"By November of 2008, I had completed
two and a half years of course work, fulfilled the requirement of two research languages, passed three written qualifying
examinations and one oral integrative exam, and had an approved dissertation prospectus for my Ph.D. in Practical Theology. I also had a colicky four-month-old baby, a
part-time job, and an overwhelming sense that I would never finish my degree.
I contacted an acquaintance who I knew did
"dissertation coaching." She had gotten out of the practice, but recommended another site where people training to be dissertation
coaches took on clients as a practicum in the profession. This is where I met Janice. She first had me take an interest inventory to assess what my dissertation-writing strengths
might be. As it turns
out, my top personality characteristics (humor and a love of children) didn't really have much to do with the academic process.
Nonetheless, Janice encouraged me to gather my books and research something--anything. I avoided her advice for weeks, until
she started requesting actual written content from my research. If only to avoid guilt and shame, I started to actually read books, take notes, and form a plan.
I wrote hundreds
of pages. Many were
tossed out, and the ones that were kept went through countless rewrites.
I had to start over nearly from scratch about half way through. Still I wrote and edited. Still Janice coached me regularly, talking
me out of quitting more times than I can count.
Now it is 2011. My colicky four-month-old has turned
into a charming three-year-old and was joined by a baby brother in July of 2010. Though it took nearly three years, I finished my doctoral program. This is the best feeling in the world,
to have it finished. I
wanted so badly to quit--but Janice would hear none of it. She was always there, a phone call, text, or email away, to problem-solve, listen to me rant,
or to patiently and persistently check in on me when I was avoiding her.
Without her, I would not be where I am today. Believe me--if I can finish a Ph.D., so can you. As long as you listen to Janice." -Dr. Adrienne, Boston, MA