Ph.D...What's it like, really?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by kteachone, Nov 19, 2010.

  1. kteachone

    kteachone Companion

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    I'm in the process of finishing my Master's, and a few classmates are talking about starting their Ph.D soon after we're done. There's a program at a college nearby that starts next fall.

    Has anyone here completed their degree? Be brutally honest...what is it really like?
     
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  3. Genmai

    Genmai Companion

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    The important questions are:
    "Why do you want to enter a PhD program?"
    "What do you hope to get out of it?"
     
  4. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I'm going to start my doctorate program in August.
     
  5. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    No PhD here yet, but I'd like to someday. These days, I'm trying to get into a grad program for the 2nd time. I already have an MA in Education w/ emphasis in Special Ed & I'm trying to get an MS in Communication Sciences & Disorders w/ emphasis in Speech-Language Pathology. That's not an easy program.

    A PhD program usually isn't a walk in the park, that's for sure! It's a ton of hard work...so is getting a Masters, but of course the PhD is at the next level.

    If money was no object & it didn't matter if I had to work or not, I'd want a PhD in Anthropology.

    Oh, BTW, it would be nice to be called Dr. ___!
     
  6. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Good for you! I don't know if I forgot or just didn't know that you even had started a grad program. Did you post about your grad program often on this board?
     
  7. kteachone

    kteachone Companion

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    I truly do not understand some people of this forum. A genuine question is typically answered with sarcasm, which is completely unwelcome.

    I'm not an idiot--I know that there is no easy way to pick up a doctorate.

    No, I'm not doing this because I want to tag along with my classmates. I'm single with no children, so now would be an ideal time to focus on another degree. I have several options when it comes to what type I would like to work on, but I've narrowed it down to Special Ed (to continue my undergrad work), Curriculum and Instruction (to head into a leadership position), or Early Literacy Development. Two are online and one is hybrid.

    I didn't post here to justify why I wanted to start a new degree--I want to hear about experiences. I'm a worrier, and the less I have to worry about, the better.
     
  8. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    I'm starting classes for my Ph.D in January, but I can't officially start my program until next fall. I can take two classes as a non-degree seeking student that can transfer into the program if I start the program within a year of taking the classes. So, I'm going to take those two classes!
     
  9. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    I never wanted a phD because I'm no researcher and didn't want to spend up to 4-6 extra years on only one topic; however, from my article writing which is on PhD degrees in all types of fields, they are ALL hard IMO.

    I always thought medical school was the hardest thing, but after seeing what PhD people go through, I don't think so. PhDs are the ones who teach the medical students, so think about that. It's going to be a rough ride, no matter what field you get your phD in.

    After reading and writing about the requirements, a PhD in anything is daunting to me, I think there is a high drop out rate for minorities, don't quote me on that, but a lot of people are not making it through, and it can take up to 6 years in some cases.
    Glad I never decided to pursue one.

    If you're not "burnt out" and love research, are a strong and independent worker, talented, innovative and such, you should do fine. It's definitely not for everybody though, even if you're super smart and gifted, I think getting a Phd requires more than just those things, and definitely lots of stamina.
     
  10. kteachone

    kteachone Companion

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    What do you plan on doing work-wise when you are finished with the second grad degree?

    I taught an inclusion K class for two years, but now I'm teaching general ed. I miss my SPED babies...I wish my Master's degree was in SPED, but it's just ECE.
     
  11. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    I just realized...I didn't answer your question.

    Based on the experiences of friends who've completed their programs, there really isn't a solid answer. There are some "degree mill" schools, that offer Ph.D's that aren't too hard. Of course, those degree mills are known to be that way, so they're not really looked on with all that much prestige. Of course, there's also the consideration of the particular degree and what your background and natural skills are. I'm sure my degree program, in pure mathematics, will be difficult, but doable for me, but would be a total impossibility for others.

    Another thing to consider is what do you consider difficult? A Ph.D in math is going to require a very different set of skills as a Ph.D in History. I'd rather jump of a bridge into a lake of fire than do all the reading that's involved in a history degree, but banging my head against a wall to do a thesis in math is a very interesting prospect for me.

