Do you ever become an Independent Researcher?

Writing anything on this blog right now may be seen as a complete distraction from what I really need to focus on – my dissertation.  Can you promise not to tell my PhD advisor?  I needed to take a little break from that work and blogging is therapeutic for me.

Anyway…I’ve recently become a “PhD Candidate” and am working to complete a dissertation to demonstrate that I have “mastered a field of knowledge” so that other experts will teach me a super-secret handshake or something.  The University of Maryland, Baltimore Graduate Program states that the PhD is granted to candidates who demonstrate both a high level of scholarship and the ability to conduct independent research.  This sounds great and all, but something scares me…

Nothing I have ever accomplished has been completely independent. 

I am a compilation of thoughts, experiences, and emotions forged by 33 years of relationships.  I am biased.  I am confounded.  Everything I see during my waking hours is colored by a lens – all significant relationships (good and bad) filter my world.  I am going to spend the next year or so trying to systematically tackle a problem that convinces a committee that I am an independent researcher…but I will be doing so while trying to settle this cognitive dissonance.

The idea of being an independent researcher does build confidence, but I’m afraid that not fully appreciating the contributions (big and small) of those around me will breed feelings of entitlement.  The next phase of my career has to be integrated in a strong network/community if I want to contribute to high quality research.  I need to listen to the people around me and be open to ideas from anyone from the barista at my coffee shop to the president of our university.

Sorry this wasn’t much of an intellectual contribution to drug pricing or another health economic topic I usually write about, but more of a cathartic exercise that I wanted to put down on paper – time stamped and recorded so when I need a reminder I’ll know where to find it.

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Joey Mattingly, PharmD, MBA is an assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy located in Baltimore, Maryland. Joey has managed retail and long-term care pharmacy operations in Kentucky, Illinois and Indiana. Leading Over The Counter is a blog of Joey's views and opinions on the topics of pharmacy leadership and management and do not represent the University of Maryland, Baltimore. Joey can be followed on Twitter @joeymattingly.

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