PhD, PhD What do I See?

by | August 5, 2009

If I want to have perfect vision I need to wear glasses at all times. Without them my world is blurred and foggy. Recently my glasses broke and I had to wear my old frames with an outdated prescription while my other glasses got fixed. I was able get by but I still had to lean in closer or turn on an extra light to see. I wasn’t comfortable driving with my old glasses and relied on others to get me around. For a couple of days I didn’t have clear vision and life was a bit more challenging. Once I got my glasses back my fog lifted, I could see clearly.

Not having clear vision reminded me of conversations I have had with my learners who lost sight of their goals and vision for their doctorate. Somewhere in the middle of hectic schedules, studying and life events their glasses broke. Things became blurred and their course work became challenging. My learners got by, but without having a vision for themselves it was easy to get lost.

If things have become blurred what can you do to regain focus? There is a famous quote, “keep your eye on the prize,” that comes to mind. Keeping your gaze fixed on the vision that brought you to Capella is the best tool you can use to see clearly. Your vision will keep you motivated. It will remind you of the direction you chose for yourself. It will keep you on the right path. It will drive you to the end.

Take some time to reflect on your dream. Look back at where you came from and look forward to what you will accomplish. Perhaps some tools, like writing down your vision and posting it somewhere, will keep your vision in plain sight. Maybe your vision has changed slightly and you will need to make some changes to get you back on track. Possibly you haven’t thought of a vision for yourself and need to formulate it for the first time. Whether you need to simply clean your lenses or completely fix your glasses, it is important to take care of the things that will help you see clearly as you navigate through your doctoral experience.

A formerly struggling learner took time to think about how she was setting her sights on life after her PhD and got reacquainted with her dream job. She told me it was like going on vacation to visit an old friend and now she knew exactly how to prepare for her trip. She found a new motivation, kept her eye on the prize and was excited about learning.


Academic endeavors feel much better when you can see where you are going and how to get there. What do you see?