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EXECUTION Lex DeVille's - Journey To Doctor

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Lex DeVille

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If you'd asked three years ago about grad school I would've laughed in your face. I hadn't even finished the undergrad degree I started in 2007, one of the longest, most agonizing experiences of my life. I'd hopped from one major to another and from school to school searching for the right program. All of those switches caused years of setbacks and added costs. Luckily, I served in the military and Post 9-11 GI Bill covered it all (almost). Unfortunately, I ran out of GI Bill with a few classes remaining, and because I didn't value degrees (reinforced by success in freelancing) and didn't want to pay out of pocket, I dropped out in 2016 vowing never to go to college again.

But two years later (2018) I logged into the old online classroom to see if I still had access. Turns out I did, so I checked the degree progress report which showed a GPA in the mid 2.5 range and four classes remaining to graduate. I was nine months into being a first time dad, and nearly nine years into entrepreneurship and as I looked at that progress I couldn't help but think, four classes left? WTF why didn't you just finish it?! I don't know if it was the potential for credibility or maybe that I want my daughter to grow up with an educated dad, but I decided to break my vow, pay out of pocket, and finish what I started. I also committed to doing the best I could to raise my GPA. All of this while managing my business systems and operating as a full-time stay at home dad.

In early 2019 I graduated with a B.A. in Psychology, officially surpassing both of my parents in education. I'd also managed to raise my GPA to a 3.1. It took weeks for the diploma to arrive in the mail, and to be honest, I didn't think I'd care. But when it showed up and I had it in hand, something switched in my mind. This was one of the most rewarding experiences in the world. A kid who'd barely passed high school and spent 10 years working on a degree that most people earn in four, was finally a college graduate.

B.A. in Psychology.jpg

Shortly after receiving the diploma I started to imagine what it would be like to go beyond. I joked about it with my wife, "What if I became a Doctor? You'd have to call me Dr. DeVille!" And at first it was only a joke. But then that joke turned into a thought seed. The more I joked, the more curious I became. Soon the thought seed started to grow. I looked into what it would take to become a Doctor of Psychology and realized it would be a lot of work, likely 10 times harder than undergraduate, and would require another six to ten years of school.

The time frame was daunting, but that little curiosity seed wouldn't let go, and within a month I made the decision to enroll again, this time into a Masters program for psychology which would be paid for out of pocket. The degree would come from the same school I'd already graduated from and would prep me for doctoral training, plus, even if I decided not to go through with a PhD program, I'd still come away with a Master's. Unlike the undergrad degree, this time I made a new commitment. Not only would I finish the degree in the shortest time possible without breaks, but I'd also work to maintain a 4.0 GPA and be the top student in every class.

So far I've finished 4 of the 12 Master's classes, maintaining a 4.0 GPA, and was invited to two honor's societies. I'm currently on track to graduate in February of 2021.

Graduate_Classes_30.jpg
So I thought I'd document the progress from this point forward since I've recently read posts by people who felt that doing school plus running a business is impossible. To those people...it is not.

From this point forward is my Journey to become a Doctor of Psychology.

Current Obstacles
1. The program I want to enter requires completion of a Master's degree.
2. The nearest APA accredited Doctoral programs are 1.5 hours away.
3. Clinical and other APA accredited programs are highly competitive.
4. Need to complete the GRE which was waived for my current school.
5. Need letters of recommendation.
6. Need to maintain a high GPA.
7. Need to get better at statistics.
8. Need to improve my technical writing skills.
9. Need to clean up online presence.
10. Need to join honor societies.
11. Need to do all of this while managing my business and being a dad.

On a bright note, when I finally get accepted into one of the nearby programs, the degree will mostly be funded by the school. I may not have to pay anything out of pocket for that. But no matter what happens, I will have that degree.

For now I'm focused on the first goal, the Master's degree. This week I'll also start to study for the GRE. The plan is to take the GRE early to see where I stand, and then to take it again in six months after studying to improve the scores as needed to be competitive for surrounding programs.

So that's it for now. Don't know how often I'll update, but you're welcome to follow along if you want.
 

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Lex DeVille

Lex DeVille

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Following :)

Getting my PhD was immensely rewarding and challenging. Buckle up, buttercup.
All I really want is to be a successful Seattle-based psychotherapy radio talk show host.

How hard can it be? :D

 
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Lex DeVille

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When I decided to be the best, that meant more than just trying hard. I consistently get the highest grades on assignments and it isn't luck, it's by design.

