Life in the Counselor Education PhD program varies greatly year to year, and now that I am in my third year in the program and classes are behind me, one would think that there would be an abundance of free time. No classes to sit in, no papers or exams to prepare for, wouldn't there be obvious free time? Well, it’s somewhat ironic that the topic of this writing will be on the struggles that come from an inability to write and thus the substantial lack of free time. One word. Dissertation.
A major hurdle for any doctoral program, and in many ways, the prime de facto of doctoral education, my time these past few weeks have been centralized around sitting at my desk, doing what I can to synthesize all the ideas and concepts that have been learned, into a cogent argument and justification for my study. Not easy, given that there have been a lot of ideas and concepts learned these past two years. And though I may physically be still, staring at the screen of my word processor, my mind is racing what feels like an ultra-marathon. Thoughts of “is this right?” and concerns for the “what ifs” and more general unknowns hound every word I type. Needless to say, it’s an exhaustive process.
But what drew me to the program was the overarching support from the faculty and my fellow colleagues who are facing similar struggles to my own. This support has been a fine counter balance to periods like these. While it can sometimes be immobilizing conceiving of all the things that still need to get done, I can at least draw comfort in the fact that I don’t have to face this challenge alone. Quite a nice reassurance to stay mindful of and another thing to be grateful about the program here at William and Mary.