New Member - Sharing Story - Seeking Support
Hello to everyone,
I'm a chronic procrastinator. Although I procrastinate in every aspect of my life, the impact has been most devastating to my pursuit of a doctorate. I was in a doctoral program in educational psychology and was kicked out twice for lack of progress. My procrastination got really out of control when I realized it was time to begin my candidacy research project. I was able to complete all of the coursework but didn't pass one portion of my comprehensive exam and didn't complete my dissertation. I began a different doctoral program (in psychology) in October and once again I'm procrastinating. The course in which I'm currently enrolled ends on Dec. 24, and there are 8 assignments due. However, I haven't even completed the first assignment. I think my procrastination (related to my studies) stems from a fear of failure, burnout (I was in the first doctoral program for about seven years), difficulty with the writing process (lately I find it somewhat difficult to express my thoughts in writing). I don't know if I'll be able to make it through this doctoral program. Although I have hope that I will, I feel quite overwhelmed at this time. Any thoughts, comments or insight would be greatly appreciated.
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I can relate to the problems you've described. It took me 7 years to finish my doctoral program. I breezed throught the course work but then drug the dissertation out for about 5 years. I finally finished after hiring a dissertation coach. It is very overwhelming, but try to take things one step at a time. It's a lot of work and it's challenging, but you can do it!
It's reassuring to know that others have struggled through similar issues and managed to be successful. I'll certainly consider a dissertation coach (if I ever get to that stage again).
flexiblefine, scarlett, and movingalong,
Thank you so much for your comments and insight. They're all very helpful. Scarlett, I really like your suggestion of focusing on starting things rather than finishing them. By the way, I did my first check-in this morning. I think this strategy will be a great help for me.
sending out hope to pookie
I am still struggling with undergraduate schooling. I cannot even imagine what you are going through. Just sending a "welcome" to you.
And, you might get a laugh out of this:
I like what scarlett posted ... don't think about finishing. Just keep on starting.
Welcome! Please take time to read some of the articles, if you haven't already. There's a lot of good information. Also, many of us post our to-do lists and progress in the "Check-in" threads of the forum - click here to be taken to that area.
It can be very helpful to share your daily plans with peers and get encouragement that way - you may want to give it a try.
One concept that I'm currently using is "just keep starting." Instead of focusing on what needs finishing (SO OVERWHELMING), I try to keep starting things as many times as is necessary. This concept is also helpful since I struggle mightility with transitioning from one activity to another. Maybe you could pick an assignment and "just keep starting" it?
Good luck, and welcome to you. You are among people who understand.
What support is available on campus?
From the reading I've done, procrastination is a very common thing at colleges and universities. In "The Now Habit," Neil Fiore mentions Ph.D. students who had worked (or not worked) on their dissertations for over ten years.
I think it's probably hardest on doctoral students, since your dissertation is essentially your masterpiece -- the one thing at the end of the program that you are completely and thoroughly judged on.
Go to your university's counseling center and see what kinds of help are available to you. You will not be the first case of procrastination they've seen. I don't know if you have the time or ability to do a semester's worth of work in a month, but you won't be able to break the cycle without changing the way you handle this kind of pressure.
You didn't get into this situation overnight, and you won't get out overnight either. But taking action to change your habits will pay off if you stick with it.
flexiblefine - Re: Support Available on Campus
I currently live outside of the U.S. (due to my husband's work); therefore, an online program was really the only option for me. I'll look into any type of support they can offer.
For most or all of my life, I have struggled with other issues as well, such as inattention and lack of concentration. I recently made the decision to undergo psychological testing to determine if my issues are possibly related to depression or ADHD. The results (which I should have in about two weeks) will hopefully help me with an appropriate plan of action.
Online does make it tough
An online program does make it tough. I completed my long-delayed bachelor's degree online, and now I'm in an online MBA program, so I know how the situation works.
Is there a university somewhere around you where you could call for guidance and information? Maybe they would have a list of services or resources that would be useful to you.
Even just going for psychological testing is a sign that you really are ready and willing to make a change. You're tired of the way things are, and you're looking for ways to make them better. Depression, dysthymia, and various ADD-related things do seem to run in the same behavioral neighborhood as procrastination, so you may find some good leads there.