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How to become a Doctor (allegedly)

February 18, 2013

Here at SOLES we are getting ready to host very eager and excited prospective PhD students, and being a 2nd year PhD student myself I thought it would be fun to offer some “advice” to the prospective students. It would be easy for me to just stand on my soapbox and dribble about classes and process but I thought it would be more fun to ask my wonderful cohort for nuggets of knowledge. So here they are, pieces of wisdom from a few people who have been there and thankfully never have to go back there again.

If you had to offer prospective students 1 piece of advice about our PhD program–the interview and otherwise– what would you tell them?? 

  • My advice is to be yourself and listen! Don’t try and overshadow- be concise and deliberate with your word choices!
  • Look at the faculty bios online. Have a few questions or connective remarks ready for each faculty member.
  • Showing leadership at the interview does not mean speaking insistently and dominating the conversations. Sometimes, it means allowing others to speak and showing that you are a good listener.
  • Humility is a beautiful thing, but it’s okay to say how freaking hard you’ve worked to get where you are.
  • Know why you are seeking this adventure; how will this knowledge be a source of strength for you during your journey?
  • Be thoughtful and intentional in your interactions with people; faculty and one another. Say what you mean and mean what you say.
  • Understand your passion; how have you evidenced this in your life and experiences so far? How do you envision the expression of your passion in the future?
  • Count the cost; show you have contemplated the commitment and possess strategies to address the challenges ahead.
  • Be honest and straightforward. Don’t say what you think they want to hear, but speak from the heart and from your own personal experience.
  • Forget what you think a Doctoral student looks likes, speaks like, thinks like, etc. BE YOURSELF!
  • When pursuing the program, make time to smell the roses, or play golf! If you dont have to work, DON”T!  You can do it, but your hair might fall out prematurely!
  • Finally, don’t drink too much coffee on the drive in 😉 and don’t worry. Once you are “in,” you will have joined a community.

My last $0.02 is that this program is filled with some of the best people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I think our faculty do a great job of choosing people who make our family better. And it is a family…sometimes we drive each other crazy–usually in class…usually at 8:19 asking Bob a question…but we are always here for one another, that’s the true beauty of it.  If you’re lucky enough to join us, you’ll be in wonderful company.

Some of my cohort at the ILA conference in Denver

Some of my cohort and a few Masters students at the ILA conference in Denver

A few of us Doc students at the Del Mar races on Labor Day

A few more Doc students in Chile

A few more Doc students in Chile

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