by | September 4, 2009

Sailors never go out on a journey without out their proper equipment. It would be a dangerous feat going out on the waters without a compass, charted map, radio, food or water. When you’re at the mercy of mother nature you never know what you will be getting into. Being prepared ahead of time will make the adventure much more manageable.

Being a doctoral learner is much like being a sailor. You may find yourself going into unchartered territory. Sometimes the wind may howl, or sometimes it may be the lightest breeze that doesn’t get you anywhere. How will you prepare yourself for smooth sailing through the doctoral journey?

Luckily there are many resources for learners out there. Perhaps early on you plotted out your map with your Academic Advisor and set up a degree completion plan. The degree completion guides you through your program and helps you stay the course. Sometime the journey may change so it’s important to keep it up to date, much like a sailor changes a route to stay the course. If you haven’t created your map, it’s never to late.

At times in a sailor’s life something may happen to their vessel causing them to take a break from the waters and take time to mend the sails or patch the hull. What will you do if you experience this in your program? Again look to the tools here that will help you get back on track. Struggling with your writing? Spend some time in the writing center. Not sure about how to manage your time? Check out the time management center. Need to look for a new job? Talk to someone in the career center about job search techniques. Not sure what tools you need? Talk with your Academic Advisor and they will help steer you in the right direction.

When a sailor is out in the middle of the ocean, life can get pretty lonely. Many learners can relate to those feelings. Despite learning at a distance you do have opportunities to build a crew for your ship. Colloquia is a great time to meet people and make friendships. Some learners ask fellow classmates to take courses together and study through e-mail and phone calls. Networking with faculty will help you formulate your dissertation topic.

The doctoral experience may be as unpredictable as the wind. However you’re the captain of your ship and you do have the equipment to help you through the voyage. Learn about the resources, use your tools, seek assistance from your crew. Fill your sails and you’ll get yourself there.