Showing posts with label reflections. Show all posts
Showing posts with label reflections. Show all posts

The PhD Chronicles: Share & Share Alike

The cohort has many advantages and I've increasingly grown to appreciate how it has positively impacted my learning.  Having always been in a program by myself, I did not realize just what kinds of opportunities happen when you are part of a community of learners engaged in a seriously challenging task.  Of course, I should have realized this given what I do know about learning, but not having the chance to experience it first hand left me out in the wind about how powerful it can be.

As the cohort solidifies and members learn more and more about one another, we've become a place of sharing a lot of different things.  We have limited time and yet, we take time to share--a lot.  Some of the things that we share?


    Share
  • Job leads
  • Humor we can commiserate in.
  • Relevant research & news for each others' interests
  • Celebrations (birthdays, new jobs, promotions, progress in the program)
  • Learning strategies
  • Learning resources
  • Writing strategies
  • Strategies for approaching professors
  • Network leads
  • Feedback we've received on papers to help others learn more.
  • Feedback and tips on resumes, cover letters, and applications for different opportunities.
  • Challenges and personal setbacks that we hit along the way.

This is, of course, pretty normal for any group as it becomes familiar and knows one another more.  But I am just appreciative that this particular group of cohort members does it so damn well!

 Want to catch up on my previous reflections about being in a PhD program?  Check them out:
  1. Acceptance
  2. Orientation
  3. Day 1
  4. Week 1
  5. First 2 Courses Completed
  6. First 2 Courses Finished
  7. Semester 2, Here We Go
  8. The Existential Crisis of the Week
  9. The Balancing Act
  10. Negotiating Privilege in Higher Education
  11. Zeroing in on Research
  12. Completing the Second Semester
  13. Dissertation Journal #1
  14. Dissertation Journal #2
  15. So Starts The Third Semester
  16. My Educational Philosophy...for now
  17. Dissertation Journal #3
  18. PhD'ese
  19. And Sometimes, You Feel It
  20.  Semester's Endgame
  21. Year 1, Officially Done
  22. Year 2, Week 1, Day 1
  23. Year 2, Week 1 Done!
  24. 1/3 Complete!?!?!
  25. Click...
  26. Day 1; Semester 5


Did you enjoy this read? Let me know your thoughts down below or feel free to browse around and check out some of my other posts!. You might also want to keep up to date with my blog by signing up for them via email.

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How I Came to My Bisexuality

For those not in the know, today is Bi Visibility Day...and with that, I decided to talk a bit about my bisexuality as it's a topic that I have occasionally addressed in this blog but not necessarily head on.  I mean, I did a whole schtick about it and talked about the linguistics of it, and reviewed an amazing book on the subject, but have never really done more than that.  So buckle up to hear how I got here.

I've read enough stories of coming out, had a great many friends come out to me, and witnessed a good deal of coming out stories to understand that there's a significant amount of them that have similar trajectories but for many of us, that is not the case.  My own story has familiar threads but woven from many different coming out stories.  


Some bisexuals have always known this aspect of their identity, but I, like others, discovered my bisexuality.  Heterosexuals tend to never have to discover or even question their heterosexuality, that's what we mean when we talk about heteronormative practices.  It's an assumption of presence (heterosexuality) and few are given or encouraged to challenge that assumption.  But bisexuals like me often stumble upon it, realizing that a part of one's self has been hidden from one's self.  


I grew up in a heteronormative society.  I liked and was socially accepted in my interest in females.  I knew attraction to males was openly shunned in our society.  Any attraction to males that I experienced could and was quickly disregarded as random thoughts but nothing serious or to be investigated because I had a clear attraction to women.  I could be either gay or straight; not both.  


Word cloud of this blog post in the shape of an umbrella.



Bi-Ways to Discovery

For the first twenty of so years of my life; that was easier than digging deeper into those occasional thoughts wherein I found myself intrigued by (never attracted, right?) men or the handful of homoerotic sexual fantasies I experienced.  But like many others, college gave me an opportunity to expand my understanding and lens in many ways.  It brought me into contact with a great many other students, staff, and campus leaders who were not straight.  Beyond normalizing what had been taboo and punishable in high school, I was also learning much from my course of study as it introduced me to the many different types of marginalized people within history and society (history major, keep in mind). The most profound idea that college introduced me to that helped me to eventually claim my identity as a bisexual was that non-heteronormative identities varied greatly and were perfectly acceptable means of self and sexual expression.   

