Doctoral Student, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA

September 1, 2012

I was in the sixth year of my PhD program and hadn’t written a single word in months when I received an email announcement that someone called “The Dissertation Coach” would be speaking on campus. A bit grudgingly, I pulled myself out of bed — where I had been spending most of my time suffering from chronic depression — and went to the talk, where I heard Alison Miller describe the experiences of graduate students who, like me, were overwhelmed by the process of writing a dissertation. A few days later, Alison set me up with Rebecca Schwartz-Bishir, who has been my coach for the past three months. At a time when I was ready to quit altogether, Rebecca reminded me why I had come to graduate school in the first place: to learn, and to share my ideas with others. In just a few short weeks, I went from writing nothing at all to writing every day. By breaking down what seemed to be an impossibly huge project into manageable 30-minute tasks, Rebecca showed me how to use my time and energy in a healthy and productive way. I now feel confident that I will complete my dissertation this year, and I truly believe that I would not be where I am today without Rebecca’s guidance and support.