Participants Comment on Dissertation Boot Camp

Dissertation writers at the University of Pittsburgh reflect on their experiences with Dissertation Boot Camp and Writing Days:

“Dissertation Boot Camp was one of the most productive writing weeks I've ever had. Not only did it provide structured time for writing (with great food and coffee!), but the facilitators did an excellent job sharing helpful strategies and tips. I highly recommend this wonderful opportunity for dissertation writers.” Molly Nichols, English, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences

"After a year of on-site research, I knew I needed to shift into writing, but I didn't know where to start. Dissertation Boot Camp gave me my first taste of real dissertation writing, in a structured, supportive environment. I also learned, for the first time, the awesome feeling of satisfaction that comes from having written for a full day, without distractions. Now I don't even miss Facebook!" Alexandra Oliver, History of Art and Architecture, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences

"Like most challenges in life, the first step is the hardest when it comes writing your dissertation. The Dissertation Boot Camp helped me not only to start writing my dissertation, but it helped me plan out my dissertation writing for the next few months and set realistic long term goals for my writing. The supportive atmosphere of the staff and fellow graduate students also made it a valuable experience. The graduate students at the camp were from a diverse set of disciplines, but we were all were struggling with similar problems when it came to writing a dissertation and finishing graduate school. Writing a dissertation is a daunting challenge, but the Dissertation Boot Camp provided a supportive environment to begin my journey towards finishing my dissertation." James Gardiner, Geology and Planetary Science, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences

"The Writing Center is a really good resource to catch up with advanced software on managing literature, to learn about taking notes, and to keep from getting lonely while writing. It is good to start even if you are in the early stages of graduate school." Nana Zhang, Biological Sciences, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences

"Writing the dissertation can be a lonely experience. Dissertation Boot Camp, and subsequent Writer's Days throughout the semester, provides an invaluable sense of community. I always  write more on these days because I'm in an encouraging, supportive environment surrounded by others doing the same work. My dissertation owes Jean Grace and Ellen Smith a great debt." Deirdre O'Rourke, Department of Theatre Arts, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences

"Dissertation Boot Camp provided structure and minimized distractions for a productive and focused amount of time. It also provided a group of peers that made writing seem a little less lonely." Dave Peterson, Theatre Arts, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences