Last week's seminar I attended about doctoral programs was chock full of information about the process that lies ahead. One suggestion that came of it was to talk to everyone you encounter regularly for insights, as well as to find people to sit on your doctoral committee.

Tonight, I spoke to one of my current professors for an hour after class about the PhD. plans and what I already knew, felt comfortable with and where I needed to be. Yes, it's 18 months away, but hell, that's really not a lot of time. The time to get people in place is now.

The conversation was great. She feels that my topic is one that is not too narrow and does need exploration. We talked about how I feel about research, what it entails and what I think of USF as a whole. I love the school, but until last week, I'd thought that moving would better serve the goal of finding a mentor was an expert in either discipline.

Not exactly.

The seminar explained that you can have a mentor in your subject area and committee members who are experts in your specific interest who are from other schools. My professor confirmed that. She also suggested someone in Educational Psychology who if not a good fit would definitely have alternative faculty to help me.

Apparently, many doctoral candidates begin their programs with no idea of what they want to research! She also told me that the reason why most students at this level drop out is not lack of intelligence, but lack of passion for their topic. It stands to reason that if you're spending 3 to 5 years in research, you'd better love what you're doing, because you're going to be eating, sleeping and breathing it.

I got some good directions on where to go from here. It's almost as if I was told to follow the yellow brick road.


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