jump to navigation

Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

Update on The Ultimate Steal – Third time is the charm

Saturday, September 19th, 2009

I downloaded The Ultimate Steal for a third time – this time not from my home (and HughesNet) – and then installed the program after transferring to my home computer. I am pleased to say that the third time was the charm and I now have Office 2007 installed. This particular set of programs includes Excel, Word, Groove, Access, InfoPath, OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint, Publisher, and Tools. I use StyleEase APA software and also moved it over to this new computer. I think I am all ready to work on the next paper, after these delays.

It is very easy to get frustrated when things do not work properly. I remind myself that this is the nature of software and computers, but nonetheless my schedule is so very busy I have no room for things llike this to interfere. I have been considering setting up a school work schedule to help me feel less under pressure. Tomorrow I am going to map out the days-per-assignment, including research and writing and see how effective it would be.

The Ultimate Steal – Yes it is

Sunday, September 13th, 2009

I took advantage of The Ultimate Steal, the discounted-for-students opportunity to purchase the MS Office 2007 suite for $59.95.  I downloaded the program and exceeded the HughesNet FAP (Fair Access Policy), which put my internet speed on S-L-O-W for 24 hours. So I click install and get the message “The installation of this package failed.” Hmmm.

I tried a second time. Same “The installation of this package failed” message. I am really upset by now. Not only have I messed up my ability to access the NCU library this weekend by exceeding the FAP, I paid for something that I haven’t gotten yet. I worked through the help files and FAQs, and sent a note to Digital River, the company handling the sale. I read through the KB reading this problem, and if you are wondering, I have plenty of space on the computer.

There is no customer service number anywhere on the Ultimate Steal site. I did buy the back up CD and so I am hoping that the CD has all the files that I need to install the full program. In the meantime, I fell gypped – I paid good, hard-earned money for a product and haven’t been able to use it. I wasted a lot of time working through this tech issue, and so did not get as far along on my assignments this weekend.

So until Microsoft and Mr. Gates provide me with a little bit of customer and technical service to get this download installed, I say the The Ultimate Steal is an excellent name for the product.

Reasons why getting your PhD is like “Lost”

Friday, August 14th, 2009
  • You’re broke, hungry, stranded and stuck in one giant mystery
  • The view never changes
  • Sometimes your life depends on finding a constant
  • Somehow you end up working for the guy you hate the most
  • There is a crazy woman who has been here for 16 years
  • If you’re in the lab long enough, taller ghost walt materializes out of nowhere and says “you’ve got work to do”
  • Every problem that you solve brings up 10 new problems
  • When (if) you leave, all you want to do is go back
  • You’re pretty sure you’re in hell

                                   —- copied 

Don’t miss updates to thinkPhD: Subscribe!

Sunday, August 2nd, 2009

Don’t miss a post…subscribe to my blog thinkPhd by clicking here:


Just enter your email address in the box on the page and Feedblitz will keep you updated.

Feel free to post a comment or ask a question. If you would like to contact me directly, email me at thinkPhD@yahoo.com

Rainy day in Virginia

Sunday, August 2nd, 2009

After a gorgeous day yesterday, today is utterly rainy. In yesterday’s Virgina sunshine, Husband and I floated carelessly in the pool and chatted about life and love and anything else that came to mind. I held onto his float with mine side-by-side and we drifted together around and around. I lead a very busy life as a wife, mother, manager, student, and professor, so these mini-vacations keep me refreshed and centered on the important things in life.

Today is different – I am working. I am taking this rainy-day opportunity to catch up on some paperwork. I track my sales and earnings for my Avon business, but got behind a little bit working on assignments for RSH9101B. Friday was payday and I’m parcelling out those funds/paying bills. In addition, I had several student questions to answer regarding the class I am teaching at the University of Phoenix, GEN200. Last Wednesday was their first night of class.