After college, I found myself working at a large seller of Christian goods.  Many people found their way there as part of their spiritual journey or felt that they were doing God's work (I'm not sure capitalizing off everything biblically related is really what Jesus would do--but that's between them and their maker).  A significant percentage of them were either conservative, fundamentalist, or both, which meant the wrath and judgment of God hovered about two feet over each and every conversation.  For me, it was a job that I liked in terms of the work I was doing but not necessarily one that I was inspired by in terms of the content we were shucking.  But it would be while working at this job that I fully realized my bisexuality.  


Maybe that makes sense; maybe the spirit moved me in the right direction.  A significant part of my job did not necessarily entail a lot of mental energy. It was computer work that could be done without much thinking and therefore I could listen to audiobooks and audio programs while working.  We all know that I'm an audiobook fanatic so that is often how I filled my days.  But it was the early days of Audible and one of my favorite shows/podcasts that they had was In Bed With Susie Bright.  


A picture of a different people at a cookout with "Celebrate Bisexuality Day held every Sept 23"
Source.


Learning Bi Myself

Susie Bright is a writer, editor, podcaster, activist, bisexual, polyamorist, rockstar.   You can read more about her elsewhere but I was listening to her weekly podcast and being introduced to a wide variety of people, books, ideas, etc over the course of several years while working at that first professional job out of college.  Between her words, her interviews, follow-up exploration on the topics she introduced, I found myself delving deep into the worlds of gender, sex, and sexuality.  So there I sat in my cubicle, listening and expanding my mind on these topics while surrounded by people who loved to cast stones.  

I can give a lot of credit to a lot of different people for helping me get there, but Susie Bright's podcast was probably the game changer for me.  She was the first bisexual that I can recall who didn't offer one sole form of bisexuality or put parameters around what it should look like.  Her driving message about bisexuality is that it comes in myriad forms and that it (like much of sexuality) has a fluidity to it that is self-determined and understood.  I think that's a key thing I appreciated and found liberating about moving away from the heterosexuality box was escaping the overwhelming conformity it presented, repressing sexual exploration beyond a dogmatic insistence of male as defacto lead and female as de facto follower.  (That's not to say that alternatives and variety doesn't exist in the heterosexual world, but that the emphasis of the male/female dynamic described above is that which is promoted).   


In addition to her sage advice, I continued to expand my knowledge of sex, gender, and sexuality with books, websites, documentaries, and courses.  I voraciously consumed these pieces of information and lens both because I was interested in this area in an academic and a personal sense.  I came back to the topic time and again in an associate degree I was pursuing after college (in criminal justice) and in the graduate degree that followed in American Studies. 


Each piece of learning helped me to reflect about my past and present experiences and attractions to males. It first helped me to reposition those past memories and fantasies as not inexplicable and alienated actions but as something that was part of me.  This encouraged me to think more about why and how these occurred and were there other times to which such emotions and feelings were aroused in others besides females.  

So by this time, I came to better understand that I was in fact bisexual and began to identify as such in certain contexts (e.g. dating) and among certain people.  It took over 20 years for me to realize it, given the culture we live in and the mutability of attraction that occurred in me (and I would imagine other bisexual males in our culture).  For me, which is so damn fitting for me that I laugh every time I think about it is, is that it took books and learning for me to better understand it.  That is, as someone who has spent so much of his life in education as a student, instructor, and professional staff member --as a self-proclaimed nerd as it were, I found my way to bisexuality by reading books and articles, writing about sexuality, and taking courses both directly and indirectly related to it.    


The Phased Coming Out

It's a strange thing to come out in your 20s as bisexual (ok, it was strange for me). I did it in phases because, well, coming out as bisexual is complicated or maybe it is made complicated by others as a result of a mixture of ignorance on what bisexuality is or biphobia, which like homophobia can be found prevalently within our culture.  Making a statement about one's sexuality, especially when it conflicts with one's previously evident sexual interactions, can often be met with skepticism.  Inevitably, as many nonheterosexuals, queer, and trans people know, when one comes out, there is always an expectation of evidence to validate the claim.  For bisexuals, this means evidence of cross-dating, for gay and lesbian folk, it means having a same-sex partner, and for transpeople, it can mean having the surgery (regardless of whether the transperson has any intention of any of the surgeries related to transitioning).  

