Monday, July 27, 2009

Dissertation Boot Camp

Are you looking at this blog right now, when you should be writing?!

On Saturday, July 25th and Sunday, July 26th, the CGU Writing Center had its first official Dissertation Boot Camp, open to all students at CGU who are ABD and working on their dissertations. The camp filled almost immediately, so there is really a demand at CGU for this type of event.

The "hard core" writers in the back room.

The idea for the Boot Camp originally came from a trip Tara made to the Graduate Writing Center at Yale. (CGU's Writing Center and Yale's Graduate Writing Center are some of the only graduate-only writing centers in the U.S.) Tara met with the center's director, Elena Kallestinova, who told her about Yale's Dissertation Boot Camp. Tara liked the idea so much, she brought it back to CGU!

The philosopher and mathematician gravitated to the middle room.

Campers arrived early in the morning (8 a.m.!) and staked out workspaces in one of the Writing Center's rooms.

Campers came prepared with coffee mugs, book stands, laptops, and roller bags.

All of the tables were covered in butcher paper so that you could jot down ideas, sketch, or write notes to yourself throughout the day.

A sample work station.

One room had background music playing, the others were silent. Tutors Tara and Eric worked in the front room, making camp near a cabinet and on the sofa.

Whatever is happening in this picture, it is *intense*!

Some people like to spread out.

Like the earlier test run, the boot camp featured a very Californian take on the typical boot camp under the oak trees and fresh sushi!

On Saturday, Nancy Sassman lead the group in a one hour yoga session.

Nancy leads the crew in Warrior II.

On Sunday, boot camper Marie lead the group.

A shady respite from dissertating.

After stretching and relaxing, it was back to work!

Fingers furiously typing.

At 12:30, everyone broke for lunch. This was a great opportunity to meet other people at CGU who are also working on their dissertations, hear about their projects, and commiserate!

Sharing advice over chow.

At 2:30, everyone headed to the back yard for a stretch break, in this case, involving Affirmation Frisbee (great idea, Fay!)....where it doesn't matter how bad you are at throwing or catching, because everyone will find something positive to say about it!

A common sight during Affirmation Frisbee...picking up the frisbee.

It was a very productive weekend for everyone! The Boot Camp was so popular, we hope to offer it at least once a semester in the future. Stay tuned for the next one!

The end of a long, productive weekend!


  1. The boot-camp weekend provided a sorely needed jump-start to my dissertating. The BC was well-organized, the camaraderie and support (and sushi) energized me, and I not only felt productive in such an atmosphere, I WAS productive! gasp...I also had a lot of fun. Many thanks to Tara and the "writing center" and also to my comrades for a great weekend.

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