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tidoubleguher
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20 Sep 2009, 12:11 am

I'm in the final semester of my MBA program (Yay me!) and I'm considering sticking with school for another couple of years to get the PhD done as well. Another option would be a JD (which was my original goal once upon a time).

The biggest factor in my going back to school to get my Masters was landing a job at community college where I was teaching basic math and introductory algebra courses. I absolutely totally LOVED my job. Circumstances forced me to move away from that job but provided the incentive to get a graduate degree.

When I finish my MBA, I know I should be able to land a tenure-track position at any community college. But, I also know that I may be encouraged to pursue a PhD at some point as well.

BTW, I am fairly positive I'm an Aspie, just undiagnosed. I'm thinking I should stay in "school mode" and get the last degree before worrying about getting the teaching position. But, I also know that PhD means research and statistics. Research will be easy enough, the writing difficult, and stats are not lovingly referred to as "sadistics" for no reason. LOL

Any Aspies here who've gone through a PhD program and lived to tell the tale? What about getting diagnosed? Would that be a positive or a negative insofar as would relate to completing the degree? I have survived 39 years without a diagnosis so far (it was only the comments at my son's own diagnosis that convinced me that I wasn't reading too much into the way the description of AS resonates with me.)

Thanks in advance for your input!

Wendy



sgrannel
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20 Sep 2009, 12:45 am

I just completed a Ph.D. last year. I am not officially diagnosed (that I'm aware of) but probably unofficially diagnosed. Yes, the organizational and social problems are an SOB. I still don't have a grasp of making small talk and defending against subtle things in conversation, and thesis writing involved a lot of going in circles with trying to get the big picture to come out in the small things I was putting together each day. However, there really wasn't anything better that I could have done with my life at that time, and at least I've gotten better at figuring out what is and is not essential to a given effort.

It took longer for me to complete the program than most, in part because of my participation in other aspects of the joint effort, of which the Ph.D. itself happened to be part. Before you begin, try to find a school that is tolerant of students not registering, going on "detached study" after finishing classes and while they complete their research/thesis writing. Normally, the detached study provision is for people who take jobs, get married, have children etc. while getting their degree, and so have a visible and often voluntarily undertaken reason for taking extra time to finish. The same might be applied as needed to someone with an invisible and involuntary condition.


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tidoubleguher
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20 Sep 2009, 9:07 am

sgrannel wrote:
I just completed a Ph.D. last year.


Congrats! I know it is a lot of work to get that done.

sgrannel wrote:
It took longer for me to complete the program than most, in part because of my participation in other aspects of the joint effort, of which the Ph.D. itself happened to be part. Before you begin, try to find a school that is tolerant of students not registering, going on "detached study" after finishing classes and while they complete their research/thesis writing. Normally, the detached study provision is for people who take jobs, get married, have children etc. while getting their degree, and so have a visible and often voluntarily undertaken reason for taking extra time to finish. The same might be applied as needed to someone with an invisible and involuntary condition.


By the time I would most likely start this up, I will be married, 40, and I've already got kids (one Aspie teen and the other I know is not NT, but whether AS or other is yet to be determined). However, one thing I will be looking for if I go the PhD route, is a program with a paid assistanceship - especially one that has me teaching. :lol: Of all the jobs I have ever worked in the past, teaching left me energized at the end of the day; unlike my current job which drains me. I figure that would give me the least amount of work-related conflict in scheduling the classes I need to take with classes I will be teaching.

I think one of the other things I will do is speak with one of my current professors and ask her input as well.



zer0netgain
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20 Sep 2009, 9:13 am

Don't go for the JD unless you WILL get your license and practice law. Otherwise, it will be a career killer.

The "you can do anything with a JD degree" is a lie.



tidoubleguher
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20 Sep 2009, 9:55 am

zer0netgain wrote:
Don't go for the JD unless you WILL get your license and practice law. Otherwise, it will be a career killer.

The "you can do anything with a JD degree" is a lie.


I suspected as much. However, if I got the JD I would practice, although I live in an area that doesn't have much draw for a business attorney, so I would need to be more generalized. The JD is mostly because it was part of my original plans when I mapped out my life. However, life happened, and those carefully laid plans changed. :)

Though, if I did get the JD, I could practice for several years before "retiring" into teaching.

As a side note, I recently interviewed for an HR position within my company and the HR Manager commented that she saw me as a business lawyer (which may have to do with the fact that I know employment law really well... one of those strong interests I have).

