The title of this article gives away the ending….I have now completed my doctorate! A week ago Monday I traveled to Temple University in Philadelphia to defend my dissertation, and did so successfully. After three grueling years of coursework and dissertation development, I now hold a Doctorate of Business Administration. As such, this seems like a perfect time to do some reflecting on this journey.
The second thing everyone seems to say to me (the first is usually some form of ‘congratulations’) is something like
“That must be a big weight off your shoulders.”
The next thing they ask is “What are you going to do with your time?”…and then we all laugh, because anyone who knows anything about me knows that I have already started filling that up.
The comment about the weight coming off my shoulders has hit me strangely, and I thought I would explore this a bit. I enjoyed this experience so much that I do not think it ever really felt like a weight on me. I took this program on willingly, of my own volition, and with the full support of my family. My research topic was my passion, and as such, it fueled me rather than holding me down.
Of course, the work was hard. There were times I cried. One particular webinar, where my colleagues were rattling off brilliant comment after brilliant comment, I seriously considered quitting. I just didn’t feel like I was of the same caliber – I didn’t belong there. I shouldn’t have even bothered trying.
Sometimes the work was overwhelming. How do you write three major research papers in a term where you are dealing with language and information you have never encountered before in your life? One of which is a group project with people living or traveling all over the world? And by the way, you are only doing this part time while balancing a full-time, demanding career, a growing family, and an over-committed volunteer calendar. Yes, it was a lot.
But I did try. I kept showing up, I kept growing and learning. I kept writing and reading (and using SOOO much paper – academic articles are long!) and running statistical models and not really knowing what I was doing, but doing it anyway.
And then I got to do this incredibly cool research. I may have mentioned this in a previous post, but I absolutely loved interviewing the women for my study and hearing their stories. They, both the women and their stories, were powerful. They were all so different, and yet some experiences were the same regardless of position, age, personality….you name it.
My curiosity was ignited and fueled in a constant feedback loop. As I learned more, I wanted to learn even more. As I met leaders in my industry, I wanted to meet more. I wanted to collect all of their stories, and find ways to use them to help us all. I loved it!
Even then, it was hard going. I am not an expert in statistics, and the advanced statistics I was called on to perform were intimidating, to put it mildly. Even the language, up to the end, was tricky to navigate. Is something statistically relevant, or significant, or just interesting? Does it mediate or moderate or is it a controlling variable? All this (and so so so much more) I had to sort out on my own (or rather, alone with my ever-patient, ever-amazing husband) – a requirement from my advisor for which I am eternally grateful, even though I owe several panic attacks to that endeavor.
So here is how I think I will frame it. A weight has not been lifted from my shoulders. Rather,
Clouds have formed under my feet
and are carrying me along. I feel light as air. I have accomplished something big, something important, and this is only the beginning! Who knows what will come next? All I can say for now is
Dr. Hubbard is here!
Keep it positive and smile! Happy Tuesday!