One afternoon in elementary school, all the students were called together in the school cafeteria for a special presentation. A man began speaking to us, "How many of you here plan to go to college someday?" He sees all the hands in the room shoot up. He snickers and says, "Okay, how many of you don't plan to go to college?" His eyes, shocked, turned to the one raised hand in the room: mine.
Its not that little 10-year-old Patrick Murphy wasn't motivated or didn't believe he could. That little Fifth Grader simply didn't see the benefit of a college education. Within a few years afterwards, however, he started to realize that college was not just about the education, but it was also about the experience. Now, he's come to realize that the education and the experience are inseparable from each other.
College Classes are Also Experiences that Change Your Life
Let me explain. Studying theatre in undergraduate school, for example, was an amazing experience. One example I particularly recall was my class in theatrical movement with Susan Felder. The class primarily focused on how our bodies relate movement to the four primary elements in nature: earth, wind, fire, and water. While the coursework ultimately intends to enhance students' skills in directing and acting, it only does so by all students delving into their own bodies, minds, and hearts. During that course, I laughed, I cried, I even changed the way I dressed by the end of the course. But this was only because the educational experience was so intertwined in exploring the human condition.
My New Addiction
One might say I'm now addicted to learning. The addiction is not a bad one to have! It brought me to earn my Master of Science in Nonprofit Management in August of 2015. I'm only a few courses away, as well, to earning a Certificate in Marketing Strategy from Cornell University. And I'm happy to announce that this past week, this "addiction" led me to decide to apply to a doctoral program. I've certainly come a long way from the young grade school-er that had no intention to go to college, to the man applying for a Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) in Interdisciplinary Leadership.
It Took a While to Decide
I began thinking of doctoral studies during graduate school. I had looked into Ph.D.s in Public Administration, Doctorates of Business Administration, Ed.D.s in Organizational Development, and a host of other options. I feel that the specific curriculum in Interdisciplinary Leadership, with a Concentration in Not-for-Profit/Social Entrepreneurship, will further equip me to make truly profound impacts in our global community. Yes, I believe a doctorate will help my career. But more importantly, I am confident that pursuing this degree will better equip me to help others through the power of philanthropy and the nonprofit sector.
And while reflecting on this decision, the fact is not lost on me that education is still not accessible to everyone. I am blessed to be able to pursue such advanced levels of education. This pursuit, however, intends to come full circle. I want to continue using these skills to empower others' lives through the gift of education.
So Trust Me. I'm a Doctor.
Well, actually, not quiet yet. I'm actually quite a far way away from being able to say that. The next couple months will be consumed with compiling my letters of recommendation, transcripts, a resumé, a statement of interest, and taking the dreaded GRE (Graduate Record Examination). Then - pending acceptance - 3 1/2 years of studies in leadership and nonprofits, qualifying exams, and a dissertation/capstone. I'm more so excited at the prospect and challenges awaiting the doctoral program. Admittedly, I'm also childishly tickled with thinking of Dr. Pepper commercials endorsed by old rap stars, as well as Dr. Seuss embracing an intellect of creativity and imagination. Hopefully my dissertation can someday amount to the genius that is The Cat in the Hat.