Many laymen think scholars just discuss issues the rest of the world does not care about. But the truth is that they direct the course of mankind. If a scholar has a good idea, other professors will include it in their syllabuses and teach it to young minds. If you are interested in becoming a scholar, there are a few things you can do.
Do Not Be a Clone
You may have been influenced by robust scholars in your field. But if you are just regurgitating everything they say, people are not going to take you seriously. In fact, your dissertation will have to prove that you can contribute original content to your field. Further, reading different scholars will diversify the way you think and help you to come up with new ideas.
Scholarship is Something You Do, Not Something You Are
If you want to be a scholar just for the prestige of having a title before your name, you are probably in it for the wrong reason. A scholar is somebody who regularly practices scholarship. This means you will have to write in peer-reviewed journals on a regular basis. Practice thinking about your field and prepare to really consume yourself in it. A good place to start is to read a lot of good books or even to start a blog.
Learn to Handle Criticism
Many people struggle with handling criticism. But that is what scholarship is about. If you submit something to a peer-reviewed journal, you can expect other academics to pick it apart. If you cannot handle that, this will be an aspect of emotional maturity you need to develop.
You will also have to deal with laymen picking your ideas apart. Since the advent of the internet, many scholars are doomed to respond to the popular-level nonsense that emerges online. You will have to discern the best way to spend your time. Typically, other scholars should receive most of your attention.
Choose a Credentialed University
Some students choose third-tier schools for their doctorates because they do not have time or money. But academics will not take you seriously if you have an unaccredited doctorate. Fortunately, there are plenty of online programs from high-quality universities. If your field is library science, pursue an online library science degree.
If you are interested in becoming a scholar, then your influence could direct the course of human history. But this also means you will have to consign yourself to the life of the academic. You will spend your spare time reading and writing. That will be more of a public service than anything else.
Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from West Jordan, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing and spending time with her dog, Max.
All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com or its parent company Nelnet.