To Doctorate or not to Doctorate, that is the question.


As I round out my first year as a full-time professional, my desire to return to the classroom is present. It’s currently a little flame, but I have no doubt it will grow in the coming years.

On my recent trip to Boston to see my cousin receive his doctoral hood, I received the opportunity to hear Dr. Susan Hockfield speak. She is the sixteenth president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Her speech focused on what you need to achieve a PhD.
  1. Courage
  2. Stamina
  3. Passion
Even coming from MIT, brilliance is not on the list. Now I do not quite remember what Dr. Hockfield said, but this is my interpretation:

Courage
It definitely takes courage to apply for programs. It takes courage to dedicate your time and brainpower to the content of your degree. And it takes courage to put your ideas out their in the form of a dissertation.

Stamina
It takes stamina to focus on your field of study for multiple years. It takes stamina to write a dissertation. And it takes stamina to push through when you are exhausted from working full time and going to school full time.

Passion
Goodness, does it take passion. Lots of passion. If you didn’t have passion, you wouldn’t apply to any programs, nor would you dedicate your life for five to seven years completing class and after class and developing a central thesis to turn into a massive research paper.

For the record, I would also like to add support to the list of things you need!

Good luck to all those out there who are interested in starting a PhD/EdD program in the future!

Katie Schmalzel
@katieschmalzel

Student Affairs - the First Years

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