With online school there appear to be four core components (in addition to delivering good work) to get the best grades:

1. Follow instructions
2. Deliver work on time
3. Appear to try very hard
4. Appeal to the instructor's personality

All four components build up to a high perceived-value, and since much of the grade is based on the subjective interpretations of the instructor, then grades can be influenced by strategically controlling for this factor.

1. Follow Instructions
This is the second easiest component to account for. You open the grading rubric and look at the requirements for each assignment. Attend to them one by one in every discussion and every assignment. This is like a blueprint for a perfect score even if the work itself isn't perfect. In my classes I've found instructors often scan assignments to quickly look for these key points. Sometimes it's how they grade the entire assignment. So even if the work is rubbish, you can still get a high grade if the structure of your paper is designed from the rubric.

2. Deliver Work on Time
Most instructors teach multiple classes in addition to their 9-5 job. They're busy. When students deliver work late, it bleeds over into other areas of their lives and causes frustration. When instructors get frustrated they're more likely to view you negatively which can negatively affect your grades. So the simple act of delivering work on time shows you care. By default, you are not as annoying as students who deliver work late.

3. Appear to Try Very Hard
Since the work has to be delivered on time, then the next step is to be the first to deliver the work every time. It creates the perception of enthusiasm and places your name and work at the top (this is valuable both in terms of direct perception and also the unconscious association of you being at the top AKA a leader). Additionally, I find twice as many sources to cite, and write discussion posts and essays that are two to three times longer than other students. As a writer, it's a marginal increase to the workload, and you do have to improve your searching process, but it pays off. Also, as the first to deliver work in the class, other students try to ride your coat tails. They copy the structure of your posts as an outline and deliver a watered down version. The result is it appears you try very hard while everybody else does not, and since their work is based on yours, it also leads to you having the highest grades in the class.

4. Appeal to the Instructor's Personality
The last piece of the puzzle is accounting for the instructor. When they make their initial class posts I pay attention to their introduction. What do they value? Are they proud of their credentials and accomplishments? Do they care more about seeing others succeed? Do they believe in hard work and effort over everything else? Are they funny? Are they critical? What are their core values? I try to think about how they approach the world, and then tailor all of my class work around that framework. So if an instructor values credentials, then my introductory post will list credibility markers...people I know, certificates, other big numbers etc. Then, throughout the course, all of my essays and discussion posts are designed around the central theme of their core values.

None of this is to circumvent doing the work..

I believe I try harder than everyone else in the class, try to present unique thoughts and ideas and to do good work. But there's more to being the best than just doing the work just like there's more to growing a business than doing busywork. So keep that in mind. The points above aren't meant as a shortcut around putting in the effort. They're in addition to the effort and this applies beyond the classroom as well.
 
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Lex DeVille

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Classes are going well. Got a fancy coin the other day from one of the honor societies.

20200504_151021.jpg

I've learned a lot, but there's something my school does that really bothers me. I've just entered Psychopharmacology and once again, the first discussion requirement of the course is this:

Ashford.PNG

I get that some people are in college to get a better job. But this isn't a job-finding course. It's a course on Psychopharmacology, a subject I'd actually like to learn about. Instead, we're forced to start off with what looks like Ashford fishing for testimonials.

Since I disagree with the assignment, I created my own job post on Indeed. That way I would have control and more creative freedom over my discussion response.

:devil:

Job Description.PNG
 
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Lex DeVille

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After chatting with a professor and reflecting, I've made some adjustments to my path.

I intended to seek an APA accredited doctoral program. However, I don't intend to practice clinical psychology, so it isn't necessary. I'm not ruling it out, but it's not a priority anymore.

I've been accepted into a doctoral program with my school. The only requirement lacking is completion of a Master's degree.

Since I don't need APA accreditation, it opens up school options a bit and I'm considering a switch to Capella for the doctoral program. It's mostly online with a few residency requirements and has a clinical psy program that's much closer to my state's licensing requirements (which I would seek to add credibility).

Capella requires three letters of recommendation, and I have one so far. There's quite a while before I need to apply. I still need to better understand their tuition structure, but overall it looks good, and I have good reports from speaking with Capella Psy graduates.

Be the Best
One of the frustrations of online school is the number of people who aim for the minimum as their maximum. For example, a discussion due on Thursday isn't tended to until Thursday at 10pm, and even then it has broken grammar, spelling errors, and the critical thought of a twelve year old.

