If you have never travelled by train, I recommend that you consider it as an alternative to air or vehicle travel. Not only does the time/distance equation afford you ample “time” to read, pontificate, and discuss solutions to most of the world’s problems, it is remarkably more-relaxing. Your speed of travel can range from 20-mph to 140-mph, track condition and environmental factors dependent. You have two 120-VAC outlets available per two-seat arrangement on each side of a central aisle. The overhead “bins” are about four times the size of those on an airplane. You can recline your seat dramatically more, and you can walk the length of the train (minus the engine cars). The only detractors that I could discover in the course of four distinct legs is the food is not much better than airline food (but you can choose from a selection), lavatories are still disturbingly “not clean,” and you are still confined in a speeding tube of metal.
That said, the time carved out of my “available” bank surrounding the transit to/from Syracuse University provided a much-needed respite to assess where I need to go in my studies. Thankfully, my work provides a position of protection since my schooling is paid for by scholarship through another agency. In seventeen years of active duty, I have come to develop a workaholic approach to all of my professional endeavors. I have never been “just a student” even while taking evening and distance classes for my MBA. I have always remained engaged with work conversation, automated messaging services, and professional news feeds. This new approach to focusing on reading, writing, and researching will have to become my daily routine, driving every facet of my schedule. I know it will not be easy, but merely different.
As such, after this week’s schedule of prior commitments, I will be focusing on being a better STUDENT, with once-weekly attention given to pressing matters in the office. It is a unique position that my fellow cohort members are not given, but it is a necessary step to finding my path toward successful completion of this doctoral program. My inner hope is that it will allow me to be a good example for the new cohort arriving in May 2012, a time for which I will advance to being an “upperclassman” in the program. Keeping that perspective in mind, I think back to those days at the Naval Academy when I would happily approach each day as an opportunity to excel and to live up to the expectation from the junior classes to be a better leader.
Seven months from now I will have the opportunity to relive that feeling; until then, it’s time to hit the books! Having not written a regular publication, I will keep to a minimum of once-weekly contributions to this journal. (If more entries occur, please don’t be alarmed; it is encouraged at this stage of the development process.)
In trying to turn words into action, this site is a genuine attempt to merge my professional and personal efforts at contributing to my doctoral student work with Syracuse University. I have previously worked in security-minded environments with nary an effort to “publicize” my efforts beyond the confines of my office or close individuals. However, with about 80-90% of information available from open sources, I see this move as a bold foray into the current world of collaborative efforts and sharing across domains.
I welcome constructive feedback from those in similar industries as well as other doctoral students and related academic persons. Feel free to guide me in the course of my studies over the coming months and years.