Time Flies in a Doctoral Program
One year down and two more to go on this fast paced journey of doctoral work. As I approached this time last year, there were many things changing in my life. We were interviewing for a new position and anticipating a cross-country move, getting our house ready to sell, and preparing our kids for a new adventure. On top of all of this, I had entered into a doctoral program. While I was convinced that I needed to pursue this educational goal, I was not sure if I had what it took to finish the program. Truth be told, I am still not convinced that I have the right stuff to finish.
Upon boarding the airplane for our first advance to Hong Kong, my head was dizzy. I had been elected to the new position and the reality of all the new changes set in and overwhelmed me a bit. As I settled into the hotel, meeting my advisor, awkwardly talking to first year students, and wondering how this program works, I gave myself fully to the endeavor. After the first day of the cohort, I was more comfortable with the goals of the program which has continually been my feeling every semester, every meeting with my advisor, every narrowing of my dissertation, and every little project that I accomplish. What has surprised me the most about the program is how it feels so natural. Considering my limited knowledge and abject confusion on the first day of the program, I feel that the staff, lead mentor, advisors, and even students have helped me navigate the program with ease.
My life has changed dramatically in 2015-2016. The books assigned and journaling have been very cathartic for me. The reading at times seemed disconnected, but as we discussed the readings and got to see the perspectives from my peers, they built a learning narrative for the entire semester that became cohesive. The greatest challenge was trying to keep up with the pace, but our lead mentor’s instruction on how to read a book became invaluable.
My greatest point of anxiety entering the program has been developing a dissertation topic. What started as extremely broad and difficult to get my arms around has been shaped by each PDLP, peer, and advisor. While I am sure there will be much more work on this in the future, I believe that I am pointed in a precise direction.
Writing each week has been a chore. It has taken work to get it done on time. However, I have enjoyed the practice. By putting a limit on word count on most of our assignments, I believe I am becoming a more precise writer and communicator. The program has helped me in innumerable ways this year. I have gained confidence as an academic writer and researcher. As stated before, my public preaching has gained greater precision which is due to the program, and the program has forced me to pace my life properly. I cannot say enough good things about the staff, lead mentor, and peers. The exposure to their perspectives are treasure and of great benefit to me as a leader.