Day 1 is officially in the books! It was a rough start, with limited coffee, as we engaged in an I.Q. Test. This particular test asked participants to decipher hidden meanings in various word sets. (I say rough start, now, as the coffee had not yet kicked in and this test stretched the mind!) My favorite set, and one I still laugh about, is:
N N N N N N
A A A A A A A
C C C C C C C
Did you answer is correctly? It's 7-Up cans! I bet I could have guessed correctly had I finished my coffee first. This was a great exercise, though, to see that there are many ways to look at the world around us. As a doctoral scholar, and a scholar in general, it will be (is) important to look at all the angles of a topic, article, test, etc. There will be many meanings to be found. Part of the day touched on the dissertation. While I am nervous, I am equally excited to think through a question that is burning on my mind that I would like to answer. Of course, what makes me nervous is not simply answering that question, but backing it up with 100-150 sources of peer-reviewed information, and testing the answer to my question. Right now I am looking at charter school accountability, or perhaps something centered around online learning. Both are related to my own professional path, and are questions that not only do I have, but others in the community have.
Something that will challenge my throughout this process, and beyond, is critical reading. There is a process to follow here and I am not used to this process. I jump right in to the reading, as opposed to previewing, then skimming, then summarizing, etc. Of course I am open to learning a new way of learning, and of reading, I am simply aware of my fears and potential limitations.
An ah-ha moment, thanks to Travis, was from 'The Zen of Archery.' As a cohort (thanks Dr. Klocko) we watched a short film and talked briefly about that film. Just like this zen, the process of going through the doctoral program will be just that - a process. It is important to gather information and learn from that information along the way, to grow and to support that burning question we are striving to answer. The film highlights a respect for process, which is something I will be mindful of as I go about this journey. It is a journey, and there will be bumps along the way, but what is important is to stay on the path, respect the process, and be open to help along the way.
J.J. Lewis - a blog sharing the journey throughout SDSU's MA.EL. program.