This group is a mixture of adults returning to school to earn credits to graduate and those who have never been to college. Learning how to navigate the Online Learning System (OLS) can be a challenge for those not familiar with computers. Figuring out how to upload an attachment may sound easy to you – but if you have never done it, it can be difficult. In GEN200, we work on basic skills such as how to study, navigate the OLS including posting assignments, setting goals, writing essays, and basic APA. I love working with students that are excited about learning and growing. I wish I could condense all of my tips, tricks, and advice on how to succeed in school! It is certainly overwhelming to new students to step into a college classroom where you are now responsible for your own success.

I wonder if those who have walked the PhD path ahead of me feel the same way about me. Am I fresh-faced and eager like my students in GEN200? Is there a feeling of familial companionship, shadowing and guiding my steps to my goal? Do the seasoned PhD vets nod their heads and smile knowingly when I am puzzled by an assignment or fail to interpret its purpose? Over the years I have answered tons of questions from readers and co-learners. Will I be able to encourage those walking this trail after I have reached my goal? How many others will I be able to pull along with me to success?

Are you considering a terminal degree or just if you should return to school at all? The answer is consider life without this particular challenge…is that acceptable to you? If not, then jump onto the path and follow me. And everyone who has gone before us.

Welcome new readers

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

Welcome to new readers of my thinkPhD blog! Thanks for all the emails from everyone encouraging me in my quest and asking about earning a degree!

This blog traces my path to a PhD. I am currently in my first research class, RSH9101B at Northcentral University (NCU). I work full time, teach as an adjunct, and write articles for a few different websites. My writing specialty is distance learning, and I am the Richmond Distance Learning Examiner. I earned my BS in Environmental Science at Troy University, Troy, Alabama in 1980. I graduated from Troy University, Phenix City, Alabama with an MBA, which I earned attending classes in the evenings after work at the paper mill.

I love to teach and to learn. I am earning a terminal degree so that I can work through retirement from my company. Teaching keeps me fresh on current business topics, which make me a better informed employee. My work at the paper company keeps me up on how business works, making my teaching relevant in today’s business workplace. The two sides of me compliment each other.

Our three children are all grown and we’ve replaced them with a poodle named Tucker and a chihuahua named Charlie!

Here are the boys looking through the gate:

Charlie Brown and Tucker look through the gate

So if you are new reader or just dropping in from a link or search engine, make yourself at home. Comment on a post if you like or contact me directly with suggestions or questions.

And remember…think learning, think success, think PhD!

Back on eBay

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

I used to post regularly on eBay but I moved away when the listing fees went up and the site got covered up by large vendors. It’s hard for the little guy to compete when the playing field is tipped toward the big guys. eBay has a special running right now – list 5 items every 30 days with no listing fee. If the auction has a winner, the final value fee of 8.75% still applies. I listed 5 items yesterday so hopefully they will sell. I listed 4 books and one mobile video screen. One of the books was a duplicate of something I had. Here are the listings if you are interested:

Sears & Zemansky’s College Physics 8e V2 Young & Geller
NEW Natural Capitalism by Hawken, Lovins & Lovins
The Enjoyment of Music 8th Edition

Teach Yourself Gulf Arabic Audio CD by Smart & Altorfer
NIB Legacy LM56 Mobile Video Monitor for VCR/DVR/Game

Twitter – marketing tool or social networking?

Friday, June 12th, 2009

I am on Twitter, yes, I admit that. Find and follow me here. Everyone talks about Twitter being a social networking site, a “mini-blog.” But take another look…many use it as a marketing tool. More than half of tweets are related to something someone is selling. I even use it in this way. Here is a recent tweet:  

WhiteBecome a Lifelong Learner – http://bit.ly/8jLUJ AC#

It’s a link to one of my articles on Associated Content.

I want people to go and read my article! I get a lot of tweets asking me to buy something, or join something. I have lots of followers that I have no idea where they heard of me or why. Some seem to just want to accumulate followers as if it justifies the whole geekiness of the thing. How could anyone read tweets from thousands of people? Wow. I can’t even keep up with my own tweets.

