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A place to process for those entangled in the writing process, a space to share insights for those who have completed this magna opus, and a forum to bounce off ideas for those looking down the road at the journey they are about to undertake.

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  • @Joy...I am surely glad that what we have written is helpful...and somewhere there is the clear metaphor that both you and Maurice have lost the key to your transportation...but, you, Joy, seem to have been left ungrounded with your busted elevator...ah, Pacifica....! LOL!
  • This feels wonderfully supportive, I appreciate both of you taking time to share your experience and thoughts.  Maurice, if you wrote more it would not be too much. I lost my keys two days ago then locked myself out looking for them, after which the elevator broke.  Somehow we manage to write papers anyway, miraculous!  :-)) ciao, Joy


  • @Maurice...check in the pockets of what you wore yesterday! Best ,Carol
  • sorry I meant to say "Carol's advice"
  • @Joy&Carol... in some ways students have a particular challenge when it comes to choosing primary advisers in programs where there are lots of grad students and very few faculty to provide guidance and when among those few faculty there are some who the students (and the disciplinary community) might see as luminaries. In other contexts, it is possible to imagine a few different people taking on the role of primary adviser because of overlapping interest, good sense of relationship, etc. I resonate with the heart and agree with the thinking in Joy's advice. I might reframe a bit, given the constraints of your situation, and suggest instead of 'going' with your gut, that you listen to and be guided by it. :)  This is your journey, to be sure, and I think really reflecting on where you want to go after the dissertation is paramount in discerning what kind of committee to get together. My personal thinking is that you want your primary adviser to the the person who will connect with you as a person, have passion about your project, and be willing to (at)tend you/it with flexibility and the vision to help you see what it is and how it can best unfold. Sometimes this will be the luminary (and this may be for various reasons, as Carol notes... if it is about their seeing themselves in your project, you'll have to have extra good spidey-sense when digesting their feedback so you can better know what's yours and what's theirs... it is a dialogue). Sometimes the luminary can be helpful without being your primary and functioning as your 'internal reader.' As long as your *and your adviser* are in good communication with this person, it can prove very fruitful and since they won't be also balancing all of the logistical and administrative pieces of moving you and the dissertation through the process, they can offer clearer contributions.


    It's a tough one Joy. If you want to go on in academia, the truth is that it's less the 'Name' of your luminary than what they say about your project that matters. A big name who doesn't reflect a real investment in and understanding of your project will hurt much more than help when it comes to letter writing down the line. And to be honest, as the market gets tighter and tighter, what's getting people jobs (from my limited perspective) seems to be a sense of truly knowing and being invested in the project in letters of recommendation, AND going the extra mile to support a student's application to a position (this includes making calls to colleagues at the institution/organization, mentioning the student in one's own work and at conferences, and supporting the students 'reputation' in all of those informal networks of relation that faculty travel.

    So, I guess this is a long way of coming in alongside Carol and saying hold your purpose at the center and discern where you feel it most resonant among the faculty, if that's in the person of a luminary then great, if it doesn't try to have them be involved in another way. Also, all I've said above, probably goes for your consideration of an external reader as well.


    apologies for going on at such length, but I've misplaced my car keys and am procrastinating around really getting into the search... I suppose it's more fun imagining you finding yours! off I go!

  • @Joy.. I can't encourage you enough to go with your gut. This is a long arduous and fantastically rich journey...keep those by your side who will be there for you rather than for their own enhancement. Beware Narcissus faculty members who might be in this for their own preening, rather than your advancement as a scholar. Doors will indeed open as long as you are on the right track, regardless of fame of advisors...if you are on the track that is true to your Self and your own scholarship, doors will open for you that are for you and because of that, Joy. This is about you and your own amazing brain and abilities...let them shine and be encouraged and polished by those who you feel will challenge you but also encourage you. Hope that helps!
  • Thank you Maurice and Carol, I dropped off the edge of the planet for a while catching up on a lot of stuff but want to know I greatly appreciate your words of wisdom and take them to heart. 

    Now I have something horrible to say but I seek confirmation I am on track:  I hear chat about who students want on their committees, as we all do, and it seems there is quite a bit of weight put on fame.  Lately, I notice more clearly the faculty I feel connected to with my topic and have decided that outweighs fame in building my committee.  I tend to default to my gut feeling with decisions.  However, there may also be good reasons for the focus on the famous, i.e., help open doors later and that sort of thing.  How important is that, what do you think?

  • @Jocelyn Thanks! It is amazing for sure! And glad to share the citation stuff is helpful! And congratulations to you on your wrapping up your final draft!
  • @ Carol

    Congratulations on your defense!

    I wanted to thank you for reminding us of the proper way to cite Jung. I was just thinking about it when I saw your post. Saw it done many different ways, was not sure how anymore...Getting close to wrap-up my final draft...such a process!!! rewarding but I will be glad to lift the load off my shoulders! My thoughts are with all Paciifca students who are in the same process...:)

  • nicely framed Maurice...and the myth program also sees the two as closely related but more for the learning process. It will be the proposal , the first 2 chapters, that really set the stage for the journey...but, no question that the joy and richness of the process is the sight seeing!
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