during those times of “writer’s block.” I wrote each cognition in a different font in order to at least make it visually interesting (it was on my wall for three years). I’d put an expected completion date underneath the title. I’d change the date every few months when I fell behind (i.e October 15, 2007, summer 2008…). Unfortunately, every goal took longer than expected, but having the schedule kept me pressing forward.  I like to share this with folks because I think one should always keep in mind why one bothers with continuing, especially when it gets tough (i.e. baby, family health crisis, relationship trouble, etc.). I’ve had my share of struggles (See “I was a poor black kid…”), and I was not going to give up so far in the game (See “From poor black kid…to Art Historian?!). Ultimately, when you decide you want to finish, you’ll finish. You’ll know when you arrive at that place. You’ll do everything in your power to get it done: extra babysitting for your little ones, writing through the weekends, staying up late and/or getting up early. In the meantime, write a schedule. Then, ultimately, just write!

If all that fails, a different GFF, Associate Prof. Adrian Duran, just reminded me of our advisor’s wisdom about finishing the dissertation:

“It’s a hoop. Jump through it and you can start the rest of your life.”

~Ann Eden Gibson, Ph.D 

(Ok, so it also really helps to have a brilliant, supportive advisor)

Nikki A. Greene

Dissertation Topic:

The Rhythm of Glue, Grease and Grime:

Indexicality in the Works of Romare Bearden,

David Hammons, and Renée Stout


 The Rhythm of Writing My Dissertation: Why It’s Important that I Write…and Finish!

  1. When completed, my dissertation will be very good.
  2. Reading and writing about my topic is fun.
  3. This time is precious, and I will use it well.
  4. I wrote a good Masters Thesis, and so I know I can write a dissertation.
  5. I’m preparing a wonderful, diversified career for myself.
  6. The more work I do on the dissertation now, the more fun I will have with our baby.
  7. I will be Dr. Nikki A. Greene, and I will therefore have my own identity that will help me become a better, more fulfilled mother.
  8. I will enjoy a tremendous sense of completion and accomplishment.
  9. Completing my dissertation will please Simeon (my husband), and it will be a source of pride for both of us.
  10. LEGACY: I am setting an example for my children and my entire family.

If you come up with your own set of cognitions, I’d love to hear about them. Even one or two could inspire others. Please share!

Part of my LEGACY checking out a final draft of my dissertation, March 2009

Click here, for more about being on The Grind.

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