Yes, it really has been four years!

I was going over some old sites and tidying things up a bit and realized it’s been ages since I last posted here. In fact, it has been slightly more than four years since my last entry! While I am now approaching the end of the Ph.D. program (more on that in a moment), so much else has happened that I don’t know where to begin.

In my last post, I mentioned I had to deal with a sudden family emergency. While I will not go into the details surrounding that, there is no question that that event was one of many extremely serious matters I’ve dealt with since I enrolled at UCR. The life challenges I’ve faced during that time have been extraordinary and under no circumstances would I ever want to go through those challenges again. Even now, many of those issues have yet to be resolved. Personally, I believe that degrees that are given for “life experience” are bogus. Just the same, I would be eligible for multiple such “degrees” if such thing were really given!

However, despite those challenges, I am now dissertating! My experience at UCR have been very positive – the level of scholarship is nothing less than phenomenal. It’s been an honor to study with so many brilliant individuals – the professors are highly respected and recognized experts within their fields. The quality of the doctoral students in my program is also what one would expect at a tier one research institution – “bad apples” simply aren’t admitted, and nearly all make it through the program.

Unlike degrees-for-dollars schools (and diploma mills) that crank out Ph.D.s faster than McDonald’s flips burgers, UCR only permits a very small number of students to enter the program each year (generally no more than two students). Yes, it’s a very select group and students are expected to perform at very high levels from the beginning. I’m loathe to use the term “rigorous” to describe the program (although that is an accurate descriptor) simply because I’ve seen the term bantered about by so many degrees-for-dollars school and their customers (note, I didn’t use the term “students”) who serve as “ambassadors” to suck more souls into their systems. At the University of California, there is an unquestionable emphasis on quality, not quantity.  That, of course has many advantages in that we work very closely with our professors and class sizes are very small – often containing no more than four to eight students.

Well, this is enough for now. Perhaps I’ll write more in the near future to discuss some of the things I’ve experienced as a Ph.D. student. Hopefully, that won’t take another four years!