Letting Go #Unfinished

Last week, I submitted the newest draft of the executive overview for my dissertation. I cannot move forward without getting approval on this document- especially since I no longer have amaple-leavesny idea if I am even close to having an acceptable focus. The document is two pages that  are suppoed to lay out the problem, the research question and the methodology in the most straightforward terms.  As part of the sequence of research courses, I wrote the first version of this document. I am now on my 13th version in 3 months– all significant changes to the shape of the problem and the research question

At this point, the shape of my dissertation has shifted in ways that make me uncomfortable. Although, I got wise advise from a good friend recently which led to the latest, most significant shifts, and she also observed that were I am in the process is exactly normal, I am unsettled. I was good for a day or two, anxiously waiting for feedback on whether I was closer to where I needed to be in my advisor’s eyes, but feeling like I was making progress.maple-leaves-2

Today, though, I am struggling with what I am supposed to be learning from this process. It feels like a process of submission and a game of power. I am not good with it. I decided to pursue another degree for my own purposes, not for prestige or career or to join some elite club. I wanted to learn and study and grow. Because I have gotten such limited feedback and response from my advisor (and if this were a long or complicated document I would totally understand the need for time. This is a short overview, less than two pages.and this is not the first time I have sent it.)  So instead of feeling like there is a give and take of ideas that are being shaped through conversation, which would allow me shift
my ideas effectively, I feel like I am just desperately changing stuff to fit some expectations that haven’t been clearly articulated.

So I am not good at letting go, and I find my beliefs about education are increasing my frustration. I have learned a lot in this doctoral journey; unfortunately most of it has felt like what not to do in education.

Image of Maple Leaves- .“Maple Leaves” by Shibata Zeshin (Japanese, 1807–1891), Japan via The Metropolitan Museum of Art is licensed under CC0 1.0

Image of Leaves and Bird- “Leaves and Bird” by Shibata Zeshin (Japanese, 1807–1891), Japan via The Metropolitan Museum of Art is licensed under CC0 1.0


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