For the past few years, my goal has been to complete my Ph.D. at the University of Kansas. Along the way, my end goal was always in sight with little consideration for the changes that were occurring along the way. Having my head buried in reading, working on coursework, and writing, sometimes I would ask myself, “what am I doing?”
Early last Fall, I was answering to my doctoral committee on questions and issues in educational technology, focusing on what I had learned from my reading and research and on how I would put that all to use in constructing my research proposal and methodology.
I was thrown when one of my committee members asked me what I had gained from working on my doctorate at KU. In the throes of coursework and networking, I had lost sight of exactly what I was doing and how it was all transforming me.
You see, I always viewed this degree as an end…a sign that I had proverbially “made it” in terms of my education and academic career. Upon finishing, I would have time to breathe and relax and really take in the world around me. Just the opposite happened.
I find myself reading and writing even more, partaking in synchronous and asynchronous discussions on a regular basis, elevating my need for information, and researching topics to transform my work and interactions. I see now why that committee member wanted me to reflect on my work at KU.
So, Dr. Zhao, in a long-awaited answer to your question that you asked last October, my experience through this process has transformed me. I crave more quality and research-driven information. I’m constantly reading and researching, and my experience has made me entrepreneurial in the sense that I want to seek out the “why” of every issue I encounter. I feel a charge to change my world and that of others. I read journals and papers now with a renewed sense of critical inquiry and hope.
Thank you for asking the question that has been stuck in my mind since it was asked. I thought I was getting a degree; instead, I gained a vision of who I truly am and why this journey was so incredibly important to me.