But I did it in phases because there were some people that it was going to be more relevant to than others and quite frankly, I didn't want to have conversations with people that I felt would be circular, cause me frustration or where I would be misunderstood.  So while I would be open about my bisexuality in relationships, with nonheterosexual friends, I was more selective about the circle of people I shared my identity with beyond that--at least in much of my 20s.  

There were other reasons for this as well.  For chunks of my 20s, I worked with youth, particularly after school daycare, summer camp, and residential teens.  With all but one of these places (a residential home specifically for LGBTQ teens), I did not openly speak about my identity because they did not feel like safe places to acknowledge such things.  Bi-phobia does exist; I've seen people's visceral reaction to someone who does not choose either/or but both.  We as humans are often comfortable with category and bisexuality crosses categories.  I had no interest in dealing with such bigotry why working because it had nothing to do with the work I was doing.  

However, once I was working at a residential program for LGBTQ teens, I realized, especially for the teens who often lacked positive and localized (as opposed to national or iconic) role models with which to look to and realize or appreciate different ways in which sexuality is expressed and how it is not the sole definer of our experiences.  From there, I became much more open about my bisexuality professionally, but working in academia, there is certainly a bit more acceptance of that (not a universal, but working in academia in Massachusetts, it is more so).  Sometime in 2012, I switched this blog from its original name (the Hitchhiking Adjunct) to its present name, By Any Other Nerd.  And sometime shortly thereafter, I identified as bisexual in my About page.  At different times, I have included this or not, depending on the changes I've made to my about pages and other additional pages.  

Coming out to my family was an outward to inward approach.  I came out first to my two cousins who also were also not heterosexual.  What was nice about one of these relationships is that it was a cousin whom I had not been particularly close with throughout much of my life and now, in our thirties, she's one of the closest family members I have.  As for the other cousin, I don't know.  She had disconnected from the family years previously for reasons I can understand in general but never specifically the disconnect from me.  Reaching out to her and coming out to her, I thought might bring us closer her but all I got was silence.  

Coming out to my immediate family didn't formally happened until I did my first stand-up routine which focused on being bisexual. Of course, I warned them ahead of time what the focus of my routine was and thus came out to them in the later part of my thirties. Coming out nearly 15 years after I knew may sound as if I was hiding from them.  It is more a matter of I had issue with bringing it up unless there was reason to.  If I had dated any guy long enough to "bring home", I would have had the conversation.  But in the absence of "proof", I didn't trust my family to actually understand it or appreciate what it was that I was sharing with them. So, it took a while for the circumstances to make it evident.   

Parting Thoughts 

Nowadays, I'm more open to dropping the B-word where it's relevant in a discussion or in a given moment.  I'm less hesitant to talk about it openly in nearly all space, but of course, that's context.  I don't know if I would carry the same confidence were I in different region or area of the country or the world.  But I do my best to talk about it without over-talking about it as I realize many non-heteronormative people don't get this opportunity.  If I can increase normality of nonheteronormative identities through being more open, then it behooves me to do so.  

I recognize that for a variety of reasons, coming out for me was not as challenging or life-threatening as it can be for others.  For that, I am grateful and recognize the privilege associated with my cultural, social, class standings that allow for that.  But I think it's worth considering for all of us to stop and think what it means for people to feel necessary to "come out."  In many cases, it's a result of the assumptions of culture that are put upon the person to which they must reject.  It requires the person to have to claim the space of "I am not who you're assuming."  And that can be an awfully hard space to navigate, especially in a culture that still has very strong notions about boys and girls, men and women (and the strict adherence to an artificial gender/sex binary therein).     

I'll probably have more posts about this subject in the months and years to come but for those who are discovering this for the first time, I'm assuming this changes nothing.  For those that were already in the know, I hope this provides some further understanding about who I am.  And for those that are grappling with your own identity or coming to understand it, I am sending you kind thoughts and hopes that you will be able to navigate to a place where you and your loved ones are comfortable with who you are.  




Did you enjoy this read? Let me know your thoughts down below or feel free to browse around and check out some of my other posts!. You might also want to keep up to date with my blog by signing up for them via email. 


