Watching four fathers from very different backgrounds compete for top honors — and $10,000 — in last night’s Father’s Day segment on Chopped!, I came away with three amazing (parallel) thoughts…

– Competing for top place (or completing your PhD) doesn’t have to be stressful… it can even be fun!

– Reasons for entering a cooking competition (or a Doctoral program) may be as varied as the dishes that result from a basket of mystery ingredients… to showcase our talent… to gain acceptance… to challenge ourselves… because of our kids… to find meaning… to recover from loss… to move on in our lives…

– “You’ll never be the same again after this…” That was the football coach’s conclusion in Round Two, as he and two other contestants waited for the judges to finish deliberating on whom to “chop.”

He likened their Chopped! experience to a rubber band that has been stretched to its limits, and will never again retain its shape.

“Whatever happens,” he reflected, using the rubber band analogy, the experience has changed him (even though he was eliminated in that round).

It’s the same in academia. Wherever you are in your academic career — whether you’re still trying to fulfill course requirements, are in a tenure-track position, or trying to decide whether to get off the academic treadmill — remember this…

You’re like a rubber band that has been stretched beyond its limits. Once you’ve chosen the Doctoral route, whatever the consequence, for better or for worse, you’ll be forever altered.

“You’ll never be the same again after this…”

Profound words. Reflect on it.

To all fathers, wherever you are in your academic journey, spend time with your family… and have a wonderful Father’s Day!

Contact me if you’d like some coaching or mentoring with a PhD father — or PhD mother — on balancing your academic goals and career with personal and family life.

Copyright 2018-2019.  Dr. Serene Lim, PhD and The Thesis Doctor.  All Rights Reserved.