As another side note, I've always been interested in teaching as well. That has been an enduring interest just like business/employment law. Besides, getting paid to tell someone about something I enjoy talking about makes more sense than telling them for free. :lol:



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20 Sep 2009, 1:40 pm

first i have to laugh at "Research will be easy enough". Don't know where did you get that idea.
Anyway, most phd programs in sciences and eng give paid scholarships covering tution and about 1.5 k per month (depending on a school). My experience is from top 30 universities and i would not recommend going that way if you do not plan to do research for living. Too much pressure (believe me there research is not easy) people are very competitive and young and smart (and they come from all over the world). Check out this cartoon that grad students swear to and you'll get the feeling ( http://www.phdcomics.com/comics.php ). Regarding
aspie traits, yes you can be in a problem but bigger problem is to find good program and advisor.

For you probably it would be the best to find some lower ranking school to just get that phd without too much hustle (that I suspect you'll have a problem geting scholarship). Alongside you can get MS in education which would make you an ideal candidate to teach. My coleague said that if you have phd you can easily get 80k working in high school.



tidoubleguher
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20 Sep 2009, 3:27 pm

AnotherOne wrote:
Anyway, most phd programs in sciences and eng give paid scholarships covering tution and about 1.5 k per month (depending on a school). My experience is from top 30 universities and i would not recommend going that way if you do not plan to do research for living. Too much pressure (believe me there research is not easy) people are very competitive and young and smart (and they come from all over the world). Check out this cartoon that grad students swear to and you'll get the feeling (link omitted). Regarding aspie traits, yes you can be in a problem but bigger problem is to find good program and advisor.

For you probably it would be the best to find some lower ranking school to just get that phd without too much hustle (that I suspect you'll have a problem geting scholarship). Alongside you can get MS in education which would make you an ideal candidate to teach. My coleague said that if you have phd you can easily get 80k working in high school.


There are some PhD programs in the business arena that also provide stipends and waive tuition. Scholarships... depends on requirements. High GPA isn't one that I would qualify for (current is 3.2 or something like that). However, I can get excellent recommendations from my current employer and current and former professors. I also have some experience teaching at the college level (was a grad assistant for a while before changing programs and taught in a community college for over 3 years).

I'm not worried about getting into a Top Ten or even 20 school. However, if I were to choose to pursue tenure track at most colleges or universities (even a lot of community colleges), I will still have to be able to research and publish, even if it's not as often as a better rated school. The current school I'm in is a small mid-western university and they expect their professors to publish with some regularity so it will not be avoidable.

I don't know where you find high school teachers with 80k salaries but I can tell you that it doesn't happen anywhere near where I live. That is something I have considered as well though. Fortunately enough I like teens for the most part and another option may be to get my teaching certificate and teach at a high school. The biggest drawback I see to that is there isn't a lot of high schools that still have much in the way of business programs any more being taught - it's one of those areas that is cut when funds get low. It's also an area that doesn't have a lot of draw for people with business degrees as most people with business degrees aren't wanting to teach but to make money (hopefully).

This is something I've been considering for quite some time so I've done much research into the kinds of programs out there and the pluses and minuses of getting that last degree. The whole AS part is the newest twist to the puzzle and while I've not been diagnosed, I have no doubts that I would be. I also know that going for the degree now is probably better than waiting until a later point in life. I'm not getting any younger and I may never again be at a point in my life where it will work out.

So, back to what I'm looking for... if you have obtained your PhD, what best helped you complete your goal? Which Aspie traits were helpful for you and which were problematic? What are some pitfalls to watch out for?



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20 Sep 2009, 4:59 pm

AnotherOne wrote:
My experience is from top 30 universities and i would not recommend going that way if you do not plan to do research for living. Too much pressure (believe me there research is not easy) people are very competitive and young and smart (and they come from all over the world).

I wish I knew this before I started! :lol:
I would've gone to CU Boulder instead and run off to the mountains every chance I got.


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AnotherOne
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20 Sep 2009, 10:57 pm

i am not sure what you mean by researching programs

regaridng as traits, in my experience it didn't matter that much. yes, it would help to talk more and colaborate instead developing everything by myself but than i was more focused that way and there was no dispute about the contribution. the most important thing is the choosing the advisor that knows how to publish and is not crazy (the later one is difficult to determine though until is too late). look at his publication record, make sure he does not have too many people in the group (>10 means you'll completely on your own) and that his graduates do well. you may or may not collaborate with other people but your advisor will be on every paper you write so you need to know you can work with him.
do not expect lots of guidance and help (see the cartoon that i mentioned and you'll understand).
basically research is only thing that matters and if your current advisor says you are good at it and you have a good gre/gmat you may stand a chance of getting the financial aid.

what helped me? stuborness, being able to say no to my bosses when they have/had stupid ideas. lack of social life also helps since you need to work a lot.



GeomAsp
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22 Sep 2009, 2:15 pm

I sent a Private Message to a guy in this thread and he hasn't answered. Please answer, since this is very important to me. I need guidance. I am crying for help.


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