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Goals Check-In 2017: 9 Month Mark

So I ended up skipping July's check in because I was so busy that trying to write about my goals was near impossible.  I fell off my schedule nearly entirely for blogging because things were that busy.  Thank goodness for canned posts that could go out automatically.   The last 3 months have including a 3-week writing intensive workshop for my doctoral program, the start of a new job for me, the start of a new job for my partner, and a move.  So, it's kept me way more busy than I anticipated, but now that we're through it, we're thoroughly happy where we are. 


Complete a Triathlon

For this year, I think I'll need to put this goal aside.  I may still try to do one but with so much going on, this goal seems a bit removed until I can get back into a regime of swimming.  I am definitely still running a lot and biking more (my new home and job are connected by a bike path) but it doesn't seem like the right time this year.    

15000 a day

As of this writing today, I have walked 15,000 steps for 235 days in a row.  I've crossed the half-way mark and figure it should be easy to get to the finish line on this one.     


Goal

15 more pounds

With the stress and busy-ness of June/July, I'm just getting back in the swing, but I'm down five pounds so the finish line is viewable, I just need to stay on target.  I think the new place that I'm living is encouraging a lot more physical activity, which is good, I just have to avoid overindulgence (which is always my challenge).  

Stay on Target for Running

The running has been consistent.  No strains or injuries.  I've had some really good runs including a new PR for 10K (52 minutes and some change).  The week that I'm writing this, I made it a goal to run to work and back every day (for a total of 55 miles) and it's been going quick well.  I'm getting used to running with a backpack and with some weight in it.  I'm pretty sure I'll hit the 1000 mile mark this year if not the 1200.  It also helps that my new place has a fitness facility so I can workout whenever I want.    

Complete the Book

I'm back on track with this one.  I won't finish this year but I will shortly in the new year.  

Less Mindlessness

This comes and goes with my time-crunches and sometimes seems to happen more the more time-crunch I get.  Whether it's intentional distraction or just needing space from what I'm doing, remains to be seen.  But I think having to check in on this through these check-ins helps to remind me to reduce the mindless scroll. 

Focus on the Breath

Yet again, another one that comes and goes.  I think for next year, I'll need to reconfigure this one and the next one to be more specific.  It's too vague making it hard to execute whereas the 15,000 step goal is clear and specific.     

Figure Out My Dissertation

If you want to find out where I am with my dissertation, you can check out my latest dissertation journaling post.  I haven't updated yet but will soon.  My dissertation direction is pretty well set and I'm starting down my path with some good encouragement and advice from my advisors.  

More Politically Active

The moving and new job made this really hard to enact but now that I'm settled in, I'm becoming familiar with the different political groups in my area to figure out which one is best suited for me to join.  So I'll hopefully have more news on that in the future.  

Those are all the updates for now.  How are you doing with your monthly, yearly, life goals?  What challenges are you running into? 




Did you enjoy this read? Let me know your thoughts down below or feel free to browse around and check out some of my other posts!. You might also want to keep up to date with my blog by signing up for them via email. 


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This Is 38




So this is what 38 looks like to me:

I turned 38 today. Not a huge marker by any means but I decided this would be the year to start doing a bit more intentional tracking and reflecting on my birthday because well, that's what I do on this blog, right?

So let's first take stock of some of the basic and relevant (what I find) facts about me at 38.  I decided to put these in alphabetical order to avoid trying to rank them in any away (who's got time for that!).

The Facts

Lance Eaton after a 5.5 mile run in a yellow tech shirt.
Best time on a 5K: 24:31
Best time on a 10K: 52:56
Best time on 1/2 marathon: 1:52:35
Blog Posts in the last year:  198
Books read in 2017: 127
Blog Pageviews: 139,630
Blog Subscribers: 28/276
Blog Visitors: 81,000
Cats Owned:  2 (Bear & Pumpkin)
Credits Completed Toward Dissertation: 42 out of 72.
Degrees earned: 5 (3 masters, 1 bachelor, 1 associate)
Degree working on:  Phd in Higher Education
Facebook Friends: 715
Home:  Watertown, Massachusetts
LinkedIn Connections: 872
Miles run in in the last year: 952 miles 
Push-ups in a single stretch: 65
Relationship status:  Married (3+ years)
Short Stories Written:  4
Social Media Consulting Gigs:  2
Twitter Followers:  942
Website Domains owned:  3
Weight: 225 pounds
Work:  full-time: Instructional Designer at Brandeis University.  Freelance reviewing audiobooks and graphic novels for Audiofile Magazine & Publishers Weekly.  Occasionally teaching courses at North Shore Community College 

The Thoughts

Obviously that list isn't exhaustive.  Again, I ain't got time for that.  But it focuses on a few different areas of my current attention.  Namely: Education, health, relationships, social media, work. writing.  These are areas that are on my mind, easy to quantify and discuss.  What's not on the list that I'm still working on: being politically active and socially-justice minded--and what that looks like for  me, trying to be a better friend, and continuing to push myself in new and different directions.

