I have some experience in the Liberal Arts model. I was educated by Jesuits in secondary school and then at the University of San Francisco as an undergraduate, and spent a year at Blackfriars Hall, the studium for Dominican Friars at the University of Oxford in the UK. I was a student of the University of San Francisco’s St. Ignatius Institute, which replaces the University’s Core Curriculum with courses centered on the “great books” of Western literature and thought.
I have successfully defended my dissertation in Psychology at the University of Oregon, and am a PhD graduand (i.e., awaiting the conferral of the degree). My dissertation and its code and supporting files are freely available.
This essay is really about what writing a dissertation meant to me. For me, the dissertation process was a microcosm for my entire graduate experience, in which I spent the majority of my 20s (5.5 years).
I have been writing this since a month after my dissertation defense (several days before receiving final approval from the University of Oregon’s Graduate School). I am finishing it now in the hope that other doctoral students may use it as the starting point for discussion, and that it may contribute even minimally to normalizing discussion around the psychological and spiritual consequences of one (albeit of many) flavor of PhD experience.
Mark Alfano, with whom I am currently collaborating on several projects invited me last year to become a contractor on a project to develop a behavioral measure of Intellectual Humility, the character trait Humility is a “virtue,” a trait that is desirable and commonly expected to be present in a “good person.” Aristotle and later Thomas Aquinas divide virtues into two types: moral (for example, bravery) and intellectual. Humility is among the latter.