My initial schedule for my PhD

I am likely going wrong somewhere with my plan because when I sketched out my tentative plans for my doctorate I have the duration for 3 years. That’s rather short. With that said, here is my tentative schedule that is definitely wrong and that I definitely need to update once I find out where I went wrong.

Fall 2023

September 2023- Complete the 0 hour self paced courses on GRAD 7300 and GRAD 7500. In total, should take 20 hours. Start the 2 courses that I will be taking: Quantitative Methods 1 and a non-quantitative psychology course related to my research.

October 2023- Begin Literature Review. Discuss with advisors on what articles are best to include. I have already identified a number of key gaps in several areas of the literature regarding psychology methodology in LGBTQ+. This is rather easy to do with my intersectionality (autistic, Black, asexual, nonbinary, etc.) because there’s not a whole lot of folks in quantitative psychology that know how to handle these issues well and the bulk outside of quantitative psychology that do know how to handle it typically don’t have the mathematical background to implement the methodology that I would be using. This is not to mention quantitative psychology also having a diversity problem in some aspects, but this is getting off topic.

December 2023- Finish tentative Literature Review along with the first 2 courses. I might be going wrong here with thinking that I can do 2 courses and review 20 to 30 papers along with doing a 20 to 30 page paper on it on top of the other coursework. Part of the reason that I think I can handle this for now is that I am hyperlexic, which gives me an unusual ability to absorb large amounts of written information without tiring out. At my peak, I know that I can read one 200 to 300 page book nonfiction jargon heavy book without being exhausted. Discuss this in more depth with advisors and if I didn’t screw up badly, proceed to the Methodology section.

Between Semesters

Take a week off. Then, make a sketch of writing the Methodology section. Make extra notes about the limitations as I will probably be grilled hard for this.

Spring 2024

January 2024- Write up the methodology section. Talk to advisors about it. Make notes of limitations as that will be important for writing up the conclusion. Give yourself a realistic timeline of data collection. Make sure the methodology is advanced enough for quantitative psychology and not an adjacent field of psychology with a quantitative component. Also, make sure to have a detailed plan of data collection as you will be grilled on that since that is extremely important. If successful, begin discussion of getting approval by ethics. Plan for this to take about slightly under a year. Begin the other 2 courses required and sign up for the candidacy exam in May.

February to April 2024- Sign up for conferences during the summer- get those early bird rates and make sure you can cover the costs! Work on coursework along with non academic portfolio to show off your skill set. Study for that Candidacy Exam, they are no joke and will do some damage to your ego.

May 2024- Finish up the last of coursework and take the candidacy exam. You are now done with everything except your dissertation. Sign up for the Dissertation Proposal in early fall. Ask more seriously about getting ethics approval for your survey. With passing the candidacy exams, you can now call yourself a PhD candidate if you so choose.

Between Semesters (Summer 2024)

June to August 2024- Go to conferences, connect and network with folks! Get to know some researchers, see what’s going on in your field, see who is looking to hire and such. Learn how to deal with conferences, organize them, and such. Also see about getting involved in other’s research if you can to not only help them out, but to help you out with publications. Create that win-win scenario so that everyone feels good and benefits.

Fall 2024 and Spring 2025

September 2024- Do Dissertation Proposal. Begin the process of ethics approval. While that is happening, now is the time to hone and sharpen your research skills. Get involved with service as well since that’s important too. Really showcase that you are working on building the academic skill sets that a professor needs. You should be done with coursework (or just 1 class left) and be able to dedicate your time to research, self-care, and honing your skills.

October 2024 to April 2025- Work with other’s research. Continue to improve. Make everything look a little more polished. Also, definitely assist someone with writing grants. Another important skill to learn! Teach a course or 2.

May 2025- Hopefully the ethics board and all the other hoops you have to jump through to get started are done! Since you won’t need funding for your research, that part will not be an issue. Sketch further detailed outline of analysis. Write a basic outline of the conclusion.

Between Semesters (Summer Semester included)

Late May 2025- Take 2 weeks off. You don’t want to start the data collection burned out.

June to August 2025- Do the actual data collection. Go to conferences. Teach an online course or tutor online if the university lets you.

Fall 2025 and Spring 2026 (end)

September 2025- Take a 1 week break before writing the analysis. Take another solid week to review what you wrote for limitations along with appropriate methodologies to use before analyzing your data. Talk to co advisors to minimize the chance of screwing something up and to minimize delays.

October 2025- Write Analysis and Conclusion. Discuss with co-advisors and everyone else if I can defend late Spring. See what folks want me to revise before I defend. Start slanting more towards industry skills again in case I can’t find a postdoc. Begin search for postdocs and tenure track positions for Fall 2026.

November and December 2025- Make needed adjustments to proposal. Prepare to defend. You are hoping that with adequate preparation that your dissertation is a pass with minor revisions. Continue the job hunt, you are autistic and you’re going to bomb quite a few of them. Just the name of the game.

January 2025- If approved to defend, take most of the month off. Do not overload your nerves for one of the biggest things in your life.

February 2025- Defend your dissertation. You want to get that done early and quick and not wait until the end of the semester. You plan to shock folks with confidence and not shy away from your dissertation like so many do. It’s your beginnings as a researcher. It’s where you started. Will it be the best? Hell no! Will it mark your research skills improving drastically since starting along with everything else? Yes! I’m tired of looking at my past with shame for my work being not as good as I had hoped, but you know what? I’ve grown and gotten better and so many folks can’t even do what I do. Why am I holding myself up to a nearly impossible standard that’s self-sabotaging?

March 2025- Do the revisions to thesis and also try to get it published. Almost certainly won’t have this published until after graduation, but hopefully the research collaborations you did with others resulted in at least 2-3 papers if not more. Hopefully found a postdoc or tenure track position for the Fall by now. Get the paperwork done for a post graduation work permit done in early March or late February if your nerves can handle it.

April and May 2025- Take it easy. Walk across stage.

Clearly, this is overly optimistic and I can spot at least a few weak points in where things might go wrong. (Murphy’s law)

1.) Burnout. While I do have some scheduled breaks, I might still burnout.

2.) The back and forth you need to do with advisors. That is a much needed component, but I have heard horror stories of advisors ghosting folks.

3.) External Committee. I can’t control that at all and I might get ghosted by folks who are suppose to be there. That can cause serious damage to dissertation progress.

4.) Failing the candidacy exam. I seriously doubt that I will, but it’s a possibility nonetheless. I will take that seriously and study my rear off.

5.) Ethics taking longer than planned. While my research will be a survey, this could happen nonetheless.

6.) Other things that could catch me off guard that are not listed above. I don’t think that I would actually finish in 3 years and the schedule I had in mind was for 4. Maybe I’m wrong though. We’ll see how this goes.

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