In an earlier Blog Story (BS), I revealed my brush with motorcycle safety. In case you don’t remember, I took a class and earned my motorcycle safety instructor certificate. Although I never used the certificate to teach, I did use it for something else – applications to Ph.D. programs.
Like many things in life, getting into graduate school is very competitive so it helps to do something different. My attempt at standing out from the crowd was to mention that I was a certified motorcycle safety instructor. I thought that most people applying to earn a Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology wouldn’t be able to say that.
Little did I know that this one unique identifier would have such a big impact on my grad school experience. And I didn’t even find out about its effect until I was ready to graduate.
I was one of only a few students in my doctoral program. Most were working on their master’s. I was pleased to find that other students treated me with respect and responded to my requests quickly and without question. I thought it was because I was farther along in the program.
However, sometimes things can work for you and you have no idea why. This was one of those times.
Apparently, my claim of being a certified motorcycle safety instructor was misconstrued into the message that I had been the leader of a motorcycle gang. Not just a member, but the leader!
I found this out shortly before I graduated at which point I realized that the other students didn’t defer to me out of respect – they did so out of fear.
In the long run it didn’t make any difference why they treated me as they did. I benefited from the misinformation.
My conclusion is that whether or not you understand the reasons behind good things that happen, go with the flow and enjoy the ride. Life can be hard enough without us making it even harder.
You know, I am looking for a new career and I still have that certificate. Maybe I should teach motorcycle safety. Now that would be something to be scared about!
Hope to see you in class.
May the farce be with you!
*We used to ride our bikes pulling our dog Tony and parrot Amy. Amy loved it, Tony not so much.