So Twitter is really a marketing tool. I wonder if anyone has determined if it is effective or not. I know it drives traffic to linked sites; but is this simply random?

I’d like to know how my readers are using Twitter: do you use it to keep up with friends or a marketing tool or something else?

Twitter me

Friday, April 17th, 2009

A friend of mine asked me to start tweeting so I signed up, just to see what the chatter is about. Here is my link on Twitter: http://twitter.com/thinkphd

I am very new at tweeting so if you are already on Twitter, let me know and I’ll follow you. I see this as an opportunity to get the word out about how education plays a part in our lives. I realize that some folks are on Twitter all day long, but I will tweet just a peep. With a couple of jobs and going to school, I won’t clog up your twitter page.  

Give me a tweet and twitter me!

A Reader Asks a Question:

Saturday, December 6th, 2008

I received a note from a Reader and thought it would be good to post my response. The Reader is finishing up a master’s and looking at PhD programs.

Q: My concern is would be in terms of dissertation topic selection. Is it possible that selected topic can be rejected by your mentors?

A: When you start on your path to a PhD, the school will assess your transcripts and determine which courses will transfer. A PhD is similar to a master’s degree in the way that an associate’s degree is related to a bachelor’s degree. You will take graduate level classes at first and then start the research and dissertation phase. Your mentors will guide you through this phase and help shape your dissertation topic. Most students begin the process with an idea and the dissertation topic flows from that. Since your mentors are with you every step of the way, you are not truly developing the topic all by yourself. To answer your question, yes, your topic can be rejected, but it is far more likely it will be modified rather than rejected.

I am just a course away from the research and dissertation phase. I have accumulated several ideas for my dissertation, but I am keeping my options open. I want to succeed in achieving a PhD! If my “favorite” topic is rejected, I will always be able to write journal articles or books on that topic later. My mentors know far better than I which topics will yield a successful dissertation.

It’s good to hear that your are “up” for the challenge; believe me, it will be a challenge! I love the learning and the rapport with fellow students and professors. My life has always been a search to know why and how, and my path to a PhD rounds out who I am. My blog helps me keep all this in perspective and gives me the opportunity to meet prospective students and colleagues.  

Refocusing on my goals

Friday, November 28th, 2008

We often talk about setting goals, but forget the importance of motivation. Setting a deadline helps keep focus on goals by organizing thoughts or ideas. This stimulates action because you are working to meet the deadline. Sometimes a public deadline is more effective than a private one…most of us tend to cheat on personal deadlines!  Things will always get in the way and something will go invariably go wrong. We must build focus toward our goals. Most of us are personally disorganized and blame everything on procrastination. However, procrastination is a choice, albeit the easiest choice. If we put things off and satisfy the “lazy side” in us, the momentum behind our goals slips away. Personal disorganization leads to procrastination and limits effectiveness. I struggle with disorganization and blame it all on how busy I am. Nevertheless, this is not an excuse. It is difficult to stay focused when I have so much on my plate! Dividing my time between work, school and personal life gets very complicated. It takes a lot to stay focused, and I have to admit, I fail many times. So now I am taking another look at my goals and refocusing my motivation. The last two months have been very difficult, but I have the support and encouragement of my family and I will continue this path!

“We do not learn from experience…

Sunday, November 16th, 2008

…… we learn from reflecting on experience.” John Dewey

I found this quote today and it really speaks to me. We can experience all kinds of things, but unless we use that experience to grow and develop, it does us no good at all. Perhaps this is why some people seem to have “horse sense” and others do not. Some can remember and use the learning to apply to future situations, and others simply move through life making the same mistakes over and over. Of course all of us have to be kicked and reminded about some things over and over, such as putting the car keys in the purse as soon as we walk in the door (so we don’t have to panic when we can’t find them). I am pretty knuckle-headed sometimes and so life does make the learn the same lessons over and over, but generally, I try to “pay attention” so that I don’t make the same mistake twice.

