Creating your own path—what does it actually mean? Many people are familiar with this phrase, along with many other cliche phrases. "Take the road less traveled, all that glitters is not gold," etc. When it comes to creating your own path via your doctoral process, the journey is far from cliche, as it is catered to each and every person's lifestyle circumstances and preferences.
When beginning the journey of obtaining a Ph.D or professional doctorate, one may feel as though they are destined to follow a path that resembles that of a straight line. Maybe a candidate has a few friends who had a smooth sailing process with their chair and committee, and this allowed them to complete their program in as little time as possible. Maybe a candidate who is a single mother has a few peers who do not have children, or they are married and able to rely on the support from their spouse. These candidates will most likely have a different timeline and way of going about completing their doctoral process, and that is okay. As long as a candidate feels a strong passion toward the material their dissertation is made up of and are willing to dedicate a certain amount of time towards completing it, they are on their own right path.
It is important to recognize that this journey does not have a timeline attached to it. There is no expiration date. To compare your own journey when obtaining a Ph.D or professional doctorate to peers is to do yourself a disservice. When having the urge to compare your own experiences to somebody else who you believe to be of more efficiency or success, take into consideration the individuality that encompasses all of you, and allow the unique embodiment of that to reflect on your journey.