my own personal PhD

Sometimes I feel like I am in a completely different PhD program than some of my "colleagues." I suppose that's the thing about an Interdisciplinary program. It leaves it up to you to construct a specialization, a specific interest and allows you the opportunity to work with various professors who have a range of backgrounds and research interests. I know that's a lot of personalities. And when you add a bunch of crazy grad students with issues, backgrounds, and research interests to the mix you have a helluva thing. I happen to like that kind of thing, where my path isn't decided for me but where I can work stuff out for myself. I wouldn't want to work with someone who wanted me to do exactly what they do without having interests of my own. Of course, it's challenging to figure out what to write, how to say what you want to say, what theories help you back up those ideas or lend a new approach to them. But the challenge is what drives me. I'm not interested in going through the motions or replicating someone else's research. I'm interested in taking what I've learned and applying it. I'm interested in ideas, in the way they fit together, the moments where you have to move away from the screen because you've just written something that is so right on and makes so much sense you can't breathe.

I agree that some of the professors in my program are ones I've purposefully avoided. Some, because my style of learning didn't meet their style of teaching; others because of political views and a few who are just plain out of their minds. But more than that, I've chosen to work "with" the ones who challenge me, who get me excited about ideas, who think my project is interesting and exciting. I am lucky that I've found a variety of people I could work with. No, I'm not lucky; I'm purposeful. I've listened to my friends in the program. I've read syllabi and talked to professors. I've learned who I can trust, who I can take classes from and who would drive me insane. I've learned that sometimes waiting for a class is worth it to get the right professor for me. I know what I need as a student and the kinds of pedagogies I respond to best. It's my responsibility as a student to do so, in my opinion.

I wonder about some of my "colleagues." I think their expectations of professors are a bit off. I've had some crap professors throughout my Master's and Undergrad and even here, don't get me wrong. But I also know that some of my experience in those classes taught me something. And now that I have distance from them, I can see it.

Some people in the program have said some not nice things about it. I take offense to it. When you talk about the program, you talk about the people in it. That includes me. I'm not saying I don't complain about the process, the bureaucracy of it, how busy things get but I don't talk shit about the program itself as if there's something inherently wrong. It upsets me when others talk about something I love so much, a place I love, people I admire. I don't agree with all the decisions made within the program walls but it doesn't mean I go around and think the whole thing is crap. If I did, I couldn't be here. That kind of thinking would be toxic. And personally, I think it is for the people spinning it; they just don't see it yet. Grad school isn't easy. If it were, everyone would have a Master's and a PhD. And yeah, perhaps part of the program seems to "weed people out" who aren't ready for the marathon. All I know is that the process is long and that wasting time putting everything down to make yourself feel better is a huge waste of energy.