I recently completed my second semester as a doctoral student and whenever I speak about this journey on social media, many people slide into my DM’s with questions asking about it. Although I LOVE and have spoken to many people through Instagram, I decided to create this post to share my journey and the FAQs I receive. This post focuses on education beyond a Master’s Degree!
I would first like to say that if continuing your education and going for your doctorate is on your mind, it’s on your mind for a reason and you should explore that! Whether you decide to apply or not, I’m so excited for you as you begin your journey figuring out what’s meant for you and I can’t wait to be your cheerleader!
As you begin searching for programs, it’s important to understand that there’s a distinction between a PhD and EdD. (I had NO CLUE about this!!) Some programs will offer an EdD (Doctor of Education) and others a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) in Education. I’ve learned that a program offering an EdD is meant for someone looking to produce changes within the Field of Education, while a PhD is more theoretical and content specific, usually meant for someone looking to instruct at the University level. My program offers an EdD, but truthfully, this didn’t make or break my decision. I researched programs based on my interest and didn’t take into consideration whether I would receive an EdD or PhD. In my eyes, both degrees weigh the same and a doctorate is a doctorate!
Alright, let’s get into some FAQs!
Question 1: What is your educational background?
Bachelor’s Degree: Spanish Adolescence Education (grades 7-12) (2014)
Master’s Degree: Spanish Language and Literature (2018)
Doctorate: Learning & Teaching (EdD) (In progress!)
After graduating with my Bachelor’s degree, my only goal was to get STRAIGHT into the classroom and that’s exactly what I did. I started my full time teaching job and took a year off of school. I started my Master’s program my second year of teaching and then waited about a year and a half in-between my Master’s and current Doctoral program.
Question 2: What are you pursuing your doctorate in?
My Doctoral program is titled “Learning & Teaching.” I would describe it as your “general” education doctoral program with classes surrounding the actions of learning and teaching. I searched for a program that was more general than specific. I didn’t want to receive a doctoral degree in a specific subject area. Education, in general, is my JAM!
Question 3: What is your experience like?
To put simply, IT’S AMAZING! Going for my doctorate was NOT on my list of things to do, however one day it CLICKED and became something I HAD to do…in the best way possible! I believe I’ve had such a positive experience because it’s something I truly WANTED and I ENJOY learning. I’ve come to realize that if you are considering pursuing a doctorate, it has to be YOUR decision because it’s too much work if it’s something you’re not OBSESSED with or don’t love.
Question 4: How do you balance work life and PhD life?
Not only do I have to balance work-life and PhD-life, but don’t forget about family life…and social life…and personal life, etc. The answer is: IT’S DIFFICULT!!! Taking classes, even outside of a doctoral program, and working full time, is a huge commitment on top of the already time-consuming and demanding life as a teacher. YOU KNOW that our work day doesn’t end at 3pm. There’s grading to be done, planning, copying, paperwork, meetings, phone calls, etc. It’s A LOT!
Something that has worked for me to balance work & PhD life is to ONLY do stuff for work AT WORK and stuff for Grad school OUTSIDE of work and ACTUALLY stick to it. This has meant that I am SUPER FOCUSED and MOTIVATED at work to get everything done because when I leave, I need to be able to dedicate my time to my other “lives.” Although this has worked well, the downside is that I can’t always “hangout” and participate in all of the convos in the faculty room or go hangout in someone’s classroom, which means I sometimes can’t be as social and connect with my colleagues as I’d like. However, my priorities are clear and I understand that it’s what I have to do. Then outside of work once I’m home, I TRY to dedicate at least an hour a night to school work and usually spend Saturdays at the library.
Question 5: Does your life stop?
This was definitely a fear I had. I had people telling me my life would stop and I almost believed them. However, your life will “stop” if you let it stop…it’s that simple! Something I do to continue “living” my life is saying “yes” to social events on Friday or Saturday nights. This is A LOT easier said than done, and I need to be reminded of this constantly. But, if you are someone who knows that your homework will always get done, then enjoying a couple of hours with your friends won’t hurt you. Something I do to feel better about attending social gatherings is wake up earlier those days and get an early start to completing work…you just make it work!
Question 6: Is getting your doctorate hard?
If it’s not challenging, it’s not rewarding! I believe that the only way you will grow and improve and gain knowledge is if you’re provided with challenges. So, is it difficult? Yes! However, is it rewarding? OH YES! I believe the magic sauce is that even though it’s difficult, I’m obsessed with it and love learning. It’s not the whole this-is-not-worth-it-what-am-I-doing kind of difficult.
Exploring the idea of going for your doctorate is such an exciting process and I’m so excited for you! Remember, that going back to school is not everyone’s jam and even if you decide it’s not for you, that’s OK! But, find what’s meant for you and go chase that dream!
If you have any other questions, feel free to send me DM on Instagram and I’ll be happy to chat!
I truly hope you’ve enjoyed this post! Let me know what you think of it HERE!
Thanks for stopping by!