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 keep up with my PhD adventures?  Check out any of the links below:

  1. Acceptance...and 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. My Educational Autobiography
  14. So Starts the Third Semester
  15. My Educational Philosophy...for now
  16. PhD'ese
  17. And Sometimes, You Feel It
  18. Semester's Endgame
  19. Year 1, Officially Done
  20. Year 2, Week 1, Day 1
  21. Year 2, Week 1 Done! 
  22. 1/3 Complete!?!?
  23. Click...
  24. Day 1; Semester 5
  25. Share and Share Alike
  26. Mindful and Mind-Filled
  27. 5th Semester Down
  28. Day 1, Semester 9
  29. The Two Demons of My Doctorate
  30. When Senioritis Kicks In
  31. The Final Friday
Sub-series specifically about the dissertation:
  1. Dissertation Journal #1
  2. Dissertation Journal #2
  3. Dissertation Journal #3
  4. Dissertation Journal #4
  5. Dissertation Journal #5
  6. Dissertation Journal #6
  7. Dissertation Journal: QP Revised Edition

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