    In short, I think that if you really love the area you're getting your degree in, the difficulty level will be exciting, not a deal breaker. Does that make sense?
     
  12. kteachone

    kteachone Companion

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    Did you do the research on a specific program?
     
  13. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    Yes all types of programs from Nursing to Theology and Apologetics, Engineering, Technology Education, etc....so many completely different fields, but I would be surprised at the extensive processes they would have to go through to obtain their degrees.

    I never wrote about one for (special) education or anything related to teaching besides the Technology Education one, but I'm sure it's about the same type of intensive process.

    I'm sure you'll do fine though. I know 2 Elem. teachers who are able to teach full time and fulfill their PhD requirements.
     
  14. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    In what?
     
  15. SwOcean Gal

    SwOcean Gal Devotee

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    Sorry a bit off topic- but this really hit me and I was wondering and wanted to know some more from you about this...
    I am currently looking into a masters program, but I missed the deadline by oh a month or so. However, I think I can at least get in and take a course for January that will later count towards it when I get offically accepted into the program for summer most likely. Is that why you are taking the classes as a non-degree seeking? I am at least praying that is how it works! lol Fingers Crossed!
     
  16. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    It depends on the school. Some will allow you to do it, some won't. My tuition reimbursement benefit doesn't kick in till January, and I don't get state residency till Feb (though they're giving me a residency override, since it's just a month). Most schools don't let you officially start a Ph.D program in the spring and summer terms. In my case, the local university allows you to transfer 6 non-degree seeking credits into a Ph.D program. I wish it was more, but I'll take what I can get.
     
  17. SwOcean Gal

    SwOcean Gal Devotee

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    Great to know! Thanks!
    Sorry for hijacking!
     
  18. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    No problem!

    And now back to our regularly scheduled thread....

    :lol:
     
  19. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    I want to be a Speech-Language Patholgist. I think I'll like it better than teaching special ed & I can work in more of a variety of settings than just schools. I just completed my coursework for my speech-language pathology assistant license.

    What I'm really excited about it is this home-based money making program I recently got involved in. I've seen a lot of home business scams out there, but this one's truly great once I get going & I hope to pemanently be out of the work force in the near future & live the life I've always dreamed of, not live the life I have to. I know this guy who's received $100K in about 4 months...no, this is not a typo & yes, this is legit. I talk w/ him by phone here & there. I also know of others doing just as well as him. (If you or anyone else wants to know more about this, feel free to PM me!)
     
  20. 2ndTimeAround

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    I think, think because I do not have any specific experience with it personally, that Ph.Ds come in all shapes and sizes. I know of people that did theirs online in two years and the programs did not seem difficult at all. Not even that time consuming. I worked with one guy who already had a PhD in science but went for second in a different discipline and was pretty upset at how easy it was.

    My masters program was a joke. I'm glad I did it but honestly, my middle schooler at the time was working harder during the day than I was.

    As an aside - I've met several instructors at medical schools in my state - they were all medical doctors, not PhDs. Well, one was a dentist ;)
     
  21. sevenplus

    sevenplus Connoisseur

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    I figured when someone replied with "Why do you want the PhD?" it was a good question. A PhD is a HUGE undertaking. I've often thought about getting one, but then I do ask myself "why?" Is it because it's just the next professional challenge? (I have my master's and National Board certification.) Because, really, that's not enough reason for me to pursue a PhD. Now, if I wanted to teach at the university level, well, that would be a reason. (Obviously other people have other, valid reasons.)

    I have no experience with PhDs through online universities or whatnot. My husband pursued his PhD through a huge top-notch university and it was brutal. Absolutely brutal. He did it full time (did not work another job concurrently) and pretty much "lived" at the university. He taught several classes there while he was in the program. His program was focused very heavily on research.
     
  22. HMM

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    Quite frankly, it depends on what field you are in. I know many people with Ph.D.s and for the vast majority it was more busy/time consuming work than it was difficult work.
     
  23. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Educational Leadership
     

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