A key part of the PhD journey is figuring out who you want to walk along with you to guide and support your growth as a thinker, especially when times get tough, (but also people who will question you when you think everything is going fine!). In other words, choosing your advisors is a key decision because they should be your biggest critics and also hopefully your best cheerleaders.
My PhD program is a bit different as compared to other Anthropology programs and doctoral programs more generally in that we do not choose who we will work with when we come in. We might have a general inclination about who we would want to work with, but just as the department assumes that our projects will change over the first two years of the program, they also assume that those we will work with may change as well.
But once you hit your 3rd year (cue next week, when I officially start the third year of my PhD program… eeek! where has the time gone?!), suddenly everyone is like… so… who’s on your committee?
Luckily, today I finally decided to make the plunge (after so many months of anxiety about making sure I chose the right advisor – my enneagram 7 type coming in for sure…) and today I asked a faculty member to be the chair of my orals committee… and she said yes! Should I have brought a ring and/or handcuffs?? hehe… Not sure yet… but having that sorted out definitely feels like a load off my shoulders. I’m so happy to have a key role filled by someone I highly respect and look up to and I will keep you posted on how the relationship moves forward.
One thing that I decided last year (Fall 2016) was that I would set up a Community Advisory Board to whom I will also be holding myself accountable to much like I do with my Academic Advisory Board. I plan to write more about this soon because I hope that this will ground my project with key project stakeholders outside of the academy.