Taking Stock

It’s hard to believe that the school year is 20% over already.  The past few months have been a whirlwind for me, due primarily to me starting both a new job and a new graduate program at the same time.  I’ve debated the wisdom of that decision several times over the course of September, but after a rocky start, things have finally evened out.  I feel comfortably settled into both my new job and my new school, and I’m happy to report I’m enjoying both!

The first course in my doctoral program, Experiential Learning, focused primarily on helping students to codify their beliefs about leadership and establish learning goals for the coming year.  In one of my papers, I established the following goal:

Goal #2: Reflect on my learning in a transparent manner.   I have long felt that honest reflection is one of the most vital components of learning, and I required my students to do it frequently, both verbally and in writing.  As a blogger of over four years, I have found great value in writing about my professional practice and considering feedback from my audience […] I hope to gain similar benefits from writing online about my experiences in the doctoral program as I have from writing online about teaching and school psychology.

So what are my reflections upon finishing my first course?  They’re much less to do with leadership and more to do with biting off more than I can chew.  I figured it would be difficult, but doable, but I seriously underestimated how much all this newness in my life would take out of me.  I don’t feel that either my studies or my work suffered as a result of my decision, but my sleep patterns, stress levels, and general well-being certainly did.  I had the opportunity to defer starting my studies for a year, and in retrospect that wouldn’t have been the worst idea, but what’s done is done.  Moving forward, I need to be much more sensible about balancing my responsibilities.  Perhaps that’s not such a bad lesson for a future leader to learn now rather than later.


  • I certainly can speak to the notion of biting off more than you can chew. When I decided to go back to graduate school a few years ago, I also decided to have another child, quit a full-time work gig and become a full-time mom to my other two children. I took on 3 massive endeavors all at once and severely underestimated my ability to handle all of it. Perhaps I was a bit mad 😀 But I think what I learned was that change is a process and in the midst of change, you have to allow yourself time to adapt to the change. For me, doing it all at once didn’t afford me the opportunity to take a step back and analyze what the effects of the changes I had made were on me or my family. Needless to say, it was a rough period for me and my family and we’re still recovering. I’m a lot wiser now though and there is truth in the statement – What does not kill you, makes you stronger!
    mo´s last blog post ..Guide to NASP – A newbie’s survival guide

  • Ha, your experience sounds much like mine – while I was in grad school for school psych, I got married, honeymooned, bought a house, sold a house, bought another house, and had two children (my wife actually took the lead on that one), and this is all while teaching high school English full time. To say that it took a toll, especially when our first child was a newborn, is an understatement.

    In fact, a condition of my going back to school was that the kids had to be much more self-sufficient. Doing it when the kids were infants was tough/insane, but now they’re nearly 4 and 7, so it’s a little different. I also promised my wife that the program would not impinge upon family time, so all my writing, work, etc., gets done after they go to bed (luckily for me my wife goes to bed early too!). It’s all about compromise.

  • […]  When a friend asked if I had publicized this on my blog, I paused, then realized that in the hubbub of the start of school, I had completely […]

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