Make it Work for You: Another Perspective on Graduate School
Graduate school is typically viewed as a three-stage process, comprising:
2) Qualifying exams; and
3) Dissertation/thesis writing
Most grad students don't have any difficulty with the coursework, as they're well accustomed to taking classes and receiving a grade. After the coursework is done, however, many students falter in the unfamiliar territory of the next two stages, particularly when it comes to writing their dissertation or thesis. Students can take months and even years to complete these final stages.
In my opinion, the key to avoiding this pitfall is to view these three stages not as isolated segments but, rather, as tightly inter-woven processes that connect and complement one another. For example, before you even begin the first stage of taking courses, it is highly beneficial to have at least a general idea of what you would ultimately like to research for your thesis or dissertation. If you wait to make this decision, all of the work you complete in your coursework will be simply to fulfill university course requirements. But if you've already pinpointed a general subject area, you can use every single course as a vehicle to explore your interest and, consequently, contribute to your end-stage document.
For more about Making Graduate School Work for You, click here.