My Photo


  • Creative Commons License

« Didion on Cheney: No, It Ain't Pretty | Main | Why the South Lost; or Maybe, Why the North Didn't Win Sooner »

Thursday, 21 September 2006


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Kerry Higgins Wendt

Dissertation Fear #5: What you're writing is stupid, someone else said it first, the both of you are wrong and they'd all be laughing at you if they deigned to read your writing, or it ever crossed their radar, in the first place.

Scott Eric Kaufman

The game is afoot! Let's see if we can't reach 1,000.

N. Pepperell

I know I've posted about this here before, but:

Dissertation Fear #6: Everyone else already knows what you're writing about.

Dissertation Fear #7: Everyone else thinks that what you're writing about is so obvious that they cannot even fathom how it possibly took you years to understand it.

prefer not to say

Dissertation fear #8: If you re-read your own work, you will discover you haven't been writing in complete sentences.


Dissertation Fear #9 You 'know' you're NEVER going to make your deadline anyway, why bother!

Disseration Fear #10 Oh Jesus; I've even got writer's block trying to write a disseration fear

Rich Puchalsky

I can add a few that helped to make me ABD:

Dissertation Fear #11: Your dissertation serves no useful social purpose.

Dissertation Fear #12: When you look back at your dissertation later in life, you'll wonder why you spent the time of your (relative) youth doing that.

Dissertation Fear #13: Since you've not really going to work in your field anyway, your dissertation will be the last thing you publish in that field. Which, face it, is pathetic.

Dissertation Fear #14: Since you're not really going to work in your field anyway, your entire degree (as opposed to whatever you learned) is really of no more value than some business major's resume-stuffing MBA. However, yours is actually of less value, since a Ph.D. will *prevent* you from doing certain jobs.


Re: "Dissertation Fear #11: your dissertation serves no social purpose"

I find that mine's a great icebreaker!!

When conversation stalls, what better than a well timed "Really, your house is worth that much? Me, I do early medieval history! woohoo!" to rev 'er up again?


You know what guys? these aren't dissertation fears. They are academic work fears. Wait until you're trying to get tenure.

Scott Eric Kaufman

Which means, I suppose:

Dissertation Fear #15: This is not the end, but only the beginning.


I did an all nighter a few weeks ago on the diss, to get off a 25k word chunk to the supervisors. It can be a useful writing device if judiciously deployed as it produces an atmosphere of enabling urgency (rather than an urgency producing an all nighter).

Rodney Herring

Dissertation Fear #15: What you're writing is stupid; someone else said it first; and if you keep reading, you'll find out who. But if you keep reading, you'll never write. But if you write and someone's said it and you didn't know, you're an idiot. Because someone knows who said it, and if they haven't told you, it's because you've asked the question the wrong way. So you read. But you can't concentrate because you should be writing. Or submitting a proposal. Or finishing that cover letter so you can resubmit that paper. No, wait: if you just read this one last book, then you'll at least know that this author didn't say it. So you read. No, fuck it. You may as well write because then you can always revise out the idiotic part that someone (who?) already said. Unless someone already said it the same way you were gonna say it, in which case your whole project's worthless. Ergo, why write? Etc., etc., etc., etc.

So you read blogs. And comment.

Mike S

Ya'll certainly know how to dampen the (apparently naive) enthusiasm of a first year grad student.

Alex Leibowitz

Dissertation Fear #16: What you're writing is stupid; someone else said it first; he said it better than you; and his name was Immanuel Kant.


Dissertation Fear #17: Your right leg is hollow, made of glass, and everything you eat goes into it.

Adam Roberts

Dissertation Fear #18: a violent syphilitic explosion will shortly occur and a roseolar rash will appear with absolutely complete alopecia.

Rich Puchalsky

Most grad students that I remember are extremely low-risk for syphilis, along with all other STDs.


Dissertation Fear #19: You forget your age and post "Four Reasons a 28-Year-Old Pulls an All-Nighter" instead of "Four Reasons a 29-Year-Old....".

Adam Roberts

Rich: "Most grad students that I remember are extremely low-risk for syphilis, along with all other STDs."

True. But alopecia, on the other hand ...

History Geek

Dissertation Fear #20: You never will get to the point where you have dissertation fears.

Dissertation Fear #21: By the time you start your writing your disseration someone will have already said what you are trying to say.


Dissertation Fear #22 All that funky theory just won't work! And you worry sound like an ass when you refer to just about anyone from outside your field.

The comments to this entry are closed.