Living your best life as a philomath is possible. Whether you’re shooting for an EdD or PhD, seeking growth opportunities, or looking to broaden your educational experience, options are out there for you. But first, it takes managing your goals and your financial situation.
Philomath. Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines the word as a lover of learning, a scholar. It takes being a philomath to navigate the challenges of higher education for a future committed to learning and teaching.
Perhaps you aspire to a professorship. Perhaps you’re simply dedicated to lifelong learning. Regardless, exploring your educational goals takes dedication and balance. Options abound. Finances may be tight. Current events can get in the way.
However, living your best life as a philomath is possible. Whether you’re shooting for an EdD or PhD, seeking growth opportunities, or looking to broaden your educational experience, options are out there for you. But first, it takes managing your goals and your financial situation.
Setting your educational goals
Living your best life as anything requires the setting and striving for workable, realistic goals. As a philomath, these goals likely fall within the lines of higher education.
Perhaps you’ve already acquired a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. But what about that next step? Being a philomath means committing to a lifetime of continuing education, transcending the limits of traditional learning. This often results in a doctorate and a teaching position, as teaching is perhaps the best way to learn continuously.
There is no end goal when it comes to lifelong learning, but acquiring the highest levels of education is somewhere to set your sights. At the top of the educational ladder are doctorates of philosophy and education, known by their abbreviations PhD and EdD, respectively.
Setting your sights on either a PhD or an EdD will be informed by the differences between the two. We’ll delve into the details.
Seeking a PhD
A PhD, or doctor of philosophy, prepares you for research and teaching roles within higher education. You can acquire a PhD in education, setting you on a path for learning within a teaching role. While acquiring such a degree is not always required for tenure positions, it is typical.
With a PhD in education, there are two major avenues for your future learning commitments you can follow. These are:
- Academic researcher — Being an academic researcher is all about acquiring knowledge and testing hypotheses. For any philomath, such pursuits might just help you live your best life.
- Postsecondary educator — What better way to continue your education than through teaching the material to college students? A postsecondary educator teaches, researches, and publishes their findings as they learn.
Getting a PhD in education or any other field means a commitment to continued learning. Whatever your path after receiving your degree, research and studying will surely be an aspect of your career.
Seeking an EdD
An EdD, or a doctor of education, is a bit different. While still revolving around the ins and outs of higher learning, an EdD focuses on the administrative side of teaching. With such a degree, you could dedicate your life’s work to educational improvement alongside any age and level or learners, from K-12 and beyond.
A doctor of education isn’t limited to traditional academics, either. With the need for learning across industries and workplaces, one with an EdD could translate their skills and commitment to learning to make waves in the private or nonprofit sector.
Career paths with an EdD include:
- Chief Learning Officer — As a CLO, you can implement new strategies from the top of an organization down. This requires learning and experimenting perfect for any philomath, with real-world, revenue-boosting implications.
- Educational Administrator — If you desire to research and implement learning strategies and budgeting techniques across a facility, an administrative position may be the right path for you. As an educational administrator, philomaths study and plan learning strategies for their institution while managing metrics like student retention rates.
With an EdD, you might have a broader reach to implement the results of your research. However, these responsibilities come with managerial roles. Living your best life as a philomath requires an understanding of what lifelong learning path best suits your unique style and goals.
Being a lifelong learner
Regardless of whether or not you seek a PhD or EdD, you can commit to a lifetime of continued learning sure to satisfy your philomath tendencies. Higher education is often the platform to do so, but a wide variety of platforms and career paths can help you achieve your best life.
Becoming a professor can be achieved through pursuing higher learning, though that doesn’t have to be the goal. Seventy-three percent of higher education faculty members aren’t on the tenure track, demonstrating a dedication more to learning itself than to titles and positions.
Regardless of your path, the modern world of COVID-19 will require substantial remote work. Be prepared for an online approach both to learning and teaching as you strive for your educational goals.
Balancing the books
Unfortunately, balancing a remote approach to higher education won’t be the only challenge. Financial difficulties in managing your educational endeavors can get in the way of any philomath’s dreams. However, there are ways you can manage education costs.
Here are a few tips to help you balance the books:
- Seek out all financial help options — From scholarships to tax credits, programs exist to help you achieve your educational goals. As a grad student, you may no longer have access to some federal grants and credits. However, the Lifetime Learning Credit can reduce your tax bill by $2,000 and help you make your way through grad school.
- Find an employer who will pay for education — Some employers will happily finance an exceptional employee’s way through higher education. One 2017 survey found that as many as 50% of employers offered some kind of financial assistance for graduate school.
- Refinance your student loan debt — Perhaps your current debt is keeping you from being able to pursue your philomath dreams. Luckily, student loans can be refinanced, even with bad credit. This can give you more room to financially maneuver so that you can afford graduate school or a doctorate program.
As impossible as financial viability might seem for your educational aspirations, there are methods of balancing your budget. Your education is, of course, an investment. Employers, scholarship programs, and even your institution of choice will likely see it as such as well.
Living your best life as a philomath requires balance. Set your finances straight in order to pursue a life of learning.
Setting your sights on the future
By setting clear commitments to a lifetime of education and balancing the necessary financial considerations, a philomath can begin to live their best life.
Start by understanding the direction you would like your education to take. For some, this will mean earning a PhD and potentially beginning a career as an educator. For others, acquiring an EdD will allow them to learn new industries and spread their findings to business and academic practices alike.
Regardless of your path, you must be aware of the financial burdens as well as the impacts of COVID-19 that will be felt throughout education for a long time to come. This means socially distanced learning and teaching, with the financial considerations of a pandemic economy.
Philomath means love of learning, but it also means balance. Finding that balance in goals, finances, and future considerations will help any philomath live their best life.