Day 14: Remember Me
Perhaps you did something this year that made you stick out among the crowd. What is one thing you did in 2012 that you want people to remember you by? Additionally, is there anything that happened this year that you don’t want to be remembered by?
As I relayed in a previous post, I managed to study, complete, and pass my comprehensive exams in September/October. What some of you may not know was that I was not able to take a break after I passed. Nope, instead of breathing and basking in the glow of Doctoral Candidacy, I instead went straight into my dissertation proposal edits laid out by my advisor in order to get them to my committee in time for my proposed defense date, which was two weeks later.
And why, pray tell, did I have to immediately dive into the dissertation edits so soon after comps? Couldn’t I have taken some more time? Well, I could have, but the thing is that I am trying to graduate with my Ph.D. in just three years time.
It may sound crazy but it has been done before, especially in my particular area of study. I am actually following a schedule set forth by my good friend Beth Sundstrom, whose ability to graduate in three years gave me hope that I can also do the same. I’ve even dubbed it “The Beth Sundstrom Plan.”
You see, it’s not that I hate UMD and am dying to leave, in fact I love the time I am spending there. It’s just that I’ve been there since 2008 (I also got my master’s degree there) and I feel like I’m at the point now where I’m ready to go out into the “real world” and become a “real person,” AKA a tenure-track assistant professor. I’ve gained such invaluable experience at UMD, but I feel that I’m ready to become an independent teacher and scholar. So I’d rather just work my butt off now and finish by May than stay for an extra year that I probably do not need.
And so, I suppose that is what I want to be remembered by in my Department. That you can be successful as a Ph.D. student in a shorter amount of time – you just have to put in the work and make the best out of it. Work on as many research projects as you can and send manuscripts ASAP for publication. Go to conferences and network with top scholars to get your name and face out there. Start thinking about your dissertation project and conduct projects that will lead to that work. Make connections now that can give you access to populations for your dissertation. Start conducting research on the type of job you want after graduation and make goals as to how you can get there.
I hope that the choices I’ve made over the past several years at UMD can serve as a model to my colleagues and other grad students. I hope that I can build on the UMD Comm Department legacy and make them proud. I want to be remembered as the grad student who “made it.” I want to be this year’s success story.