Thursday, July 28, 2016

A Clare Foland Farewell

I'd like to inform you that it's time for a change of hands in the Thesis Office. Mike’s and my assistantships are coming to an end, and two new GA's will introduce themselves to you in a couple weeks.

I know I can speak for Mike in saying that we have thoroughly enjoyed our time here. We worked hard to implement a service-oriented focus in the Office, as we were tasked to do by Carolyn Law, who has envisioned such changes for a long time but never had a staff to help.

The new GA's will undoubtedly come up with new ideas, but I'd like to leave you with a couple lessons I've learned, which may serve as simple reminders.

First, in my consultations with students, I have continually needed to refer to the Thesis or Dissertation Format Guidelines found on our website. Even working here, I sometimes forget certain formatting requirements, so I cannot stress enough to those who are just beginning their thesis or dissertation writing, and even to those who are winding down, to constantly refer to the appropriate guidelines and use the tools we have provided online. The more that you format your document correctly from the start, the easier your final preparation will be, even though you will still likely have some finishing touch changes to make.

Also, I have learned that formatting documents in Word can be frustrating (lol-you knew that). Here, all I can say is try not to let the frustration get to you. I know that's not much help, but I thought it couldn’t hurt to remind that you are not alone in these issues.

My greatest lesson involves advice we repeatedly give: just write. Write down any and all of your thoughts for a chapter or section, no matter how inelegant, unformed, disorganized, or badly phrased—get those ideas on paper. This has been the only way I have made progress, and I am now about half way through my dissertation draft. When I started here, I only had my proposal written. I actually then rewrote/re-framed my proposal to reign in, and restart, my thoughts before diving into a chapter. Next, upon advice from Carolyn Law, I “dared to be adequate”; that is, I literally slapped some drivel onto paper. (And I learned this new word, “drivel”!) Yet, as I worked along on that first chapter, it slowly started to shape up. I am continuing this practice, and it is the only method that works for me.

I have enjoyed meeting students from many disciplines and hearing about your progress, your studies, and your challenges. I feel privileged to have met and worked with a whole bunch of thoughtful people who care deeply about their projects, even knowing what they give up to get these theses and dissertations written. I wish you all the best in completing your work.

So, at the risk of sounding cheesy, I’ll leave you with the following saying: Keep Calm and Write On!

See you on Facebook, at Founders, and at the Write Place, Write Time sessions.


  1. You both will be missed but I am sure the new Graduate Assistants will be up to the task of following in your footprints. I'll look forward to the day when I see your name up on the wall for Defending their Dissertation! Write on!

    1. Thanks Bonni! We will keep in touch!


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