I successfully defended my dissertation in August of 2011. When the defense was over, my advisor turned to me and said, “Congratulations, Dr. Docker.” I’ve got to say, that was one of the single greatest moments of my entire life. It was a long long long road to get to that point, but I’ve finally finished. To all of you out there working towards this goal, don’t give up, and don’t stop half way. To all of you considering doing this, it’s totally worth your time and all the trouble. YES, there will be a LOT of troubles along the way, but keep pushing, keep trying. I couldn’t have the job I have without the title (teaching at the University of Arkansas) and I wouldn’t be as happy as I am now if I had started and never finished. Totally worth it.
rkennethdocker's Life List
1. learn all 6 Bach Cello Suites
2. go to Scotland
3. ride the trans-Canada railway
4. adopt a child
5. become a tenured faculty member at a major university.
How I did it: I recently finished and submitted my dissertation for my Ph.D. It's a 180 page book. I did it with a lot of support, and a lot of sustained effort. It took 3 years, although I didn't work on it every single day during those 3 years. The writing was difficult, of course, but even more difficult was the editing process that I went through with my advisor and the committee. They were essential, not for the ideas… Read how I did it…
How I did it: Getting a PhD was one of my goals for a long long time. There are more steps to it than you can imagine, from getting good grades as an undergraduate, having the first inkling that you want to do get a doctorate, to getting accepted to a program, to taking exams to qualify, and moving to the school you plan to attend. And that's before your first day of classes. Once you're there there are hurdles and hurdles to clear, t… Read how I did it…
That’s all I’m saying right now.
I’ve begun work on my dissertation. It’s going really slowly. I need to focus. If I’m going to finish this program then I have to finish the big diss. My advisor told me the other day, “the only good dissertation is a done dissertation. That’s what I want. It just seems so far away, so I have to keep telling myself, one step at a time. Get a little bit done every day. Those little bits will eventually add up to a big something. It just seems a bit hopeless right now, thinking about how much there is to go, when I don’t even have a working title yet, just an ever growing list of titles for my lit review that I need to read, reference, and see how they all fit together. Yikes.
Two days of writing at the end of November- 6 hours each day, 9 essay questions per day. Then two weeks later (after my committee had time to process my answers) I was grilled by them about all the minutia of my answers.
Least expected question: “Tell me more about Janos Starker. What is he known for, in terms of repertoire and technique?” Sheesh.
But I passed. That’s all that really matters in the end, I guess. So now, it’s time to start to work, in ernest on my dissertation. I’ve got a topic, and have begun the literature review. Lets see how much I can get done in 2010.