Your Dissertation will Begin to Define your Professional Identity
You know that your dissertation is going to define your professional identity but it is important that you not focus on this fact so much. Instead there are many other things that you can focus on when you are preparing your dissertation. If you find that you are questioning your commitment when it comes to your dissertation you can try these tactics:
You might need to remind yourself of what the meaning is to you when it comes to your Ph. D. and decide if you really want to stay on the same path. It may mean something different to your significant other, family, and friends and it is important to remember this. Compile a list if needed of why you want your Ph.D. and then another list of the reasons that you don't. You can even try to write freely about the topic and why it is inspiring to you.
If you are not able to think critically about your anxieties when it comes to graduate school then you should look for resources that can help you to put it in perspective. You can check with colleagues or the advisor if you find that your relationship with them is good. Other students can be helpful to you as well. You might even feel the need to look into the services for counseling that your university offers. The point here is to find someone that you can talk to about it and find someone that is going to have an objective mind and help you figure out what it is that you are really feeling.
You Don't Have To Advance
Many people are able to lead lives that are fulfilling and happy with careers that are rewarding without having the three letters following their name. If you decide not to go through with it, it does not mean that you are quitting or not important or as smart as those who continue. It does mean however that it might not be for you. You have decide the career choice that suits you and if it doesn't then that is fine too. You can take the skills that you have learned and use them in ways that are best suited for you if that happens to be the case.
If you go through these steps when questioning whether the Ph.D. is really for you then you are likely to find that you can come up with a decision that you are going to be happy with so that you can continue on with your dissertation with an open mind if that is the decision that you make.