I have been thinking about starting a blog to document my journey through a PhD program. The purpose is to have a space to process my thoughts and the experience but then to also give my family and friends more insight into this journey. Choosing to become a full-time PhD student was not an easy decision and I plan on writing a post in the near future about my decision making process and give more introduction to what I'm going to be doing for the next 3-4 years. For today, for my first blog post, I have a few thoughts to get me started on this important day.
As you can probably tell by the title of this post, today is my first day of classes for my PhD program in Higher Education Administration. I haven't had a first day of school as a student in 9 years, I think. I started my masters program at Azusa Pacific University in August of 2002. That was 10 years ago and I could not have imagined at that time that I would be here, an incoming PhD student. Back in the classroom with homework and papers to write.
There is always excitement in a first day of school. I always loved the first day of classes, even working professionally in Residence Life for the past 9 years it was always one of my favorite days. Training was always fun, but the tone of campus changed and my staff took on a different mindset. I always loved to celebrate this day with them and send them a note and gift to remind them someone is behind them, cheering them on. Now I'm the one starting classes, and I got a few of those messages today, including lots of likes on Facebook on my update about my first day of classes. The support of my family and friends has been crucial in my choice to pursue a PhD. They believed in me and have encouraged me along the way. I said goodbye to good friends and moved many miles away to the unknown and they could not have been more supportive. More recently I have gained confidence and encouragement from those who have gone before me in the PhD journey, some on the other side and some in the thick of the experience. Those currently in my program and those I'll be starting classes with today are already such a great support network. I even got an an encouragement and reminder to breathe from one of my professors this morning. Thank you to all those people. I know I'll need you in the future, maybe more than I have up to this point. I know there will be times I'll be stressed and discouraged and maybe even doubting my decision to be here. During that time I'll be relying on you and may not remember to thank you then, so thank you now.
Enough with the mushy student affairs talk...back to the First Day of School! I am excited, nervous, and anxious to get in the classroom. I have about an hour until class begins for today. I have some reading to get done before then in preparation for the class, which I hope will calm me down a little and focus for class. More to come on what classes are really like and the reality of doctoral level reading and homework. Until then, here's my picture documenting this first day...