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How to Create an Effective Thesis Statement in 5 Easy Steps
Creating a thesis statement can be a daunting task. It’s one of the most important sentences in your paper, and it needs to be done right. But don’t worry — with these five easy steps, you’ll be able to create an effective thesis statement in no time.
Step 1: Brainstorm Ideas
The first step is to brainstorm ideas for your paper. Think about what you want to say and write down any ideas that come to mind. This will help you narrow down your focus and make it easier to create your thesis statement.
Step 2: Research Your Topic
Once you have some ideas, it’s time to do some research on your topic. Look for sources that support your ideas and provide evidence for the points you want to make. This will help you refine your argument and make it more convincing.
Step 3: Formulate Your Argument
Now that you have done some research, it’s time to formulate your argument. Take the points you want to make and put them into one or two sentences that clearly state what your paper is about. This will be the basis of your thesis statement.
Step 4: Refine Your Thesis Statement
Once you have formulated your argument, it’s time to refine your thesis statement. Make sure that it is clear, concise, and specific. It should also be arguable so that readers can disagree with it if they choose.
Step 5: Test Your Thesis Statement
The last step is to test your thesis statement. Does it accurately reflect the points you want to make? Is it clear and concise? Does it make an arguable point? If not, go back and refine it until it meets all of these criteria.
Creating an effective thesis statement doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With these five easy steps, you can create a strong thesis statement in no time at all.
This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.
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How to Create a Dissertation Timeline (With Examples + Tempate)
When it’s time to start thinking about writing your dissertation, it is vital to put together a dissertation timeline. This will help you map out the months you will be spending on your dissertation, and ensure that you’re staying on track. A specific and detailed dissertation timeline will serve as an outline to guide you, step by step, through what can be a long and challenging process.
While we often refer to a dissertation in a way that makes it sound like a monolith, in reality, a dissertation consists of many moving parts. A dissertation timeline includes a series of milestones that leads up to the dissertation defense , revisions, and final submission of your dissertation. Constructing an outline of every step in the dissertation process , including rough estimates of how long each will take, will give you a realistic picture of where you are in the process at any given time.
Before embarking on your dissertation, it is a good idea to meet with your dissertation advisor and sketch out a dissertation timeline that is realistic for the size and scope of your project and includes deadlines. This will provide you with much-needed structure and a sense of what will happen next. To get an idea of what a completed dissertation looks like and the components your program requires, ask to see samples from recent graduates in your department.
These are a few frequently asked questions about crafting a dissertation timeline:
- What does a dissertation timeline look like?
- What goes in a dissertation timeline?
- How structured should a dissertation timeline be?
- What do you do with a dissertation timeline?
What Does a Dissertation Timeline Look Like?
One way to think about a dissertation timeline is as a kind of outline. While the outlining process is unique to each writer, there are commonalities shared by all of them. Likewise, when writing a dissertation timeline, you’ll want to include all of the basic elements of your dissertation as well as the amount of time you think you’ll need to execute them.
The best dissertation timeline format is the one that works for you. Though I’ve reformed somewhat over the years, for a long time I wasn’t a fan of intensely detailed outlines. Many people don’t like outlines. And that’s okay! However, writing a dissertation is not the time to be flying by the seat of your pants. To get started, a simple, linear timeline that projects the amount of time you think you’ll need to write your dissertation will suffice.
Example Dissertation Timeline
Below, you’ll find an example of a dissertation timeline, which you can view as an image in your browser or download as a spreadsheet. Feel free to use the spreadsheet as a template as you build your own dissertation timeline.
Or download the spreadsheet below:
Inclusion in a Dissertation Timeline
When constructing your dissertation timeline, include every element of the dissertation from the abstract to the conclusion. Keep in mind that you may not be writing your chapters in chronological order. For instance, after completing their first round of research and writing their research question, most graduate students will tackle their literature review next, even though it comes after the abstract and introduction in the final document.
Depending on the field being studied, most dissertations will also include sections for methodology, results, and discussion. Many programs also require a detailed conclusion that alludes to future research possibilities. Every dissertation also has an extensive list of references (pro tip: write this as you’re writing your dissertation), as well as appendices for charts, graphs, and other ephemera. And don’t forget your acknowledgments!