Sometimes I am pretty hard on myself, such as if I blew a big presentation or said something the wrong way, but perhaps I need that to remember not to do the same thing again.  I am going to make a conscious effort this week to reflect on experiences so that I can move onto the next. I want to learn and move ahead, both in my career and personal life. I am going to think about Dewey’s quote and see if I can avoid life giving a second reprimand because I didn’t learn something the first time.


Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

As I have mentioned before, I am an “Expert” over on AllExperts.com in the areas of Continuing/Adult Education and Distance Learning. (Want to ask me a question? Here you are…click here.) Well, I was asked a question about grant writing by someone connected with ANTSHE, The Association of Nontraditional Students in Higher Education. Their mission statement resounds with me:

ANTSHE is an international partnership of students, academic professionals, institutions, and organizations whose mission is to encourage and coordinate support, education, and advocacy for the adult learner.

As a nontraditional student myself plus an instructor of nontraditionals, I am pleased that someone is highlighting the special needs of this group. Those of us who are struggling with balancing life and work and school need lots of support! According to the National Center for Education Statistics, a nontraditional student is:

“A student with any of the following characteristics: has delayed enrollment, attends part time, works full time while enrolled, is considered financially independent for purposes of determining financial aid, has dependents other than a spouse, is a single parent, or does not have a high school diploma.”

Wow! Do you fit the definition of a nontraditional student? Did you know that a nontraditional student is much more likely to quit because of non-education related issues like family and job pressures. It is difficult to balance all of our responsibilities effectively. Let me encourage all you nontraditional students! Keep working toward your educational goal!

Back to Work

Sunday, October 5th, 2008

I have missed some blogging opportunities lately and today I am finally back to work on my blog. September was a very difficult month on a personal level as my father was diagnosed with larynx cancer. I spent most of September with my parents helping with his care after surgery. He has additional surgery scheduled in October.

This family crisis usurped my time to write and work on classwork. I had to request an extension from my professor and turned in the final paper yesterday. I could have turned in a paper on the final day of class but I felt it had no depth as I was not able to develop the topic as I normally do. A half-way-done assignment is not acceptable to me.

I am back to work but at MWV and back to work with schoolwork. I have paid for my next class, ECM5006 Integrated Supply Chain Management. After that class I will take MGT5028 Business Statistics and then jump into my doctoral coursework, which will consist of 8 courses.

I am getting pumped up as I close in on my goal of a PhD. If I had the money and the time, I would dash through the courses much faster. However, the cost is not covered by my employer and $1425/course + books is steep for me. I have set this as a goal and will work to make it happen!

By the way, if you are reading my blog and have questions about my experiences or choices, ask me a question or make a comment.

Become an Expert

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

As you know from my writings, I wear many hats…mom, teacher, employee, student, wife, blogger. I also wear a hat you may not know about – I am an expert over on AllExperts.com . You can ask a question of an expert in a particular genre like home/garden, real estate, hobbies, and money. The site purports to be the largest and oldest Q&A site on the Internet. In order to become an expert, you must apply and go through an elimination process.

I am an expert in Continuing/Adult Education and Distance Learning. I receive many questions, some of which are bogus but many are from individuals concerned with receiving a good solid answer. Over time, I have noticed that most of the inquiries now come from India. A number of Indian citizens are looking at getting an online education from schools in the USA. Some are mis-informed, thinking that every school has online programs. Although many do, I would not recommend them. Some ask how to get American scholarships to pay completely for college thinking there is a government program to pay for all college here in the USA – most of these questions come from those with undergraduate degrees. The reader knows that scholarship money for masters and doctorates is hard to come by! I also get questions about which type of program to choose based on the student’s other degree(s). Yes, many times that is plural degrees.

From USA students, I answer questions over and over about paralegal training. There is a particular school that advertises their program on TV. I receive many questions about that program, which by the way is not accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA). Less than 300 of the 1000 paralegal programs in the US are accredited. Coming in second are questions about medical transcriptionist schools.

Doesn’t it strike you odd that paralegal and medical transcriptionist questions are coming from citizens of this country, while questions about masters and doctorates are coming from another country?