Doctoral Student, Los Angeles, CA

July 24, 2012

I attended your dissertation workshop about a week before beginning writing my qualifying exam, and some of the things Alison Miller, PhD said were very helpful to me in getting through the process. The two pieces of advice that were particularly helpful to me were:


1. The “warming the pool metaphor” – I was thinking about how to make my work environment and work-time most productive and efficient by planning ahead.

2. Remembering that the process is about learning, not about proving myself. I tried to see the qualifying exam as a time for me to work through my thoughts and knowledge, and as an opportunity to receive feedback from my committee, rather than as a “test”.


When I was working and found myself trying to “escape” from difficult sections, I remembered that I’m facing a challenge, and tried to engage with it rather than escape it. These ideas helped me get through the 10 days of the qualifying exam, and already are helpful in preparing toward my defense – thinking of it as an opportunity to receive feedback and advice, rather than as “being grilled”.  Thank you for that, and I hope you keep helping many more students.