Update time! I haven’t spoken too much of my PhD program on here, other than my general up and down feelings about it (isn’t that I am like about most everything, though?), so I thought it was time for an update!
I am currently almost mid-way through semester two! It is crazy to think that in just two short months I will be done with my first year (besides summer classes). I am currently in two classes: I have a pedagogy (teaching) course from 4-6:40 on Wednesday nights and a supervision course the same time on Thursday nights. I also attend a master’s level techniques course at 7 on Monday nights about twice a month to teach or supervise students in practicing their counseling skills.
This past Monday was my first master’s level teaching experience, and it was really fun! I led an hour and a half lesson on basic counseling techniques. It was fun to prepare (the Type A person in me loves lesson planning and making syllabi!) and a good way for me to make sure I am keeping up-to-date with counseling best practices. I think that by teaching you also re-teach yourself. The students were very engaged and brought up points that I had not considered, which I loved! I try to be relevant and fun in how I teach, so I showed a funny TV show clip and even had a “dating” scenario for two students to participate in. I was pleased with how everything went! Only issue is I have to TAPE as I teach/supervise, so I have to watch and analyze that in my classes….should be interesting! I hate watching myself on tape :(. I TALK WITH MY HANDS! MAKE ME STOP.
Overall, I am enjoying being back in school. I will say that I don’t feel that way every day or week (the beginning of this semester was a prime example), but generally I am enjoying the program. The classes are interesting, and I am able to keep it so that I only do school work during the week and not on the weekends, which was a big thing for me. I didn’t want school to take over my whole life and at this point it has not. There are some courses in the future that may be more of a workload, but only taking two at a time keeps that in check. I tend to get things done very quickly, too, which helps. I also have an idea for a dissertation (!), so that has been exciting to start to think about and work on ways I can incorporate that into my papers from now on. If only I didn’t have to pay tuition for the next three years, I would be set! Student forever?!
This summer will be intense, though. My classes end the very end of April, and then starting on May 18th, I will be taking an 8 week statistics course (that I unfortunately couldn’t get out of despite having taken in undergrad already…at least it will be easy) and will be TEACHING a 5 week secondary counseling course. This means that for 5 weeks I will be at VCU Monday-Thursday evenings at 4 until 7 or 8. Ugh. This will greatly impact my ability to run as much (which is obviously what I am most worried about), but I am hopeful that by doing my teaching internship over this period of time I will be lessening my load for next spring when the teaching would be at a less desirable time and would drag on for 16 weeks. Work should be less crazy during this time, too. It will just make for some long days! Thankfully the weather should be better then.
I also am looking forward to going to more conferences and presenting, because that will combine my love of travel with school! I for sure am going to a conference in October in Philadelphia (which I have never been to) and may go to Phoenix in June. I will aim to go to two conferences a year as long as they are in good places:). Hopefully I will publish some work in the next year as well! I have some article ideas in process.
As for what I want to do with all this? Still undecided, but I like to know that I have so many options in the future. I think that is the best part. As long as I survive until 2018:)
So that is my update for now! If you or someone you know has pursued a PhD while working, let me know any tips!