1. Your ultimate goal
Why do you want to earn your doctorate? This is a really important question you should ask yourself before embarking on a three to five year journey into the world of academia. Sure, you’ll probably get a raise and students will think it’s “cool” that they have a Dr. as a teacher, but those are generally extrinsic motivators. I knew that earning the degree would give me new career opportunities, but I didn’t realize just how many. Initially, I just wanted to be able to teach college. I found out later that teaching in higher ed was just the beginning. More than anything else, I like research, but I didn’t really know where to begin. I had some background in research from my Master’s program, but I wanted to learn more. This was the intrinsic motivation that got me through it.