- denial: “I’m not really going to defend my dissertation proposal tomorrow. Nah.”
- anger: “I’ve already spent so much time on this! Why do I have to defend it and answer hard questions? Why can’t I just start the research already?” as well as, “I’m so darned sick of reading and rereading and this topic and everything to do with it. Have I graduated yet?”
- bargaining: “If I pass this proposal, I promise I’ll never procrastinate on a research project again. No, really. Also, I’ll give up coffee and chocolate… nah, just kidding.”
- depression: “I’ll never pass. It’s a dumb, irrelevant topic with a nonsensical research design and I don’t have the capability to perform the analyses anyway. No one will answer my survey and I’ll be doomed to be ABD and adjunct while eating only ramen noodles. I also can’t remember my own name at this point; how would I answer committee questions?”
- acceptance: “It’s going to be fine, it’s going to be over, and I will probably pass with a bunch of revisions to make. Life will go on, even if they completely change my topic or–heaven forbid–I become ABD. It’s really just okay.”
The final stage, not borrowed from the stages of grief like those above, is euphoria, usually fueled by delirium and unreal amounts of coffee: “It’s going to be GREAT and I’m going to PASS and I KNOW THIS STUFF, and I WILL ROCK IT.” This stage is usually followed up almost immediately by depression. It’s a vicious cycle.
I’ve been looking at this material so long that I’m starting to think ANOVA would make a good name for somebody. Anova Kardashian. Anova Smith. Anova Humperdinck. (Wait, does this mean I need more coffee or less?)