Jamie Hillman is a multi-passionate, purpose-driven human, on a mission to make the world a better place. Her podcast and blog (Jamie on Purpose) are for young professional women to learn all things professional and personal development along their journeys to being tomorrow’s world-changing CEOs, government officials, and community leaders. In this podcast she considers whether or not to pursue a doctorate.
STEP 1: REALITY CHECK
#1. Do I have the time? Residential programs often require you to work on your research full time making this question less relevant. Online programs will require a minimum of 15-30 hrs/week depending on course load and your ability. This is the equivalent to a part-time job.
#2: Do I have the money? How much debt am I willing to incur, understanding I may not receive the degree? Be proactive and decide right now the amount of money you are willing to spend. Yes, education is priceless, and many of those who start and don't finish say the experience was worth it, but please do ask yourself this question.
#3 Do I have the support? A doctoral program is not a Master’s degree plus. It is a transformative journey that will change you and those close to you. Do people do this without the support of their friends and family? Sure. But, it's often not pleasant.
Have a heart-to-heart talk with those who are close to you. How do they feel about the time and financial commitment? Are they willing to attend events without you (remember that 20+ hours?), take on extra responsibilities, incur debt with you, etc.
#4 Am I up for the task? A doctoral program is rigorous and even if you listen to every podcast, your body will experience stress. When was the last time you had a physical? Can your body take the added stress? How about your mind? Do you consider yourself a resilient person who can "bounce back" after trauma?
Get a physical and have a heart-to-heart with the person who knows and loves you best and ask them to share with you, candidly, if they think you are up for the task.
STEP 2: LET’S DIG DEEPER
#5 Do I have a clear end goal? Why do you want this degree? A doctoral degree is costly in terms of time, effort, and often money. You will need a clear and focused why for two reasons: (1) To confirm you even need this degree and (2) to keep you going when the going gets tough.
#6 Will a doctorate get me closer to this goal? Spend time researching whether or not this degree will get you closer to your end goal. Find someone doing what you want to do and ask their advice (LinkedIn is a great resource for this). If they do encourage you to get your doctorate, be sure to ask them what type.
#7 Is pursuing a program in line with your core values? If it’s not, why do it? See Jamie on Purpose and her core value exercise: https://jamieonpurpose.com/blog/core-values
EXTRA CREDIT: Do you consider yourself a nerd? Do you get excited when someone shows you how to improve something you think is already perfect because you see it as a learning experience?
Spend at least two weeks mulling over these questions.
#16 - The Good Goodbye: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1547113/8016142
#21 – Should I Pursue a Doctoral Degree: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1547113/8169838
#25 - Applied versus PhD: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1547113/8409468