Top 10 Reasons to Complete Your Dissertation Before Internship

I, like many other interns, started my internship year without having completed my dissertation. I knew it wasn’t ideal to be a full-time intern and work on my dissertation, but I figured since I made it through 5 years of graduate school simultaneously juggling other responsibilities and survived, I would be “okay” managing both of these tasks. Upon reflection, I wish I would have considered just how different and more demanding the internship year really is. As such, here are my top 10 reasons to complete your dissertation before internship (in no particular order). Please feel free to share your reasons in the comment section below!

1. Self-care:

Gosh, have most of us neglected this area! With even a little more time during the week, our self-care can become increasingly better. This means more time to sleep, get in that weekend workout, cook balanced meals, and spend time doing the things that rejuvenate us.

2. More time to explore your city:

If you relocated for internship, having more time available to explore your new city is a huge perk, especially, if you’re only planning to stay in that city for your internship year! Take advantage of everything your city has to offer before you leave.

3. Spending time with your internship cohort:

If you’re lucky to have an amazing internship cohort like I do, you will want to have extra time to get to know these wonderful people and future colleagues. Let me tell you, it’s not fun abstaining from internship happy hour festivities so you can go home and work on your dissertation.

4. Finding new hobbies and further developing current ones:

More time during your week means more time to play and discover new, fun hobbies! It also means having more time to engage in the ones you already have. Cooking more exotic meals, playing a new sport, learning a new board game, or refining your Netflix watching abilities, all of these are much more enjoyable without your dissertation looming overhead.


5. Spending time with family, friends, and pets:

This one needs no explanation. Not working on your dissertation will leave you more time to spend with the ones you love, both human and furry! Remember, these were the people and pets who were there for you during graduate school patiently waiting for you to remerge and join them in society. Join them sooner!

6. Reading those psychology books you purchased 5 years ago:

Most of us probably have a library of therapy manuals and other psychology texts we ambitiously promised ourselves we would read cover to cover so we could become the greatest psychologists ever. Instead, these books sit, collecting dust, and giving us the judging side-eye every time we walk by. Getting that pesky dissertation out of the way, will allow you to pick up those neglected books and give them the good read both you and they deserve.

7. Professional development:

With no dissertation, you will have more time to say “yes” to professional development activities, such as guest lecturing, networking, attending and presenting at conferences, initiating collaborations, working on research, studying for the EPPP, attending webinars, and perfecting those postdoc applications!

8. Wedding planning:

Okay, so this one is personal and certainly doesn’t apply to all. My fiancé and I are both pursuing doctorates and being a two dissertation-household, we knew if we wanted to stay sane, or engaged, we would need to get our dissertations finished before any wedding planning commenced. It was not easy convincing our mothers that they would just have wait until we were finished before they started busting out the old, new, borrowed, and blue.

9. Taking weekend trips:

There’s nothing better than escaping the stress of internship by taking a weekend trip! Clogging your weekends, yes, even those marvelous long holiday weekends, with dissertation work will never help you escape the stress of internship. Treat yourself to a guilt-free weekend! You probably haven’t had one since you stated graduate school and you deserve it!


10. Time to write more APAGS blog posts!

Again, this is an individualized one. I love writing especially writing that captures the essence of my personality and puts a smile on others’ faces. With more time away from dissertation writing, I can spend time generating (hopefully) interesting posts for my psychology colleagues and fellow graduate students.