A year ago I wrote a post about surviving the first year of my three-year doctoral program. After rereading that post, so many of my initial lessons still ring true. However, I have some new thoughts to add, now that I have just finished this spring semester. Technically, my second year doesn’t end until the summer classes are over, but graduation is one year from this month (see my countdown clock below!), so I’m within the right time frame!
- You get out what you put in: This is 100% as true today as it was last year. I am still in this program to advance my own learning and leadership. I still question why some people chose this program at certain stages in their careers, but their journey is not my journey. I choose to work hard, maintain my integrity (see more below!) and work ethic, and benefit from my own choices.
- Group work: I still do not enjoy forced group work experiences. However, I must confess that I did enjoy an out-of-the-box version of this recently. In our policy class we had to facilitate a professional book study with a group of professionals in the SDSU administrative credential program. We entered their Wednesday evening class for an hour each week to lead a discussion about a Common Core related reading and to help them make connections to their current and future leadership roles. This group work I enjoyed because it was with a new-to-me group of professionals who were eager to learn and share. We had rich discussions about a variety of topics and everyone participated authentically.
- Research: Yup. Still reading it. Still digesting it. Still hoping to see more connections between theory and practice within the field. Soon to start actually doing it.
- Writing: I am proud to say that the initial 30 pages of my dissertation have expanded to 90 pages. Many hours of writing and revising went into those additional 60 pages over the last year. I still struggle to edit and revise my own work, but I put aside blocks of time and set manageable goals for myself and it is working.
- Integrity: Over this last year, I have begun to question the integrity of many things- individuals, programs, and policies. When decisions are made based on money or personal bias instead of data or reality, I struggle with the rationale of the decision-makers. When people say one thing and do another, I question their integrity. When people act in ways that are not ethical, I wonder if integrity matters to them. Once again, this program is teaching me a lot about myself and how to work with different types of people. It has also taught that when enough is enough, you must speak your mind and remove yourself from certain situations.
I am so happy that I began this journey two years ago, especially now that the end is in sight! I am grateful to my friend Sheila, who not only keeps me sane within this program but who wrote a guest post for my blog on her own accord (well, okay, I bugged her a little!). I am proud of the work I have accomplished, excited to begin my personal research, and ready to be done. I cannot wait to write the final post in this series. Stay tuned…