It may simply mean that after considering your own personal motivations and goals, you decided this career choice wasn’t for you—and that you plan to use the skills you honed as a graduate student in other ways that are more suited to you. Unlike the elaborate study strategies you developed in order to pass your comprehensive exams, writing the dissertation will enable you to start developing a set of valuable research and writing skills.
Thinking analytically, synthesizing complicated information, writing well, and organizing your time will all serve you well regardless of the career you begin.
Unlike earlier course papers that just received a grade and were then shuttled off to a filing cabinet or trash bin, your dissertation can be used and revised for years to come.
On the other hand, it can be an end as well as a beginning—you don’t have to develop the dissertation beyond the completion of the degree if you don’t want to.
After all, the dissertation is the beginning of the end of a graduate career.
When you finish your dissertation, you have to change your life pretty dramatically —you may go on the job market, begin work as an independent scholar, develop classes, move out of a community that you have grown to love, and so on.Non-traditional theses or dissertations such as whole works comprised of digital, artistic, video, or performance materials (i.e., no written text, chapters, or articles) are acceptable if approved by your committee and graduate program.A PDF document with a title page, copyright page, and abstract at minimum are required to be submitted along with any relevant supplemental files.Through all this, ask yourself “What will make me happy? ” If you are too close to your own graduate school anxieties to think critically about them, visit campus resources that can help you sort out your thinking on this difficult and important issue.Your advisor or colleagues in your department may be able to help you if you have a good relationship with them.Exceptions: The first page of each chapter (including the introduction, if any) begins 2″ from the top of the page.Also, the headings on the title page, abstract, first page of the dedication/ acknowledgements/preface (if any), and first page of the table of contents begin 2″ from the top of the page.This independence can make the process seem very intimidating.When you embark on this large, independent project, you may begin to ask yourself questions about your future in academia.Other graduate students, especially those who are about to finish or have finished, may be particularly helpful.University counseling services may prove helpful as well.