Dissertation Timeline Structure
The structure of your dissertation timeline will take shape once you’re engaged in the research process. While a road map may seem like an apt metaphor for a dissertation, once you get started you may notice a lot of starts and stops and circling back. After you’ve begun researching, you may realize that you need to allot more time for digging through the databases, or you may discover that you need to reformulate your research question entirely.
I’ve seen many of my own graduate students use calendars to great effect, giving themselves hard and fast deadlines to meet. Many students also build out their dissertation timelines as they progress, attaching working drafts of their abstract, introduction, and literature review to their timeline within a giant spreadsheet that links to multiple documents and sources. All of these methods are valid. Devise one that works for you.
Using a Dissertation Timeline
So once you have a thoughtful, soundly-constructed dissertation timeline, what do you do with it? First, and most importantly, try your best to adhere to it. Check in with your dissertation timeline regularly, and use it to keep yourself on track. Also, make adjustments to it as needed. If you find yourself breezing through your preliminary research but needing a bit more time for your literature review, consult your timeline and adjust accordingly.
While meeting your deadlines is important, also construct your dissertation timeline with an understanding that many graduate students face delays once they start working on their dissertation. These can include hold-ups at the department or university level in the form of late IRB approval or limited lab space or grant funding that gets cut. Anything can happen, but having a dissertation timeline will help you get back on track as soon as the storm passes.
In my own experience, I also found my dissertation timeline to be a great document to share and discuss with my dissertation chair and committee. Once I finished my comprehensive exams, I met with members of my dissertation committee and got feedback on my rough dissertation timeline to make sure my goals for submitting my dissertation and graduating were realistic. This also ensured that we were all on the same page.
When writing a dissertation, timing is everything. Creating a dissertation timeline gives you definitive time limits for research and writing, and it also influences several other major decisions that you’ll need to make. These include preparation to go on the job market, which often coincides with writing your dissertation. There is no doubt that this will be a hectic time in your graduate school career, but having a well-organized dissertation timeline is a good way to keep everything in perspective.
Courtney Watson, Ph.D.
Courtney Watson, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of English at Radford University Carilion, in Roanoke, Virginia. Her areas of expertise include undergraduate and graduate curriculum development for writing courses in the health sciences and American literature with a focus on literary travel, tourism, and heritage economies. Her writing and academic scholarship has been widely published in places that include Studies in American Culture , Dialogue , and The Virginia Quarterly Review . Her research on the integration of humanities into STEM education will be published by Routledge in an upcoming collection. Dr. Watson has also been nominated by the State Council for Higher Education of Virginia’s Outstanding Faculty Rising Star Award, and she is a past winner of the National Society of Arts & Letters Regional Short Story Prize, as well as institutional awards for scholarly research and excellence in teaching. Throughout her career in higher education, Dr. Watson has served in faculty governance and administration as a frequent committee chair and program chair. As a higher education consultant, she has served as a subject matter expert, an evaluator, and a contributor to white papers exploring program development, enrollment research, and educational mergers and acquisitions.
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How to Finish Your Dissertation in Half the Time
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“How to Finish Your Dissertation in Half the Time”
Dissertations 1: getting started: planning.
- Starting Your Dissertation
- Choosing A Topic and Researching
- Devising An Approach/Method
- Thinking Of A Title
- Writing A Proposal
Planning Your Time
The dissertation is a large project, so it needs careful planning. To organise your time, you can try the following:
Break down the dissertation into smaller stages to complete (e.g., literature search, read materials, data collection, write literature review section…).
Create a schedule. Working backwards from your deadline, decide when you will complete each stage.
Set aside time to regularly work on the dissertation.
Consider what times of day you are most alert and what makes a suitable space to study.
Identify a specific task to work on.
If overwhelmed, try to identify one task that needs doing rather than focusing on the larger project.
Leave time to redraft, proof-read, format, and complete the reference list.
As the dissertation project involves certain processes to take place simultaneously, rather than in a sequence, you can use a Gantt chart to organise your time.