In my opinion you get out of school what you put into it like anything else. You can show up late, barely try, just scrape by. You'll get your degree eventually, but it'll be as useless as your mindset in obtaining it. I aim to be the best. Highest grades. Best quality of work, etc. and I encourage this mindset for anyone else who goes to school no matter what level it's at.

Get used to being the best. Get used to being a leader. Get used to people riding your coattails and just scraping by because that's what most people do, and the more you do the opposite, the more doors open for you whether it's school, business or some other part of life.
 
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Lex DeVille

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Thought I blew it this week. I misread an assignment and didn't realize it was due last Thursday. I didn't start mine until Sunday. Since I was late, I felt less motivated and didn't try as hard. I was disappointed with the quality of work but did my best to meet requirements anyway.

I was the last one to turn work in and was sure I'd get a zero. But Psyko (the God of Psychology :D ) had other plans. When I turned the assignment in, I mentioned that I'd misread the instructions, how bad I felt for being late, and that I accepted my fate but was disappointed in myself.

This morning the assignment showed graded. I opened it with heart palpitations. Had to blink a lot and reread the score several times. There was no zero. Instead, I got the highest score in the class! Not only was it the highest score, but it was a perfect score?!

I don't think the instructor liked me when we started the class. But probably several things affected this outcome:

1. Consistent high-quality work on all past assignments
2. Not making excuses in the face of my own failure

There's a lot of psychology underlying both of those. Anyway, I'll be more careful in the future. Two more weeks and I'll be done with psychopharmacology. Interesting course. Not my cup of tea. Looking forward to moving on.
 
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Lex DeVille

Lex DeVille

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Chopping Down Obstacles

- Joined the two honor societies

- Joined the American Psychological Association (APA) as a student member

- One of the honor societies has a $10k grad scholarship but wants a letter of recommendation and an essay

- Wrote an email to my first grad professor about an LoR and got a "yes" same day

- Purchased the following GRE study materials:
--- Magoosh online program
--- Manhattan Math guide
--- ETS Super Power Pack

- Started updating some of my social profiles to remove words like "cult" and "evil" while requesting LoR's and other reviews. :D

Up Next..

With a "yes" from the first professor it'll be easier to get other professors on board since they all teach at the same school. I'll probably mention her "yes" in those emails for social proof. I'm also reviewing each professor's professional profile to tailor the emails to their personality style.

I'll start writing the essay for the grad scholarship since there's probably less competition for it than public scholarships. You have to pay a one-time fee to be a member of the honor society and I'd wager that filters out a lot of would-be members.
 
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Lex DeVille

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Procrastinators
It's the final week of class. Yesterday was the deadline for an interactive assignment. We were supposed to create a video personality assessment. I posted mine on Monday (before the start of the official school week). I watched the discussion for four days. A single other student posted their assignment by Wednesday, a pattern they've followed since the start of class. All other students waited for Thursday, within hours of the deadline.

Predictable Behavior
It's interesting to observe behavior in an online classroom. Everything is predictable from student to teacher. Within the first week you can map a blueprint for interactions and set reliable expectations for almost everyone. So it's a straightforward matter to become the "star" student if you really want to. Mostly just do the stuff from earlier posts in the thread.

Guiding Perception
This week another student reached out for help at the last minute. It's strange because I'm not the instructor. But now that multiple students have reached out on different occasions, it confirms that others perceive me as some sort of leader within this class. Presumably, this will carry forward into a wider perception of leadership within various areas of psychology at some later point in time.

Getting the Most Out of School
Everyday I take things learned in class and apply them in business and life to deepen the experience and retain more overall. Recent articles I wrote for business purposes are more comprehensive and researched than final essays from classes. Beyond the classroom I read scholarly journals - research studies, articles etc. to explore other ways to make classwork relevant.

For example, I might research Erikson's psychodynamic theories to better understand how his approaches might be used for digital marketing. Or I might take a concept like distributed practice effect and teach my wife how it could apply to her studies to help her become a personal trainer. In short, the goal is to use a Read > Comprehend > Apply/Teach > Learn approach rather than just reading and assuming knowledge was retained.

Compounding ROI
It will take another 5-6 years to earn a PhD. That's a lot of time to establish expertise within the field of psychology. To that end, I've narrowed my focus of topics to specific fields for business purposes. I intend to establish a content base that grows over the next five years that people reference because the material is comprehensive and thorough. Additionally, it will serve as a funnel (of course) into paid products so that I get something back while developing into the perception of a psychology professional and expert over time despite not attending a fancy pants school like Harvard (unless Harvard invites me to teach muahaha :cool:).
 
