Thursday, May 15, 2008

Confessions of a first year doctoral student

I just completed my first year of my doctoral program and here are some of the things I learned along the way.
  • Time Management: I've learned a lot about time management. I thought I was an organized and on-time person, however being in a doctoral program and working shifted my thinking upside down. I learned how to prioritize and it was pretty hard for me not being able to reply to e-mails the minute I got other words I really had to prioritize my school work in order to get it done.
  • Learning to say no: Last year when I started blogging at Aspiration I was just starting to learn about nonprofit sector issues and I wanted to be a part of those conversations. In other words, I joined any committee I could in order to participate in sector wide issues. I was super excited and said yes to any opportunity that came my way whether it be speaking, teaching, or committee work. However, now that I'm in my PhD program I have to prioritize my opportunities and not volunteer for everything! I guess I am becoming more strategic in my commitments.
  • Finding my place: Before I started my PhD I was working as Assistant Director for a reputable nonprofit, however I've now taken on a new role at the bottom of the totem pole as a Research Assistant and PhD student. Although my expertise is appreciated, it is quite humbling not being able to know everything about the organization I am working in nor be the decision maker.
  • Finding what's relevant: I have been doing a lot of reading and writing in my doctoral program and as you can probably guess, I put a lot of effort into writing papers over this past year. But now I am trying to figure out whether or not I should post the papers I wrote this year on my blog. I am presenting portions of my work at academic conferences, however these are only a small group of people. And I do think my papers are relevant to nonprofit practitioners are researchers alike.
This year I wrote papers about:
    • Applying Three Interdisciplinary Views of Leadership and Knowledge to Researching Leadership in the Nonprofit Sector
    • Measuring Community Impact: Perspectives from Three Fields of Literature
    • Perspectives on Blogging in the Nonprofit and Philanthropic Sector
Now I'm trying to figure out what to do next. I'll put the paper abstracts on the next three blog posts. So, please let me know if you:

A. Would like a copy of my paper to read?
B. Think I should try to condense my paper down to look like a nice 3-5 page research report and post on my blog?
C. Leave my work in the academic community and not make it available on my blog?

No comments: