Now some of this stuff may actually be true. My point is that it is hard to tell with so many folks pushing one thing or another. Most of it is emotion grabbing and crafted to grab your attention. Do you feel any stronger after reading all of this or do you suddenly want to take a nap? So how is your motivation? Ready to take on the world and whip up one heck of a magnificent doctoral dissertation. Ready to cat wrangle a few unruly and surly doctoral committee members? Why not?
Many folks who start a doctoral degree do not finish. If you want to be one of the ones who do finish then you need to get control of you. I’d like to tell you that those of us who made it are the smartest, best looking and best performing folks in the world. I’d like to tell you we (at least the males) are a cross between James Bond, Albert Einstein and McGyver. I tell myself that all the time. But for you my readers I must be honest. What we did was control the environment around us. We did not leak our energy into worrying about any of the stuff noted above.
The news and other people will tell you there are no jobs, economic times are hard and failure is ahead. You do not have time for that type of crap. You keep all of that away from you and focus on your goal. You have fun and take time off. You spend time with family but you stay away from the negative and work on what you know that you can do. You rest when you can and then you pound away at the next segment of your goal. If a close friend is against you then you shut him/her out as much as possible. They may just be jealous and want you back in the pack of friends like you were before. Time to leave them behind (or minimize interactions) and pick up the friendship when you have graduated.
You have only so much energy, both emotional and physical. Yes you can use goals to pull you along. I talk a lot about that but this message is about conserving what are your core beliefs. There are so many psychological studies about folks will and responses being bent by the social setting around them. So choose your environment so that you are supported and stay away from the constant onslaught of news, people and relatives that drag you down. Negative news sells and people click on it or turn to the flashy negative message. After reading all the negative drivel you start to wonder if you will ever find a good job. Next you start to wonder if you should just stop chasing the degree. Time after time this happens and you start to wear down and one day you just walk away from the degree process.
Do not let that happen to you. No one can read the future and most of this negative crap is just “experts” predictions. So many times predictions are just wrong. They are basically people’s guesses. When you stand up there in front of hundreds of people and are given your degree that is real. When you apply for a job and are qualified and get hired that is real. If bad times do arrive then you will be one of the degreed experts who help solve problems. Focus on the real and ignore the hype. If things weaken you then cut them out of your life until you have graduated. Do not let the internet and news services shape your dreams and your future. Arrange your environment to support and strengthen you.
Mind your goals,
Dr. Randy Parker
National Doctoral Students Association