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Lex DeVille

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Research design is rough. I'm hanging in there thanks to an F-ton of reading. A couple days ago the instructor sent an email:

Email.PNG

Pretty cool getting a note like that. This is one of the harder classes I've taken and the instructor has high standards. I also got invited to another honor society. That email came through this morning.

Tau Upsilon Alpha.PNG

There's another honor society, the Sigma Nu Tau entrepreneur society, which I'm not eligible for because I'm not enrolled in a business program haha.

One benefit of joining honor societies is the potential for scholarship access. Although, I may not be eligible for scholarships based on the color of my skin these days.

In total, I have four classes left before I finish the Master's (or whatever woke term we're using).

I'm starting to think about how I'll use the M.A. in business. An M.A. isn't the end goal, but it's still a valuable credibility marker. Looking forward to entering the doctoral program.

Sadly, I fear I'll earn that PhD only to be stripped of it at some future point due to perceived inequality between people who earn degrees and society's dredges. This will likely be the catalyst that propels me fully into a supervillain identity where the only path left is to carry out plans for world domination.
 

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Hey, Lex, first, congrats!

I was actually in a clinical psych Ph.D. program many years ago (I withdrew after completing all the master's-level coursework & part of my master's thesis). Given the glacial pace of change at most universities, I'd guess that much is still the same as when I was in that doctoral program.

A few thoughts:
  • I have no doubt you could complete a Ph.D. program, given your bias for action-taking.
  • However, there are things about a psych doctoral program that aren't under your control:
    • Getting accepted to a doctoral program: Ph.D. psych programs are highly competitive (like 2-5% acceptance rates), I think Psy.D. might be less competitive. Most of your competition will be newly-minted Bachelor's grads in their early 20's with high GPAs & relevant volunteer & research experience. I actually think you'd have a better shot than those typical applicants, given your life & work experience, returning to school later, being a parent, etc.--you'd add diversity of background to the grad student pool. However, you'll need a compelling "why" for getting a psych Ph.D.--like, a "why" that's aligned with the psych department's goals. They're looking for people with a high probability of completing the program & contributing to the field. If you have specific interests & goals you want to pursue--especially if those research interests & goals overlap some of the professors' interests--then that'll increase your chances of acceptance (and I'm sure you can communicate that, given your copywriting skill).
    • The time & effort required to complete the Ph.D. program: A psych Ph.D. is very different than undergrad. The coursework is the easy part--it's proscribed, and you already know how to work hard & study. The research and/or teaching assistantships (which are typically required), the counseling practica, and the master's thesis & doctoral dissertation all together basically mean that you're focused on the Ph.D. program full-time for several years. Only you can decide if you want to take that on.
    • The dissertation (and master's thesis): This is a big hurdle, and some of it won't be under your control. Your advisor & advisory team may throw in random monkey wrenches that'll increase the work required to complete the dissertation--and there's inter-departmental politics that can significantly impact your success & the time & amount of work it takes to complete.
If you're highly motivated, & have a clear & compelling "why" for doing it, you'll succeed.
 
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Lex DeVille

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For anyone who might come across this post:

This thread is called "Lex DeVille's - Journey to Doctor." It is not called, "Watch me follow someone's personal opinion (read "script") of what 'fastlane' means." I posted it to share one small part of my journey.

No school pays me for these posts. I am not part of any government organization with an incentive to push people into educational debt. I do not have courses or coaching programs aimed at people who are interested in grad school. I am not an affiliate of any college.

I have not asked anyone to follow this thread. I have not forced anyone to follow this thread. If you don't like something I do, there is no requirement to follow. Personally, I don't care if you follow or not. It makes no difference to me or any of the things I'm doing.

There is no right or wrong way to do things. Going to school does not mean the opposite of fastlane, although believing that it does IS the opposite of fastlane mindset in my opinion.

I wanted to advance my education and that's what I'm doing. I am also building several businesses. My businesses pay for my education.

There is no rule that says you can't go to school and have a business (which is why there is a truck and trailer outside of my house and a garage full of new tools as I dive into another industry without experience WHILE maintaining my education).

It's not like I'm not sharing about that progress either. Anyone with inside access can read it in my thread here.

Trailer 1.jpg

Tools.jpg

I don't know why some people are so worried about what everyone else on this forum is doing, or about the choices everyone makes. The forum is not anybody's f*cking babysitter.

