The PhD Chronicles: 5th Semester Down

So that's 5 semesters completed; 30 credits achieved towards my PhD.  It's gone by way quicker than I would imagine (or at least I can say that now, after 2 dozen posts and 18 months, right?).  This semester has been ok as semesters go.  It was a bit disjointed and getting into any kind of rhythm seemed all but impossible.  I think that was the biggest challenge of the semester in that just as things normalized they got disrupted due to unforeseen circumstances or just how things played out.  We got a few weeks into the semester and one faculty member canceled class and then we had a day-long adventure to College Unbound to learn about the cool work they are doing and tie it into our course.   November was a bit chaotic since there were holidays and conferences which meant I was almost nowhere to be found.  On top of that was, of course, an election that shattered all expectations and for myself, was devastating and hard to move forward from.  

Learning about quantitative analysis was a challenge this semester and in hindsight, I have to wonder if it has to do with the method of teaching as opposed to the content.  I understand it better than I have before but got frustrated pretty regularly in working on the course throughout.  Our instructor's approach was to pop open the hood, explain in detail all of the intricacies of the car so that we could learn how to drive.  I think it would have been better to work on the driving and get a sense of the global dynamics of the car before delving us into the nuance pieces as it would have helped us better connect the pieces to the machine.  But apparently, I learned enough to do well on the final project so I did learn some things.  
Word cloud of the content of this blog post.

At this point, I'm now trying to determine what it is that I want to do for my dissertation (I'll have a blog post on my areas forthcoming, so this section will be a bit general).  Given that, I'm also beginning to look at my electives and figure out what are the right ones to take based upon what it is I want to do.  While the program has some electives that I feel will be useful, I think the biggest challenge is to find a course that provides a critical inspection of technology.  I've started looking around to find the right course to fill this gap as it's something I feel no matter what specific question I'm asking in my dissertation, technology and learning will be at the center of the question.  


Challenging as this semester has been, it has also been a powerful reminder of the importance of the cohort.  I definitely struggled with the quantitative course but managed to get through with the help of my cohort who often had great insights and means of explaining things to me or even sharing their work so I could see how they got to their conclusion and figure out where I went wrong.  Also, I ended up teaming up with a cohort member for a final project that proved one of the easiest projects that I tackled yet in the sense that we complimented each other well and were able to produce something that we both enjoyed doing rather than just pumping out individual papers that we were both disengaged with.  Thus, the semester has been a powerful reminder in the usefulness and benefits of doing group or partner projects when both people are committed and engaged with the content.  


Well, the semester's over and it's time for a mental break of reading for pleasure, video games, and relaxing.  It's crazy to think that at this time next year, I'll be entering into to my final Fridays semester--but it's quickly approaching!


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. Mind-Filled and Mindful

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


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