A Gantt chart is a bar chart which shows the schedule for a project. The project is broken down into key tasks/elements to be completed. A start and finish date for each task/element of the project is given. Some tasks are scheduled at the same time or may overlap. Others will start when a task has been completed.
To produce a Gantt chart, you can use Word, Excel (see example in the attachment) or an online planner.
- Tom's Planner . There's an example for you to use to complete your plan.
- Excel: example of Gantt Chart in Excel . This is an example of a Gantt chart which can be used to generate a plan of work (timeline) for your dissertation. You can download and edit it as you please. The chart has been created by the University of Leicester.
Research Data Management
This video helps you to understand the importance of research data management and how you can plan, organise, store, preserve, and share your data.
- Link to video on Research Data Management
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Dissertation Checklist and Timeline
Completing all of the crucial steps to the dissertation process can be complicated. Time and task management will be key to your success. Review the suggested tasks and print out this checklist to assist you in your dissertation journey.
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How to Create a Research Timeline for Your Thesis
- 5-minute read
- 21st May 2023
Beginning a dissertation can feel both thrilling and overwhelming. One of the best things you can do to prepare for the exciting journey of doing a dissertation is to design a comprehensive timeline as your guide. Here we will take you step by step through creating your thesis timeline and provide some example templates, so you’ll be well-prepared to begin your dissertation work.
Reasons for Creating a Timeline
There are many benefits to crafting a detailed dissertation timeline. In addition to helping with time management and meeting crucial deadlines, your timeline will also help you stay motivated by reviewing the tasks you have completed as you progress. A thorough timeline will be valuable during your dissertation proposal and useful if you are applying for grants or other additional funding.
Ste0ps for Creating a Timeline for Your Thesis:
- Research and record all requirements and deadlines.
Before you write out your timeline, ensure you know all of your program’s requirements and deadlines. Academic institutions often require you to complete your dissertation within a specified timeframe.
There are likely several recommended or mandatory deadlines for approval of certain items by your adviser (and possibly the rest of your committee members). Gather all these dates beforehand so you can allot an appropriate amount of time to meet your deadlines.
It will be beneficial to meet with your adviser to understand when you are expected to complete the major phases of your dissertation work and to confirm that there aren’t any other requirements or deadlines that you may not be aware of.
- List all of your tasks and bundle them into phases.
Now that you’ve assembled your dates, working backward from your deadlines is a good rule of thumb. List all of the required tasks that must be completed to meet each milestone, from coming up with your research questions to writing each chapter of your dissertation .
Even though your list will be unique to your research project, it can help to refer to a thesis checklist . It’s also helpful to assemble tasks into different phases (e.g., dissertation proposal, research recruitment). Grouping tasks into phases gives anyone looking at your timeline a quick overview of your research plan.
- Organize your tasks into a schedule and assign task deadlines.
Now it’s time to build your timeline. There are many different free templates available online, from straightforward lists of deliverables to colorful options with room for notes and customization.
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A popular organizational approach for thesis timelines is a Gantt chart , which is a type of bar chart often used in project management in which the length of the bar corresponds to the time the task will take. The best choice for you will depend on the specifics of your research study and personal preferences. Whichever option you select, make sure you can easily edit and revise it as need be.
● Pay attention to your work style. Some people are more productive when writing in short bursts, while others write better after taking time to get into the zone. Some people choose to start writing parts of their thesis while still conducting research, while others prefer to focus on one phase at a time. Set yourself up for success by reflecting on what type of schedule will help you create the best quality work.
● Schedule breaks. Almost everyone will work better after a well-deserved break. Make sure to schedule regular breaks into your timeline, as well as provide enough time to sleep, eat well, and do anything else you need to do to safeguard your well-being.
● Always have a plan B. Your dissertation is an extensive endeavor with many moving parts. It’s impossible to anticipate and plan for every conceivable event, but it’s helpful to expect something may occur that will cause a deviation from your original timeline. Perhaps study recruitment takes longer than you expected, or one of your committee members gets sick and you have to postpone your dissertation proposal. After you draft your timeline, check that it is not so strict that any disruption will cause a total derailment of your plan. Aim to strike a balance between goals that will inspire you to progress steadfastly and have some leeway in your timeline for the inevitable curveball that life will throw at you somewhere along the way.