Stop worrying about others so much. Reflect on your own situation. If you don't like how your life is, then figure out how to fix that for yourself.

In the meantime, I'll be sharing about my progress doing the things I want to do in life, enjoying the liberty I've created for myself, and pursuing entrepreneurship in whatever way I want to without following anyone else's idea of how that should be.

33778
 
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Lex DeVille

Lex DeVille

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I've got several updates since the last time I wrote.

Research Design is Actually Interesting
The more I read, the more apparent it becomes that it is extremely easy for unscrupulous researchers funded by interested parties to manipulate data in support of different positions.

The general public is too lazy to read research studies. Some people read the studies, but they face complicated long-form scientific jargon which is difficult for the average reader to decipher.

Assuming they make their way through the jargon, they then face statistics that require strong mathematical skills to interpret.

Even if someone made it through all of that, there would be other matters to consider, including the research model and design, sampling method, data analysis, and even questions, thoughts and ideas that are misleading, or have been overlooked on purpose or left out for other reasons.

In other words, you need to be an expert at critiquing research to really know if any given research provides valid results or presents useful evidence to support some theory or hypothesis.

The Struggle for an A
I'm hanging in there with Research Design. The instructor said several are failing the class. Apparently, I'm 1 of 3 people with an A. There are only two weeks left.

This class has sparked an interest in going deeper with critiquing methods. I reached out to three past instructors and my current instructor for resources. All responded. Some with better resources than others.

Asking for resources serves multiple purposes. First, asking for small favors is an established persuasive technique. Second, asking for resources shows I care about the field. Third, it keeps my name in front of important instructors who may offer letters of recommendation later on.

Doctoral Path
My path changes weekly it seems. I've come up with numerous reasons why Ashford's PSYD program is the best option for me. The one reason I challenge that position is the future ramifications of earning a doctoral degree through a completely online school.

Assuming I critique the work of others, which may include challenging their credibility, it would be easy for others to challenge my credibility based on a doctoral degree from a non-traditional, non-GRE, non-APA-accredited (although regionally accredited) school.

So I'm reflecting on this now. Maybe I should reconsider taking the GRE and applying to more reputable schools. Drawbacks to this are potentially extending the time it takes to earn a degree, as well as increasing the overall weekly time-commitment. One benefit is the degree may be paid for completely, so there's that.
 
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Lex DeVille

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Research & Design
I finished Research and Design and maintained an A. I reached out to the instructor with a thank you message after the course was over. She seemed to appreciate the thought and noted that most students send hate mail (due to failing the class).

Psychological Testing & Assessment
I'm entering the third week of Psychological Testing and Assessment. So far the class is going well. The subject matter is interesting and complex, but I'm doing fine. Last week we had to create a children's picture book as an assignment. Oddly enough, I have experience in that area which came in handy.

University Conversion
Apparently Ashford was purchased by the University of Arizona and is in the process of being converted from a for-profit to a non-profit school. This news came out of nowhere, but it's welcome. I would much rather have a degree from the University of Arizona than Ashford. It adds a great deal of credibility.

GRE Back On
I don't know if I'll switch schools for the doctoral program, but I decided to take the GRE anyway. At least that will open my options. I purchased Magoosh membership and will study over 3 months before testing. That way it's not too far out, and also will be done before it's time to apply for PhD programs in December-January. Probably the biggest complaint with Ashford is the no-GRE entrance. Without a GRE requirement, the quality of the average student is low.

Clinical Psychology
Since I'm taking the GRE, I will probably apply to a few clinical psychology programs. I'm still not sure that's the path I want to take, but I'd like to keep options open there as well. Several sources have stated that Clinical Psychology is the most competitive degree path in existence, more so than medical or law school. I think I can get in.

3 Courses to Go.
 

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There's always a way. :cool:
Reading your previous few posts, I think you'd enjoy the book The Third Door.

It's about doing things different than the 99% and hacking your way into things.

Quick engaging read, highly recommend it.
 

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Lex DeVille

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A few updates...

Personality Theories
Finished with a 99.3%. Can't get much better than that. Pretty pleased. Enjoyed the work.

All Aboard!
More and more leeches try to board the gravy train. I put extensive research, reading and critical thought into discussion posts and I'm the first to post every week. Then these asshats wait until the last minute and rip off my writing. They don't try to hide it.

Three people quoted the same sentence from an academic textbook I bought that is completely unrelated to the course. There is zero chance in hell that all three of them are reading this book, and even less chance that they came upon the exact same line to quote.