Education

I've passed the half-way mark with my doctoral program in terms of credits and am now starting the process of dissertating (that's what it is, right?).  I'm excited to be at this stage and excited about my topic. I'm looking forward to being done but enjoying the process throughout.  By the way, if you're interested in those adventures, you can always check out my posts dedicated to the my PhD adventures (keep in mind, they are posted 1 year after they're written).

Health

Well, I'm running 20-30 miles a week and cycling the same amount.  I'm also covering 15,000 steps a day and can do 50 push up.  I feel at my optimum health for my life as a whole and certainly for my age.  Definitely have some weight to lose if I prescribe to the BMI, which I don't entirely, but do believe I could shed another 10-15 pounds and be healthy.  What's more is that I crave working out and enjoy healthy foods (certainly enjoy unhealthy foods). I appreciate the sense of accomplishment and the biochemical dynamics that produce positive emotions and energy after working out. I've run some of my best races in the last year or so and that feels amazing too (I mean who thought I'd be able to run a half-marathon in well under 2 hours!).  

Relationships

Well, I'm in an amazing one with a supportive partner who helps me be a better person by not just role modeling it but helping me figure out what's going on in my head as well as being collaborative in our relationship to address any challenges that come at us or stress us out.  We both just change jobs and negotiated a move while also taking courses within our respective programs.  We navigated it mindfully with a lot of communication, checking in, and redirecting our stress-points away from one another and onto/into other things (e.g. running).  

Social Media

So the numbers about social media and the blog are not brag.  In fact, the subscribers for the blog is split because I have 2 RSS feed and while the small number appears accurate, the other one is filled with a dubious amount of emails and therefore I think is compromised; 98% off the email addresses are from Outlook accounts, which doesn't seem right.  Anyways, I'm marking it to see how it changes over the next year, particularly as I think differently about how I engage in social media and through my blog.  We all know that social media has the potential to be a meaningless time-suck, so I'm trying to be a bit more cognizant of that.  Also, as I continued to teach and advise on social media, I want to see how this develop and grows (or shrinks).  

Work

I like all that I'm doing; where I work, who I work with, and the kinds of work I do.  I look forward to when my doctoral program is over and I can pursue some additional teaching and writing opportunities, but appreciate the flexibility of them currently. I really enjoy working at Brandeis University between my colleagues and leadership.  Also, since moving to Watertown, I can now run/bike ride to  work, which certainly helps my health and physical accomplishments.  


Writing
I'm so itching to get back to writing, be it on my blog, fiction, or other projects.  My mind is exploding with ideas and snippets of writing.  Without trying, I've written four stories in the past year (and even published one!) and a handful of other publications.  But I keep railing it in because so much of my writing needs to focus on my dissertation.

This post (like so many of mine) probably isn't for the reader but for me to take stock of what I'm up to and where I want to go.  I appreciate those of you who still stick around despite these ramblings.  If nothing else, this blog helps me to think about things and I always appreciate that.  

Well, here's to 38 years that have put me in a place of substantial mental, physical, emotional, and spirtual helath.  I'm glad I've made it this far.  



Did you enjoy this read? Let me know your thoughts down below or feel free to browse around and check out some of my other posts!. You might also want to keep up to date with my blog by signing up for them via email. 

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The PhD Chronicles: Day 1; Semester 5

It went off without a hitch.  As a cohort member said a few weeks ago, we've been through a full cycle (or more rather) of the program.  We've hit our stride in a manner of speaking and feel comfortable as doctoral students, as cohort members, and as practitioners.