Following these three steps will help you draft a timeline to steer the course of your dissertation work: research and record all requirements and deadlines; work backward from your dissertation deadline and assemble your task lists; and organize your tasks into a timeline.
Don’t forget to include ample time for editing and proofreading your dissertation . And if you are interested in any help from us, you can try a sample of our services for free . Best of luck in writing your dissertation!
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Time Management Resources for Graduate Students and Postdocs
Completing your dissertation can be overwhelming and stressful. It is a critical period of time to manage time effectively and execute your well-thought-out plans. In this section, we aim to provide some checkpoints or milestones that help you to complete your dissertation in a timely manner:
- Find out the requirements and deadlines set by the department and graduate school. Having the end goal in mind will help you plan your way to get there.
- Have the initial meeting with your advisor to discuss the goals of your dissertation and set up an overall timeline. For example, determine when to have the defense, when to send the dissertation to committee, when to send out the schedule poll to committee, etc.
- Create an outline of the dissertation with sections and subsections for each chapter according to the initial discussion, and map out deadlines for each section.
- Meet with your advisor to discuss and finalize the outline and roadmap, including what kind of format (by chapters or the whole dissertation) your advisor expects, and how to maintain the line of communication (face-to-face or email) and how often you should communicate, so that you can get support and feedback along the way.
- Reach out to your committee members to let them know your dissertation plan and schedule the defense date. Ask if they are willing to provide feedback on your drafts.
- Incorporate the feedback comments and edit your dissertation for submission to your committee for defense.
*You can create a timeline table to help you visualize your plan.
- On your daily schedule, block off a couple of hours when you are most effective for your dissertation writing. Having this specific time block will help you prioritize and fit other tasks around your writing. Stick to the schedule and treat it as your appointment with your advisor or doctor.
- Limit the distraction during your blocked writing time in order to fully concentrate.
- Set a daily goal. For example, writing 2 pages each day on chapter 1 or finishing the method session on chapter 2, etc.
- Find a place that you find yourself most productive and efficient, and write there.
- Monitor your progress by calendars and project management apps.
- You are not alone. Find someone who is also writing their dissertation to be your writing buddy to help encourage one another and keep each other on track.
- Work/life balance (refer to the work/life balance )
You are here, thesis and dissertation preparation and submission timeline.
The following illustrates an ideal timeline for the preparation and submission of theses and dissertations. The steps apply to both doctoral and master's candidates, but the schedule is written from the perspective of master's candidates intending to defend their thesis at the end of the Spring term of their second year.
Degree candidates may download this graphic as an A 4 PDF file.
Each step is elaborated upon below the graphic.
Identify Research Area and Academic Advisor
In the Spring term a year before they intend to graduate, master's candidates should begin narrowing their research interests and find an amenable academic advisor. In the rare case a student is unable to find an advisor, one will be assigned by the Institutes's executive committee.
Compile Thesis Proposal, Bibliography, and Research Plan
In consultation with their intended advisor, master's candidates should prepare a two-to-five-page thesis proposal, as well as a preliminary bibliography and summer research plan.
Approval to Proceed
Once master's candidates have obtained consent from their tentative advisor to move forward, they must formally submit their thesis proposal, bibliography, and research plan to the Institute's Secretariat Office. The proposal must make mention of their intended academic advisor.
This submission should be made by the end of the Spring term.
Library, Archival, and Field Research
Research for master's candidates should be conducted in the summer and may continue in the Autumn term, as necessary.
Discuss Progress with Academic Advisor
At the beginning of the Autumn term, master's candidates should meet with their academic advisor to discuss their summer research, get suggestions for additional sources, refine their topic, and broadly prepare a plan for the coming year.
Review Formatting and Usage Requirements
Before beginning their initial drafts, master's and doctoral candidates alike should download and familiarize themselves with the Institute’s formatting requirements and Usage Manual .
During the Autumn term, master's candidates should be formulating the outline and content of their thesis chapters and composing initial drafts, all in frequent consultation with their academic advisor. Authors are encouraged to use the appropriate manuscript template from the time they start writing.