What's worse is the instructor doesn't seem to notice. He asked us to be kind and respond to the posters who didn't have any responses yet. I was trying to help out by doing that when I realized how similar all of the other posts were to mine. To make matters even worse, he actually congratulated one of the posters for the level of detail and thought that went into their post!

Dealing With Insects
I was going to let it go. Probably should. It's not like any of them will go off and do great things. They'll graduate, get their degree and struggle to find and maintain lower middle-class incomes. At the same time, I'm not one to let people steal my hard work and take credit for it. Plus I'm pretty good at written intimidation that doesn't cross the line, so I sent them all messages of warning. Hopefully they get the picture.

Opinions?
How do you feel about this situation? If I would let it go, I'd enable the behavior not only by those students, but by others. However, reporting it is likely to cause extra work and potentially frustration for the instructor which could have negative side-effects for me. For now I only contacted the offenders directly. Nobody else is involved.
 
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Lex DeVille

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I reported the plagiarism and confronted the people who did it. Haven't had any problems with plagiarism since. I'm not interested in bridges with weak foundations or letting others step on me for personal gain. It's not in my nature.

What I gained was relief from students piggy-backing off my time and effort, and learned how the system works so I can more effectively deal with them in the future.

It's not the approach everyone would take, but it's the one I took and I'm satisfied with the outcome.
 

lowtek

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I reported the plagiarism and confronted the people who did it. Haven't had any problems with plagiarism since. I'm not interested in bridges with weak foundations or letting others step on me for personal gain. It's not in my nature.

What I gained was relief from students piggy-backing off my time and effort, and learned how the system works so I can more effectively deal with them in the future.

It's not the approach everyone would take, but it's the one I took and I'm satisfied with the outcome.
You made the right choice.

When I was in grad school I had to do some grading for a very basic intro to astronomy class. 120+ students with regular homework.

It was often the case that as I was grading, I would notice patterns in the answers. If the suspect assignments were far enough apart in the stack, I didn't waste my energy hunting them down. The exams were in class, and I figured the idiots would get sorted out in the meat grinder.

In one particular instance, two students turned in completely identical assignments - both printed from a computer.... right next to each other. The first time I saw this, I gave both students 0s on the assignment and indicated that they were not to do it again. I figured that was punishment enough, mostly for being stupid (or brazen, perhaps?) to turn them in together. I suppose they didn't attend class much, because the next assignment I saw the same exact thing. I had no choice but to turn it in, at that point. The prof was new to the university, and I don't think he wanted to have to deal with it, but did. No love lost between us, and things went smoothly after that.

Just a heads up, something else I experienced that may be in your future, is when you have to crush students' dreams.

I'm a generally lenient grader, but one student's work was so subpar I had to give her a B in the lab, which tipped her from getting an A in the course overall. She was hoping to go to med school, and of course having a B in physics isn't going to cut it. She came begging and pleading, trying to find any way to squeeze out the extra points to get the grade. I told her I couldn't budge, and she was free to take it up with the lab manager, which she did. He straight told her that he would have given her a C at best, and he had to come tell me to stop being so soft.
 

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Research design is rough. I'm hanging in there thanks to an F-ton of reading. A couple days ago the instructor sent an email:

View attachment 33972

Pretty cool getting a note like that. This is one of the harder classes I've taken and the instructor has high standards. I also got invited to another honor society. That email came through this morning.

View attachment 33973

There's another honor society, the Sigma Nu Tau entrepreneur society, which I'm not eligible for because I'm not enrolled in a business program haha.

One benefit of joining honor societies is the potential for scholarship access. Although, I may not be eligible for scholarships based on the color of my skin these days.

In total, I have four classes left before I finish the Master's (or whatever woke term we're using).

I'm starting to think about how I'll use the M.A. in business. An M.A. isn't the end goal, but it's still a valuable credibility marker. Looking forward to entering the doctoral program.

Sadly, I fear I'll earn that PhD only to be stripped of it at some future point due to perceived inequality between people who earn degrees and society's dredges. This will likely be the catalyst that propels me fully into a supervillain identity where the only path left is to carry out plans for world domination.
Well done @Lex DeVille. It’s easy getting on the radar of the powers to be: help them help their audience/market/customers/etc. Better yet, be *seen* to help them. Super easy. I don’t know why more people don’t do it.

Meh to academia. You can’t join an entrepreneur society because you’re not taking a business class? What kind of weird thinking is that? Seriously, their loss, and they don’t even know how much they’re missing out.

