So - as I attempt to procrastinate my way into ignoring very real assignment commitments, I figured I'd write a post on "what happens next." As you may (or may not know) I applied to 6 programs, was accepted 3, and ended up attending my first choice program. I applied to 4 PhD Programs, a DPA program, and a DBA program. I got into 2 PhD programs and the DBA programs. Of course I've gone back to see what the other programs look like. One PhD program gets 30-40 applications and accepts 4 with hopes of getting 2. The year prior to my application they accepted only and were looking for faculty. No specific details. The other PhD only took in 4 students against a usual class of 10-12. Suddenly I don't feel so badly. I considered the DPA to be a sure thing - still not sure what went wrong there. So - now that I've reflected on my defeats - where is it all at?
I ended up with a summer entry - taking a summer course in my specialization (3 credits). For the fall I took two courses, one in the program main curriculum (3 credits) and another in my specialization (3 credits), along with a research residency (1 credit). The result - All A's (including an A+ - I didn't even know these existed!). For 2017 I'm in my residency year, which requires that I do one 9 credit semester and an 18 credit year. I took the 9 credits in the spring (which is now and the work I'm currently avoiding). One course has concluded (I needed a 62 on the final paper to get an A - so I should be ok there). The second course, which I'm working now (I need to submit two papers tonight, one is half written, the other is a short research report - I'm taking "short" to heart). This course has given almost nothing in terms of feedback, so I really don't know where I stand. The third the professor (who is also my program planning chair) went out early in the semester with medical issues. I don't know when or if she'll return, so this could complicate things. The sub in professor has been fantastic and I'm chugging along quite nicely. That paper is due in about 5 days. I will start it right after I finish these two.
Am I happy I went into the program? Yes. Do I regret it? Also, yet. It has been an overwhelming amount of work, but I can see and feel my growth as an academic. This is part of the life/career plan - so I'm fortunate to be moving forward and accomplishing the goals I've set for myself. For the rest of this year I'll be taking an independent study this summer to work on a paper that can lead to publication as well as a conference (which will be 3 credits and falls into the professional development section). In the fall I'll take another specialization course and another core curriculum.
In terms of progress I'm currently planning to sit for prelims at the 3 year mark and have set aside another year and a half for dissertation. This would put me out at about 4.5 years, well below average (from what I've read) and well before my 40th birthday (my goal). I'm just hoping I can sustain momentum and clear prelims without too much a challenge. To all of you just starting - I wish you the very best. Dig in, dig deep, and keep moving forward. Good luck to you all.