By the beginning of the Spring term, master's candidates should be starting to revise early drafts of their chapters into a final manuscript.
The final weeks before submitting a thesis or dissertation are ideally devoted to polishing the argumentation and language of the final manuscript. Candidates are encouraged to pay close attention to the Institute’s Usage Manual
Submit for Editing
Authors should make note of the conditions and submission procedures for master's theses and doctoral dissertations , respectively.
Authors must obtain the explicit approval of their academic advisor before submitting their work for editing.
The work of degree candidates is generally edited on a first come, first serve basis. Authors may check the editing queue to see information about manuscripts currently in the queue.
The time frame for editing in the Spring semester is tight, so master’s candidates intending to defend their thesis at the end of the Spring term should be prepared to make editing revisions as soon as the work is returned to them.
Submit to Advisor and Committee
Authors should submit hard copies of the edited version of the manuscript to their academic advisor and each committee member at least one week before the defense ― ten (10) days for doctoral dissertations. Manuscripts should be prepared in accordance with the Form of Theses and Dissertations .
In the case where some or all committee members will not be available to sign bound copies of the manuscript at a later date, authors may make copies of the approval page available at the defense for the purpose of obtaining the necessary signatures. The decision to sign at the time of the defense is at the discretion of the committee members.
Final Revisions to Content
Depending on the outcome of the defense, authors may need to make corrections, revisions, and/or additions to their manuscripts.
Final Academic Approval
The method of obtaining final academic approval will depend on the outcome of the initial defense:
- Authors asked to make minor revisions may only need the approval of their academic advisor, who will act on behalf of the full committee.
- Authors asked to make substantial revisions may need the approval of their academic advisor, as well as each member of their committee.
- In some cases a second defense may be required for approval.
In the case where some or all committee members will not be available to sign bound copies of the manuscript at a later date, authors may make copies of the approval page available in advance. The decision to sign at this time is at the discretion of the committee members.
Formatting and Assembly
Once academic approval is obtained, authors should double-check that all requirements of the Form of Theses and Dissertations are met.
Final Format Approval
Authors must submit their final manuscript to the editor for a final format check before printing and binding. If there are issues that need to be resolved, authors will need to revise and resubmit.
Printing and Binding
Authors should have their manuscripts printed and bound in accordance with the specifications in the Form of Theses and Dissertations . If the approval pages were not signed in advance of binding, authors must obtain the signatures of all committee members.
Final submission is made to the Atatürk Institute secretary.
- The Thesis Entry Form from the Yükseköğretim Kurulu ( YÖK ). Degree candidates must register with YÖK to obtain this form. At the same time, they will be provided with a reference number.
- Two bound, signed copies—one for the Boğaziçi University library and one for the Institute’s library. Degree candidates nominated for certain awards may be required to submit additional bound copies. Joint-degree candidates or candidates with committee members outside the Institute may be obliged to provide bound copies for those faculty, as well; the faculty of the Institute prefer to have their copies of the manuscripts in digital format.
- Each disk will contain 3 PDF files: the full manuscript, as well as the English and Turkish abstracts as an independent files.
- The full thesis file will be titled with the author's YÖK reference number (e.g., "123456.pdf"). The abstracts will be titled "English Abstract.pdf" and "Türkçe Özet.pdf", respectively.
- Disks will be labeled with indelible ink with 1) the degree candidate's full, legal name as is appears with the university registrar, 2) "Atatürk Institute, Boğaziçi University", 3) the degree, i.e., "M.A." or "Ph.D.", and 4) the year.
- Doctoral candidates and master's candidates will submit two copies.
- To protect the data, rewritable media should be avoided.
- Author's should review the YÖK Thesis Submission Guide to be sure all current requirements are met.
- Permission form to allow the manuscript to be made available on the Atatürk Institute website. This form is available from the Institute's Secretariat Office.
Note: Degree candidates cannot graduate until the final submission is received in full by the Atatürk Institute's Secretariat Office.