I say go for super villainy world domination at the same time.
 

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Congrats, man. It's rewarding academically, and since you don't want to make this your career, good for you.

Economically, the only benefits I got out of my PhD so far are:

- people of the older generation look at you in a completely different light, to them, being a "doctor" means something.

- Need a doctor's appointment or are in the hospital? They automatically assume you are a medical doctor, you have no waiting time, and they'll double check your case because they don't want to get sued.

- Ran into the police again? There's one thing cops understand, and that's rank. It's really interesting to see them treating you as a common peasant and the different way they treat you after they checked your ID. Probably also because they know that it is actually a misdemeanor in Germany to not address someone with a PhD as "Doctor". To their defense: Given my appearance in non-professional contexts, I, as a cop, would probably assume worse things about me, too.

- And, of course, I now have the right to apply for all public research funds. But when you're not employed at the university, there isn't much chance they'll be granted.
 

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When I decided to be the best, that meant more than just trying hard. I consistently get the highest grades on assignments and it isn't luck, it's by design.

With online school there appear to be four core components (in addition to delivering good work) to get the best grades:

1. Follow instructions
2. Deliver work on time
3. Appear to try very hard
4. Appeal to the instructor's personality

All four components build up to a high perceived-value, and since much of the grade is based on the subjective interpretations of the instructor, then grades can be influenced by strategically controlling for this factor.

1. Follow Instructions
This is the second easiest component to account for. You open the grading rubric and look at the requirements for each assignment. Attend to them one by one in every discussion and every assignment. This is like a blueprint for a perfect score even if the work itself isn't perfect. In my classes I've found instructors often scan assignments to quickly look for these key points. Sometimes it's how they grade the entire assignment. So even if the work is rubbish, you can still get a high grade if the structure of your paper is designed from the rubric.

2. Deliver Work on Time
Most instructors teach multiple classes in addition to their 9-5 job. They're busy. When students deliver work late, it bleeds over into other areas of their lives and causes frustration. When instructors get frustrated they're more likely to view you negatively which can negatively affect your grades. So the simple act of delivering work on time shows you care. By default, you are not as annoying as students who deliver work late.

3. Appear to Try Very Hard
Since the work has to be delivered on time, then the next step is to be the first to deliver the work every time. It creates the perception of enthusiasm and places your name and work at the top (this is valuable both in terms of direct perception and also the unconscious association of you being at the top AKA a leader). Additionally, I find twice as many sources to cite, and write discussion posts and essays that are two to three times longer than other students. As a writer, it's a marginal increase to the workload, and you do have to improve your searching process, but it pays off. Also, as the first to deliver work in the class, other students try to ride your coat tails. They copy the structure of your posts as an outline and deliver a watered down version. The result is it appears you try very hard while everybody else does not, and since their work is based on yours, it also leads to you having the highest grades in the class.

4. Appeal to the Instructor's Personality
The last piece of the puzzle is accounting for the instructor. When they make their initial class posts I pay attention to their introduction. What do they value? Are they proud of their credentials and accomplishments? Do they care more about seeing others succeed? Do they believe in hard work and effort over everything else? Are they funny? Are they critical? What are their core values? I try to think about how they approach the world, and then tailor all of my class work around that framework. So if an instructor values credentials, then my introductory post will list credibility markers...people I know, certificates, other big numbers etc. Then, throughout the course, all of my essays and discussion posts are designed around the central theme of their core values.

None of this is to circumvent doing the work..

I believe I try harder than everyone else in the class, try to present unique thoughts and ideas and to do good work. But there's more to being the best than just doing the work just like there's more to growing a business than doing busywork. So keep that in mind. The points above aren't meant as a shortcut around putting in the effort. They're in addition to the effort and this applies beyond the classroom as well.
First off, I think this is awesome. Congrats on taking the steps to live a more fulfilling life for yourself, and not letting others define what that is for you. That's about as unscripted as it gets.

Secondly I think these four points really can apply to more than just professors. I know they served as a nice timely reminder. I've been letting myself slack in a couple of areas.

Lastly, I'm enjoying the little irony that you have this generally free wheeling entrepreneurial forum really into this thread about you getting an classic education.
 

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A good read Lex, and congrats on taking this on with the intentions of being number 1. Good on you for doing exactly what the f*ck you want to do even if some on here don't agree with it. Go forth and prosper!
 

