“Defy the odds.”
These three simple words have been my mantra over the last decade. I have been determined to continually strive for greatness. As a teenage single-mother, a Bachelor’s degree was the holy grail for me. It represented an accomplishment that many did not expect me to achieve. However, I was determined to prove others wrong. I graduated from my University in three years while going to school and working full-time, a feat that led me to believe that I was destined for greatness. That was eight years ago, and I have not looked back since.
I was proud when I received my Bachelor’s degree and felt accomplished with a Master’s but seldom considered going further. When the opportunity to pursue a Doctoral degree arose, I jumped in feet first and have not regretted it. The last three years of my life have been amazing. My ed.D. program has provided me with significant personal and professional growth that I never anticipated. It also gave me a second family in the form of a cohort who has had my back every step of the way. The first day of class was anxiety provoking as we were bombarded with requirements, explanations of assignments, and reading lists in our two classes. Honestly, that first semester was the hardest. I had an anxiety that had me questioning my ability to persist in the program.
As much as I felt like giving up on my ed.D., I couldn’t…
My cohort wouldn’t let me fail and neither would my son. My guardian angels, as I call them, talked me off the ledge. They made sure that I was keeping up, and refused to give up on me. Throughout the ed.D. program, I have made many sacrifices. I stayed up all night writing ten or twenty page papers and declined tempting plans from friends and family for school. Although this was difficult, I have gained so much that is has all been worthwhile. I am a stronger person, both academically and emotionally, and I feel more confident than ever in my ability to succeed.
To future doctoral students, if you are willing to put in the work and time, utilize resources, and maintain a healthy balance between school and self-care, you can succeed. Yes, it is a long and daunting process. But that light at the end of the tunnel that will put you in the 3% of Americans that hold Doctoral degrees is worth all the blood, sweat, and tears.
This post is part of our #SADocsofColor series for March. The journey towards obtaining a doctorate degree is long and arduous. This series highlights the stories of those on that journey that identify as men and women of color; stories which aren’t always told and stories that are important.