Earlier this year I posted about the dilemma of finding a topic for my dissertation. I can honestly say that at the beginning of this thing I had no idea the time and energy that it would entail. Any advanced degree in the social sciences typically involves a lot of writing and this particular one has been no different. Two LOOOOOONG years of classwork have recently ended with the last class being a doctoral level statistics class that I thought I was going to epically fail. However, I passed by the literal skin of my own teeth with a “B.” While I like distance learning, I also like the interactions that come along with being physically present in a traditional classroom. While I’ve been consistent with keeping up with the expectations of my program and turning in my assignments on time, I haven’t taken it seriously. It’s been a time consuming hobby. Not because I don’t take my life and professional goals seriously, but because I picked a fairly broad concentration that combines work I’ve completed in other disciplines. The next hurdle is that of starting, working on, and completing my dissertation. Thankfully I’ve finally arrived at a topic and after 3 months of emails and subsequent rejections have finally finalized a dissertation committee. So now I can categorize myself as ABD (all but dissertation) in the scholarly world. I can add “PhD. Candidate” to my email signature and even apply for jobs in higher ed. An added bonus was the fact that I could take a three month break and still be on track to graduate on time. All that being said, one of the interesting facts I learned this summer was that only 1.9% of people who start a doctorate complete it. That means that 98.1% of people who start one do not finish. That fact is motivation for me to finish what I started and to add another set of initials behind my name. The school thing isn’t finished and won’t be for a bit but with some dedication and consistency combined by my decision to take school seriously at this point in the game I’ll conquer this last mountain.
I’m not a big television watcher. This is largely due to the fact that I don’t really have the time and I don’t have cable. I’m not a huge fan of reality or game shows. However, the tv show, Shark Tank has really caught my eye. One thing that my parents drilled into me growing up was the importance of owning your own business. My siblings and I never got allowances because we were told that we were “allowed” to have free room and board. But I digress. Shark Tank is a great show because you get the chance to see people market themselves in order to grow their business. In fact, when you think about it, a lot of life depends on how you “market” or sell your skills to other people. One thing that is very apparent after watching the show is that that presentation is everything. Contestants on the show name their terms and how much money they need to pursue their dream and grow their business. They explain their services or products in detail and answer all the probing questions from the sharks. One thing that always amazes me is the number of people who do not know what they are talking about. It’s their business, their time to shine and they haven’t a clue. I came across a quote from Napoleon Hill this week that stated, “There is one weakness in people for which there is no remedy. It is the universal weakness of lack of ambition!” I can definitely agree with that sentiment and I think that there are many people who fit into that category. Starting your own thing takes time, dedication and ambition and I have a lot of respect for people who make that decision.