The Sum is Greater Than the Parts
First up, I am making connections with people who can help me in my future educational endeavors. Then, you have people who have gladly given me advice about the best direction to take in those studies.
Today, I had to complete reference checks with another committee member (State law dictates that at least two selection committee members interview the references, so we were adhering to the rules).
My partner and I got to talking about the path I've decided upon and why it is important to me. She revealed that she also has a child on the spectrum and we talked about the state of education for children with autism. There are great teachers who click with our kids, but in the public school setting, they're limited in what they can and cannot do.
I shared that while my plans and future research won't directly help Game Teen, he inspires me to make sure the path is easier for other children like him. I told her my belief that getting a diagnosis for many issues sets you on a clear road, but for parents with children on the autism spectrum, it's like we're plopped down in a maze, blindfolded, and expected to make it out of that maze without any tools to get us there.
Without realizing it, she helped me crystallize my purpose in the PhD. pursuit. I knew the topic I had in mind, but hadn't really considered the macro level result if what I suspect is accurate.
Kind of like this whole selection committee process.