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If you'd asked three years ago about grad school I would've laughed in your face. I hadn't even finished the undergrad degree I started in 2007, one of the longest, most agonizing experiences of my life. I'd hopped from one major to another and from school to school searching for the right program. All of those switches caused years of setbacks and added costs. Luckily, I served in the military and Post 9-11 GI Bill covered it all (almost). Unfortunately, I ran out of GI Bill with a few classes remaining, and because I didn't value degrees (reinforced by success in freelancing) and didn't want to pay out of pocket, I dropped out in 2016 vowing never to go to college again.

But two years later (2018) I logged into the old online classroom to see if I still had access. Turns out I did, so I checked the degree progress report which showed a GPA in the mid 2.5 range and four classes remaining to graduate. I was nine months into being a first time dad, and nearly nine years into entrepreneurship and as I looked at that progress I couldn't help but think, four classes left? WTF why didn't you just finish it?! I don't know if it was the potential for credibility or maybe that I want my daughter to grow up with an educated dad, but I decided to break my vow, pay out of pocket, and finish what I started. I also committed to doing the best I could to raise my GPA. All of this while managing my business systems and operating as a full-time stay at home dad.

In early 2019 I graduated with a B.A. in Psychology, officially surpassing both of my parents in education. I'd also managed to raise my GPA to a 3.1. It took weeks for the diploma to arrive in the mail, and to be honest, I didn't think I'd care. But when it showed up and I had it in hand, something switched in my mind. This was one of the most rewarding experiences in the world. A kid who'd barely passed high school and spent 10 years working on a degree that most people earn in four, was finally a college graduate.

View attachment 29969

Shortly after receiving the diploma I started to imagine what it would be like to go beyond. I joked about it with my wife, "What if I became a Doctor? You'd have to call me Dr. DeVille!" And at first it was only a joke. But then that joke turned into a thought seed. The more I joked, the more curious I became. Soon the thought seed started to grow. I looked into what it would take to become a Doctor of Psychology and realized it would be a lot of work, likely 10 times harder than undergraduate, and would require another six to ten years of school.

The time frame was daunting, but that little curiosity seed wouldn't let go, and within a month I made the decision to enroll again, this time into a Masters program for psychology which would be paid for out of pocket. The degree would come from the same school I'd already graduated from and would prep me for doctoral training, plus, even if I decided not to go through with a PhD program, I'd still come away with a Master's. Unlike the undergrad degree, this time I made a new commitment. Not only would I finish the degree in the shortest time possible without breaks, but I'd also work to maintain a 4.0 GPA and be the top student in every class.

So far I've finished 4 of the 12 Master's classes, maintaining a 4.0 GPA, and was invited to two honor's societies. I'm currently on track to graduate in February of 2021.

View attachment 29971
So I thought I'd document the progress from this point forward since I've recently read posts by people who felt that doing school plus running a business is impossible. To those people...it is not.

From this point forward is my Journey to become a Doctor of Psychology.

Current Obstacles
1. The program I want to enter requires completion of a Master's degree.
2. The nearest APA accredited Doctoral programs are 1.5 hours away.
3. Clinical and other APA accredited programs are highly competitive.
4. Need to complete the GRE which was waived for my current school.
5. Need letters of recommendation.
6. Need to maintain a high GPA.
7. Need to get better at statistics.
8. Need to improve my technical writing skills.
9. Need to clean up online presence.
10. Need to join honor societies.
11. Need to do all of this while managing my business and being a dad.

On a bright note, when I finally get accepted into one of the nearby programs, the degree will mostly be funded by the school. I may not have to pay anything out of pocket for that. But no matter what happens, I will have that degree.

For now I'm focused on the first goal, the Master's degree. This week I'll also start to study for the GRE. The plan is to take the GRE early to see where I stand, and then to take it again in six months after studying to improve the scores as needed to be competitive for surrounding programs.

So that's it for now. Don't know how often I'll update, but you're welcome to follow along if you want.
ZF Lee sent me a link from another post when I commented about being in school while working and having a family. I am glad that they did because we all are meant to interact with other people for some purpose. We actually have a lot in common. I too was in the military and am a few classes shy from a bachelors in healthcare administration from Ashford University. I have a bachelors in Radiologic Science through Northwestern State University and I am working on finishing my Masters degree in Radiologic Administration. So I believe we can help each other some how. You have your business now and finishing school and I am going in reverse order by finishing school while working on my niche. I wish you all the best and look forward to hearing updates about your journey. Thanks again to ZF Lee for linking your post for me. It’s a great read.
 

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