P. S., PhD, Linguist, Chicago, IL

September 10, 2010

My experience with Alison was exactly what I needed to reach my goals. I met Alison in late May 2005, and went from feeling hopeless to handing in a final dissertation draft by December, and I had my degree in hand by March, 2006. I basically worked with Alison for 8 months. I had been ABD for a year, hadn’t made much headway on my dissertation, and was in a true funk. I had projects piling up, teaching demands and a few part-time work schedules to juggle in addition to my Ph.D. program and upcoming nuptials. I felt that everything was too daunting to finish, and I did not know where to begin. I was also losing faith in my ability as an academic researcher, and was in a pretty dark place-largely due to the pileup of work I had accumulated. Alison basically gave me two things: organizational structure and moral support. She helped me organize and prioritize my projects into smaller, more manageable due dates, made me feel as though it was possible to reach my goals, and validated my feelings. Her style is straight to the point, firm but kind- exactly what I needed. She is not the type of “life coach” one usually hears about- she has her PhD and works with intelligent professionals who are looking to keep sane as they reach their goals. She helped me come up with a schedule for my projects, and then checked up with me throughout the week, via email and by phone, to keep me accountable as well as to give me someone to talk to throughout the process. It was nice to have someone who understood what I was feeling/going through help me through the process.  Thanks to Alison’s help, I finished my dissertation (running all subjects, all data analysis, write-up, and defense) and graduated in March 2006. I was also able to successfully find employment and successfully plan a large wedding. I am now a married, employed woman with a PhD, who has much more confidence and faith in her abilities than I did before I worked with Alison.