I am still in my first year of having earned a PhD and I feel like I am wearing someone else’s clothes. When people call me “Doctor Gonzalez,” it sounds kind of funny. The thought keeps going through my head that I am placed in a class of really smart people, but I tricked everyone. What if they find out I am a normal person? Or perhaps they are on to me and they call me “Doctor Gonzalez” because they feel like they have to? What if they think I am all ”hoity toity” being a doctor? I actually had a situation like that. A woman at my children’s school learned I had a PhD and said, “Well, I didn’t know you were so hoity toity.” I love it. I interpret it like this: “You? You of all people have a PhD? What? Are they putting advanced degrees in vending machines these days? How you’d you get so hoity toity? Look at how you dress.” It is one of my favorite stories about earning a PhD.
As I am now employed as a professor and reflecting back on my experiences in doctoral work, I am having some important thoughts about what I learned while in graduate school. So much of what happened while I was there happened so fast I had little time to process it. I couldn’t think about anything the way I do thinking best. Things just happened too fast. Learning at the speed of doctoral studies didn’t afford me the opportunity to sit and chew on things. At least not when I had to get done as fast as I needed to. For my program, four years was fast.
I figure that which returns to me now is probably something of importance and that which I cannot access may not have been all that big of a deal. Here are some things coming back to me now. Each of these would make a decent post or even essay. So, I am planning a series of posts on the following;
- How to become a critical thinker without becoming a negative person
- Science: All you are doing is asking questions and making decisions based on a new set of rules
- Little Celebrations
- Developing a research creed
- Developing a scholarly network: profs, cohorts, and associations
- Getting the advisor you need is better than getting the advisor you want
- Pick a good official committee, then pick a good unofficial committee
- Every single person in the graduate school context can teach you something that matters
- Diversity: Fundamentalism lurks in every corner
- Spirituality: Faith and science meet in the Academy
- Oral Defense: A scholarly conversation about your favorite topic