The Five Stages of Proposal

  1. denial: “I’m not really going to defend my dissertation proposal tomorrow. Nah.”
  2. 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?”
  3. 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.”
  4. 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?”
  5. 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?)


10 thoughts on “The Five Stages of Proposal

  1. Chris says:

    LOL… love you girl. You’ll be great, hugs are coming your way without delay! โค

    (BTW, you're still one of the smartest, funniest, nerdiest people I know and I love it. If the committee can't see that, they are dumb. Thus sayeth me.)

  2. frank phillips says:

    The committee will never know what hit them. They’ll be left scratching their heads and asking the age-old question, “Who was that masked woman?”

    • Starr Hoffman says:

      thanks! i don’t know about flying colors or being impressed, but at least i did pass. ๐Ÿ™‚ heck, skin-of-my-teeth passing counts just as much as with-flying-colors, right? ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. dawn1952 says:

    Very cute!!!! Wish I knew what ABD means. Sometimes I wonder if we are still living on the same planet. I have been watching too much FRINGE!! Momo

    • Starr Hoffman says:

      heh heh heh, we’re on the same planet, just different sides of it. ABD = All But Dissertation, informal term for someone who’s completed coursework but not the dissertation… and often refers to people who remain in that stage indefinitely, never graduating to become PhDs/EdDs.

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