Ataturk Enstitusu Bogazici Universitesi Bebek, 34342 Istanbul, Turkey Tel: +(90 212) 359 65 80 Fax: +(90 212) 265 80 03
How to Create a Dissertation Timeline
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At the start of this year I made the tough decision to phase out my dissertation coaching services. While I really enjoyed the one-on-one interaction with clients—and I worked with and learned from some awesome people—it wasn’t sustainable for my business in the long-term, especially as my editing services have become more focused on projects that require longer periods of my attention. Although I will no longer be coaching, I still care about helping people finish their degrees so I want to share this useful planning exercise for any PhD student who is ABD: a Dissertation Audit.
Many of the requests I received for dissertation coaching came from PhD students who had been away from their program or project for several months or more due to illness, family, or work related issues. The majority of my clients found restarting the thesis process overwhelming and just weren’t sure how to get back into their work. Across the board, most PhD students severely underestimate the time it takes to write a thesis, which makes it stressful and disheartening when they miss their original anticipated deadline. Since everyone has different demands on their attention, energy and available work hours, I developed a series of questions (below) to assess the state of the existing project and identify all the resources they had available (and the ones they still needed) in order to create a reasonable and achievable timeline for completion.
The first and most important question to ask is: “Do I want to complete my dissertation (and why)?” If your answer is yes, then go through this list of questions to reaffirm your decision to proceed and figure out the kind of time and resource committment that will be required to meet your goal of completion. Keep in mind that these categories overlap (e.g., the time you have available to complete your dissertation may be dependent on when your funding runs out).
- How much of the thesis have you already drafted?
- How much of the existing writing can be kept?
- How much still needs to be written?
- Do you have feedback for revisions from your supervisor and committee? How long will it take to revise your existing chapters based on the feedback?
- Do you have a detailed outline for the entire thesis? If yes, is the outline still relevant and achievable? If no, then take the time to create an outline, start by listing (by paragraph or by subtopic) all the elements in each chapter of your current draft(s).
- Which texts have you read? Are they still relevant to your project?
- What texts still need to be read/consulted?
- If you still need to continue researching, make a list of all the books and articles you need from library. How long will it take for you to read the books? Are there materials that must be requested from another institution (and require additional time to process)?
- Is there a firm institutional deadline that you must meet (before funding ends or before you need to re-enroll and pay additional tuition)?
- How much time do you have available to research and write (by the day, by the week)? Be honest with your limits and add extra time for unexpected delays and life stuff (e.g., if you think it will take 10 days to update your research resources, give yourself 13 or more days when you make your timeline).
- Have you discussed a timeline for completion with your supervisor and committee? Are there dates when they will be unavailable (at a conference or on sabbatical)?
- How long does it take for your supervisor and/or committee members to read and give feedback on drafts? Make sure you set clear expectations with them. You need to have your supervisor and committee on board with your timeline!
Supervisor and Committee
- What kind of support and time is available from your supervisor? Set up an in-person meeting with them to discuss expectations and your proposed timeline for completion. Request (at minimum) monthly progress check-ins in person or over phone/email.
- What kind of support and time is available from your committee members? Discuss with your supervisor about when to contact your committee members for feedback on drafts. How long will committee members have to respond?
- What are the institutional deadlines for funding and tuition costs (per semester)? Figure out the cost to remain in your program for at least one year past your ideal date of completion.
- How much personal savings are available to you? What are your financial supports outside of PhD funding?
- How much are supplemental materials and services necessary for the completion of the dissertation (e.g., childcare, copyediting, coaching, cost of paper for printing of thesis, interlibrary loan charges, etc.)?
Other Supports and Commitments
- Do you have familial commitments that require accommodation while working on the thesis (childcare, eldercare, spousal support, etc.)? What are your arrangements for dealing with these commitments?
- Does your family support your thesis efforts? Do they give you the necessary time to focus on your project? Discuss boundaries and expectations for a quiet work space with the members of your household.
- Are you working part- or full-time as you complete your dissertation? Is your employer supportive of your efforts? Can they allow you time away (if requested) to focus on the completion of your project?
- Do you require academic coaching or editing services? Have you discussed these options with your supervisor? Determine the cost of those supplementary services and set aside the necessary time to accommodate them.
- Are there any other resources that you require to finish your dissertation? Remember that making time for self-care (physical and mental) is important!
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