This semester we are tackling Quantitative Methods and Teaching & Learning in Higher Ed.  They are quite different courses (as has happened before) but I'm excited about both.  I feel like Quantitative Methods will help me in areas where I am weak and I feel like Teaching & Learning is a return to the familiar where so much of my work exists (as instructional designer, instructor, and student).  
Word Cloud of this blog post in the shape of a key

Sometimes alignment works quite well and you have to wonder if it was intentional or accidental.  In this instance, they have the Quant class early and the Teaching & Learning class in the afternoon.  I feel like I would be more ready to handle numbers and such in the morning, than in the afternoon after a class of intellectualizing the teaching and learning process.  That is, I imagine after being somewhat meta in Teaching and Learning, doing numbers might be a bit challenging, but for some reason, the reverse doesn't seem true.


Either way, both classes were good.  We had the professor for Quant, our very first class so it was nice to return to him now and talk about where we've been.  The Teaching and Learning professor we experienced for the first time and I think it will be a great class to help me think even more broadly about teaching and learning as a student, instructor, and instructional designer.   

One interesting moment in today's conversations that hit me was when I started to wonder (aloud) if I was done with academically exploring open educational resources.  After writing the papers in my Globalization course that essentially set off a light bulb for me and helped me form what I feel is a strong and well-considered critical view, I'm not sure I have much else in me to say about OER.  I could (and may be) wrong, but I was surprised to find myself saying so today in class.  It looks like this semester we won't have as much of an opportunity to explore our own subjects as we have been doing, so maybe this is just the right time for me to take a break from OER before we start to delve into qualifying paper territory.

Anyways, it was a good start to this semester and I was glad to see me cohort members and celebrate in the start of another semester (#5) together.  The end still seems far away but we do feel like we've made some progress! 

 Want to catch up on my previous reflections about being in a PhD program?  Check them out:
  1. Acceptance
  2. Orientation
  3. Day 1
  4. Week 1
  5. First 2 Courses Completed
  6. First 2 Courses Finished
  7. Semester 2, Here We Go
  8. The Existential Crisis of the Week
  9. The Balancing Act
  10. Negotiating Privilege in Higher Education
  11. Zeroing in on Research
  12. Completing the Second Semester
  13. Dissertation Journal #1
  14. Dissertation Journal #2
  15. So Starts The Third Semester
  16. My Educational Philosophy...for now
  17. Dissertation Journal #3
  18. PhD'ese
  19. And Sometimes, You Feel It
  20.  Semester's Endgame
  21. Year 1, Officially Done
  22. Year 2, Week 1, Day 1
  23. Year 2, Week 1 Done!
  24. 1/3 Complete!?!?!
  25. Click...


Did you enjoy this read? Let me know your thoughts down below or feel free to browse around and check out some of my other posts!. You might also want to keep up to date with my blog by signing up for them via email.

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The PhD Chronicles: Click...

Something definitely clicked this summer while working on a set of papers for my course in globalization in higher education.  The course was a very powerful and thought-provoking course that had my mind running in a million different directions. As the discussions continued to make me think critically about what higher education is and it's roles throughout the world, it led me to reconsider my work on open educational resources.  
Word Cloud of Blog Post on HigherEd

In the course, we were tasked with two papers:  a reflection paper and a term paper.  Though that is what I set out to do, it's not exactly what I ended up doing.  When it was all said and done, I had a paper discussing the potential global value of using open education as a means of reinventing higher education's mission to be a public good and a paper discussing that the open education movement is or at least can be understood in some ways as a part of a coercive practice of neoliberal capitalism.  It was a fun time to say the least.

Ok, some of you probably doubt that last statement, but it is true in part.  The professor, in his infinite kindness and patience, gave me the (unpressured) time to really sit with the ideas and flesh them out well after the course was over.  In having time to sit with, further research, and reflect about what we learned in the course and my various thoughts on open education, things began to click into place and I found myself in both papers making more complex arguments that I had previously not considered or was just able to better articulate.  All of which is to say that things really clicked.  I've enjoyed different work that I've done throughout the program but I feel like this is one of the first pieces of work that was authentically "mine" or an alignment of evidence in a unique and compelling way.  I'm glad to have experienced this and hope that I will continue to have these moments as I continue my journey.  

Want to catch up on my previous reflections about being in a PhD program?  Check them out:
  1. Acceptance
  2. Orientation
  3. Day 1
  4. Week 1
  5. First 2 Courses Completed
  6. First 2 Courses Finished
  7. Semester 2, Here We Go
  8. The Existential Crisis of the Week
  9. The Balancing Act
  10. Negotiating Privilege in Higher Education
  11. Zeroing in on Research
  12. Completing the Second Semester
  13. Dissertation Journal #1
  14. Dissertation Journal #2
  15. So Starts The Third Semester
  16. My Educational Philosophy...for now
  17. Dissertation Journal #3
  18. PhD'ese
  19. And Sometimes, You Feel It
  20.  Semester's Endgame
  21. Year 1, Officially Done
  22. Year 2, Week 1, Day 1
  23. Year 2, Week 1 Done!
  24. 1/3 Complete!?!?!


