My first academic year as a PhD student is finally behind me. While I am still working and doing research, I have no classes over the summer. So things are a little bit more laid back.
The first year was tough and a lot of work, but surprisingly not as difficult as I had envisioned. I think the fact that this is something I really enjoy helps me to focus the time and effort necessary to complete my classes and research goals well.
If you remember my previous post on my goals at the outset of the program, I have the following to report:
1. I wore a tie at least once a week throughout the academic year. Though, now that it is summer, I am much more casual in the office - sometimes even wearing short, and t-shirt, and/or a ball cap. I haven't decided if I am going to re-institute the tie rule again next year. Any thoughts?
2. I successfully made it through the academic year without buying lunch. Once that goal was set and the other students realized it was a serious commitment, it was pretty easy to stick to. And having frozen burritos and Ramen noodles in the office in the event that I forgot my lunch helped as well.
3. I didn't do any schoolwork on Sunday. I can't tell you how many times I just wanted to read an article, do some research or write part of a paper on Sunday, but I refrained. And with all As so far in the program, I am certain that I have been blessed for it.
4. The goal was to treat school like a job. And maybe that is why it hasn't seemed overly difficult. I have forced myself to focus and put in time that I know I haven't done with my previous college degrees. Now that it's summer, I am treating it less like a full-time job and more like part-time job.
5. I take the bus nearly every day to and from school. Sometimes, if Deidra is out running errands or shopping, she'll pick me up at school. Other times I bring my running clothes to school and then run the 3.5 miles home at the end of the day.
Next year will bring with it the final year of coursework, and then the all-inclusive comprehensive preliminary exam comes around about this time next year. If and when I pass that, I am basically done with classes and will spend the next 2-3 years focusing solely on research, teaching, and my dissertation.
I am open to suggestions for revising my goals and/or introducing new goals for the next academic year. Any suggestions?