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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Why a PhD?

I have always wanted to be Dr. Di. Not necessarily a medical doctor, but a philospher/thinker/educator. While I’m busily serving on exec board, rearing the last son at home, and teaching, I am probably too busy to consider getting an advanced degree. But I want one. Why? I can’t really concisely describe this.

I want to go back to school and learning with people in a classroom, not just via blogs and listserv’s. I want to stretch my mind. I want to strive for something more, become something more, and have something more to offer. Is that a good enough reason?

What would I do with the degree? Well, of course, I’d get paid more in my same position, but I’d also incur tremendous debt obtaining this. Do I want to move to a different position? No, I don’t want to be in administration or academia removed from the school. I believe I can offer the most to students working with them daily and writing about them in my blog. I am involved professionally so I feel like I am helping colleagues. Is that enough? 

I can’t afford to begin a program. Surviving a divorce and taking on all the debt in today’s economy is a big enough struggle. I already worry that I have enough food in the cupboard for my teenager and me to eat each week, and enough gas to get to work. Should I extend myself even more? Will it be worth it in the end?

For those of you who have considered this in-depth, would you comment and tell me what you think? Is the degree worth it? Is the pursuit of the degree enough? Is it best to participate in a program that is classroom based, totally online, or a mix of the two? 

There are many universities that will guide me in degrees in administration or curriculum & development. What about degrees in information science? Who has the best programs? Would you expand your interest or focus on libraries?

I earned my MA in LIS in 1989. That’s nearly 20 years ago. I have "nearly" raised my children and can see a future down the road in 3 years when I’ll be debt free. Should I wait to begin a program? Have you recently completed a program? What were your experiences.

Tell me what you think. The comment box is open and I’d appreciate your thoughts.


  1. Karen Lemmons says:

    Hi Diane! I thought I commented on this blog. Apparently, it did not go through. My niece would love to call me Dr. K. However, I am straddling on the fence on the Ph.D. issue. If I decide to pursue a Ph.D., it would be in a different area. For example, I have an interest in quilting/fiber arts. So I would be interested in an advance degree in fiber arts. This would fulfill two purposes: give me a historical/technical/research aspect and a creative approach to my craft. Would I love to teach fiber arts? Yes!!!! I could teach and create at the same time? That would be so cool!!!
    I don’t know which schools offer advance degrees in fiber arts. I should at least investigate some programs.

  2. I met a professor who is nearly retired. She told me she got the Ph.D. then immediately took a pay cut of $20,000 to teach in a university instead of a school. I don’t exactly want to take such a pay cut right now. She said it was the perfect position to retire from. Would you do that?

  3. Karen Lemmons says:

    I would, IF I was retiring from my school library job. I plan to retire in . . .don’t know yet! I have heard that professors salaries’ are “okay”, but certainly not that of a public school teacher. From my limited understanding, some professors tend to supplement their income with publishing books, presentations, and research grants.