The Key Is Locked Inside – Higher Education

The Key Is Locked Inside

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Here I am, finally ready to take on a new challenge and I have no idea where to begin. When I wanted to complete a marathon, I read up on it, downloaded a training program, entered an event and did it. Ok, so the actual ‘doing’ of it wasn’t that easy but, provided I was willing to put in the effort, getting to the start line was pretty straight forward. In fact, that sums up a lot of what I feel about education. As a teacher, part of my job is to get my students to their start line feeling confident and optimistic. So imagine my frustration, when I can’t get to my own start line in academia.

For as long as I can remember I have wanted to complete a PhD, but it has taken time to be in the right place with the right question. Well the time has come and I find myself sitting in the kitchen not sure what to do next. I’ve googled a few local universities and sought out a couple of people (potential supervisors) asking for advice and summarizing my ideas. It seems my ideas are interesting and I’ve been encouraged to submit a research proposal.

This is the point I found myself locked out.

A research proposal not only clearly states what it is you intend to research but also how it will contribute to the current body of knowledge. Therefore, to begin writing a proposal, you must first have access to that knowledge. However, you cannot access this body of knowledge directly. You must be a member of an academic institution that can provide access (unfortunately primary schools cannot). And the only way for me to become a member of such an institution is to have my proposal accepted.

I understand that universities have to pay for their subscriptions and that in turn is paid for by student fees. What I don’t understand is how those of us who have left academia are ever supposed to return. Without access to peer reviewed articles can I really write a PhD proposal?

**tangental thought – at my RCB, many lifetimes ago, another cadet phoned to say that they would be late as they were on the wrong train. They were told not to bother showing up as they had just failed the first test.


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