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As a fourth year doctoral candidate, in addition to having completed comprehensive examinations and prospectus and working on the dissertation, my thoughts are also turning towards the job market and securing that first academic position. This purpose of this blog is to chronicle the trials and tribulations of completing my Ph.D. and finding that first job.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Why Do I Blog?

Why do I blog? For that matter, why do I have five different blogs? I mean, as a doctoral student I'm all too familiar with the entries that have been posted at the Chronicle and the commentaries that have accompanied those entries about blogging in the academy (see Back to blogging for my most recent entry on the subject) and why it is not necessarily a good thing. In fact, I have almost made it a monthly feature where I go and find a bunch of entries about blogging in the academy (the most recent of those was posted only two days ago, see Blogging and Higher Education). And let's face it, this is time I could use to work on catching up on my transcriptions, writing various parts of my dissertation, finishing up any number of partially completed manuscripts that I have on the go, even spending time with the people I care about - but yet I still have five blogs and try to write in all of them on a regular or semi-regular basis. So, why?

Is it just for the fun of it - as evidenced by entries such as This May Be Why I Hate to Transcribe For My Dissertation, or My Blog Owns Me? Is it because I want to reflect on things and get other's advice - as evidenced by entries such as Discussing AERA, To Conference Or Not To Conference, and My First Campus Visit? Is it because I want to publicly challenge others to agree or disagree with me on mindless or meaningless issues - as evidenced by And Then There Were Eight, Settling A Debate, and Lord Stanley's Cup? Is it because I simply want to have a public diary to talk about things that I do - as evidenced by Now That's Something, San Francisco, and The Beach? Is it because I want to work out ideas that are still less than formed and get others feedback on those ideas - as evidenced by Being Successful, Do Digital Natives Exist?, and Virtual Schooling "Not Just" for Homeschoolers? Or is itnone of those things?

A couple of entries from my Bloglines account have caught my attention over the past few months. These have included On The Value of Reflection by Smelly Knowledge and Why do you blog? by Cool Cat Teacher Blog - that have got me thinking about this notion of why I blog.

Personally I find it a good outlet to get ideas, thoughts, frustrations, and just fun stuff out there. Is that really a good enough reason to do this?

Tags: blog, blogging, blogs, graduate student, graduate students, graduate school, higher education, education


Blogger Vicki A. Davis said...

Yes! I think there is great value in sharing information, best practices, and opinions. When this is aggregated together using tags and blog searches, the opinions of grass roots folks like us can mean something. It is about being heard!

2:59 PM

Blogger Wesley Fryer said...

Being a doctoral student right now myself too, I find myself asking the same questions. There are lots of answers, but I increasingly find that as I write the web I learn more deeply than I ever have before. Writing about things I am reading, hearing, and talking about really increases my retention and helps me refine my own ideas about subjects. It also permits me to interact with others and learn from them. To learn from our conversations.

I think blogging is more important than publishing in refereed, peer-reviewed journals. Not for the promotion and tenure process-- that seems clear, but in terms of both learning and making a tangible impact in the world. Lots of people are reading my blog-- and more importantly, seem to be thinking new thoughts as a result, given the comments and feedback I've received. This is a big purpose for writing-- not just for personal reasons, but for collaborative reasons. I think many of us write and try to publish in the hope that our ideas will help transform the minds of others. Blogging lets me do that TODAY, without waiting 7 years till I have gone through a P&T process.

I'm glad to have found your blog and wish you luck on your continued doctoral studies! Keep blogging! (I know you will!) :-)

9:10 PM


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