🔖From Pat Thomson, the ‘later on’ PhD

…what the professional usually wants from their PhD are systematic ways into core scholarly practices in research, and academic writing, rhetoric and argumentation, as well as immersion in the scholarship in their field.

This is me. I began my PhD at age 34. By this time I had two Masters degrees, five years’ experience as a classroom teacher, one as a school librarian, and three as a managing editor/digital asset manager/public communications specialist.

My department at work was clearly going to be eliminated and I didn’t have a plan for what to do next. I knew that I wanted to get a PhD eventually, that I wanted to have a kid in the next few years, and that while being a PhD parent is hard, it would allow me to have more flexibility in my schedule than any other job I was likely to get. I decided to go ahead and move my PhD plans up by a few years.

I don’t know what I will do next. I am extraordinarily unlikely to apply for any of the few tenure-track jobs that will open up in the next few years. I have a lot of experience from both my professional work and my personal pursuits, so I’m not worried about developing particular skills.

I came to the PhD because I wanted to understand research methods better, because I wanted to learn how to capture great work happening in libraries and education, and because I wanted a job where research and writing were expected. I’ve gotten those things out of it.

As I said, I don’t know what comes next. For now, I’m writing my dissertation, researching academic makerspaces, making the most of all the kid snuggles I can get and blessing my mother-in-law for being with M. so I can do any work ever, doing informational interviews, and otherwise trying to do what’s fun. 📓

Kimberly Hirsh @kimberlyhirsh