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The PhD Chronicles: 1/3 Complete!?!?!

I'm not entirely complete with the summer session--after all, I've got 3 papers to still write in the next month but I am done with the courses themselves and am poised to finish these papers, thus, completing the first 1/3 of credits for the program.  24 credits in just over a year.  It's been intense to say the least but I'm glad I've stuck with it.

This semester has been a bit more emotionally rougher than I would like.  I had the malaise of the first week, which was hard to get through and then the massacre in Orlando happened at the start of the second week.  Though I was able to recenter myself by the end of the first week, the start of the second week with the shooting, shook me up some more and the inevitable hate and bigotry that spewed forth from many pitting bigotries of all sorts against one another and alienating so many people also cut deeply.  The rawness of that coupled with the reminder of the potential harm that "education" as a systematic force can create from the globalization course to the poorly taught afternoon course made for a lot of challenges.    

I feel like I need to dedicate this semester to my cohort.  I felt so disconnected from things because of what I was struggling with in terms of wondering about my place in the program and world of higher education at large and many other issues that came up in our morning class on globalization.  The afternoon class did not get any better than the first week.  However, my cohort commiserated with me and we tried to help one another to keep us trekking forward, knowing that the end was in sight.  


Word cloud for this blog post
The cohort cannot be undervalued in this program.  I know not all cohorts are the same and the dynamics can vary but invest in your cohort.  They can be a place of solace and strength.  This semester, I found that our ways of discussion and strategizing how we dealt with the challenges and limitations of the program to be quite powerful and important.  We've spent the last year getting to know one another and gelling as we figured out our strengths and challenges.  This summer, we saw the power of that work and how it helped all of us to take the necessary steps and that's been really great to see.

When I consider the big different between this summer session and the first summer session, it would be this:  The first summer session is about getting caught up to speed about higher education and our roles in it while also trying to acclimate ourselves to the different faculty and expectations.  Fast forward three semesters and I feel like this summer I was ready to do what work I could, not worry about the rest, and just allow myself the intellectual luxury to enjoy the development and insights that were occurring to me.  This could have happened more smoothly and powerfully if the second class was not so much about cramming content and not engaging ideas, but this seems to be the essential disposition to take in this program.  There's no conceivable way to cover it all.  There just isn't for full-time professionals, but one can meaningfully sift and organize what you come across to be prepared to reach for or at least have a glancing understanding of those things you don't get to.  

Beyond being close to completing 24 credits of the program, I was also excited to meet with the program directors to pursue two projects.  One project will be to take over their social media and the other will be to overhaul their website to make it more student friendly.  I'm particularly excited about these projects as I feel like they will get me more engaged with the faculty and the program as a whole as well as an opportunity to help and impact students.  

At this point, I know more existential challenges await, but I know it will get done and I will someday be called "Dr. Eaton"--something I still snicker at the thought of.  But I'm going to do this and that's all I need to keep thinking about. 


Want to catch up on my previous reflections about being in a PhD program?  Check them out:

  1. Acceptance
  2. Orientation
  3. Day 1
  4. Week 1
  5. First 2 Courses Completed
  6. First 2 Courses Finished
  7. Semester 2, Here We Go
  8. The Existential Crisis of the Week
  9. The Balancing Act
  10. Negotiating Privilege in Higher Education
  11. Zeroing in on Research
  12. Completing the Second Semester
  13. Dissertation Journal #1
  14. Dissertation Journal #2
  15. So Starts The Third Semester
  16. My Educational Philosophy...for now
  17. Dissertation Journal #3
  18. PhD'ese
  19. And Sometimes, You Feel It
  20.  Semester's Endgame
  21. Year 1, Officially Done
  22. Year 2, Week 1, Day 1
  23. Year 2, Week 1 Done!


Did you enjoy this read? Let me know your thoughts down below or feel free to browse around and check out some of my other posts!. You might also want to keep up to date with my blog by signing up for them via email.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.