This year I graduated with my doctorate. As I prepared for graduation I struggled with the shift from perceiving myself as a student, to perceiving myself as a Ph.D., a Doctor of Philosophy. The self-construct of being a student was so ingrained in me that it was difficult to transcend.
I decided to look up the root meanings of the words doctor and philosophy. I discovered that the English word doctor comes from the Latin doctor, meaning “teacher;” and that the word philosophy comes from the Latin philosophia, meaning, “love of knowledge or wisdom.”
When I combined these terms and realized that the phrase Doctor of Philosophy could be translated as Teacher of the Love of Wisdom, I had a visceral breakthrough in my self-perception. I recognized that I was holding onto the idea that being a Ph.D. meant that I had to be a master of knowledge and wisdom. To be honest, I surely did not feel like a master yet. But when I considered the idea that a Ph.D. degree was actually calling to be a “teacher of the love of wisdom,” I found myself being able to hold that role easily within my heart and mind.
Indeed, on my journey toward my doctorate, I had grown to love wisdom and the journey of seeking it, and that I believe I can teach…I cannot teach wisdom, but I can teach the love of it, or at least try to share the love I have for the path of wisdom.