The last time I posted I found myself talking about the promise I made to my Uncle to complete my Doctorate degree. Upon re-reading the way I decided to share, I realize how I came to actually apply left me in a corner.
Before graduate school, I went away to New York to work for a few years when I made a decision to return to Kansas City for a great job and for the, then, love of my life (now ex). When I moved back I had the mindset that moving home solely for love and a job wasn’t enough for me. This led me back to something I always told myself: I need to pursue my doctorate.
“While you’re here get your Doctorate” kept creeping in.
So I worked for a few years and got comfortable and convinced myself that Dr. Randolph will happen… later. I hated writing and although I was great at it I had no desire of writing a book
(yes, you’re writing a book) and that was all the excuse I needed at the time… That is until I got confronted by my former professor. I was at my Graduate Assistants graduation and while I was celebrating with her, my former professor from my higher education program came over to congratulate her and then she turned to me and smirked. I knew something was coming and as I prepared myself she simply said: “Why haven’t you applied to the Doctorate Program yet?” I felt the air leave my lungs.
I had all the “excuses” ready and replied, “I honestly don’t like writing and the thought of writing a book is exhausting.” She took a step forward and got closer to me and said “Who said that everyone with their Doctorate likes writing? You will be surrounded by support and you will write some of your chapters in your classes with detailed tips along the way. What else you got?”
I took a step back (I have an invisible box and she was in it) and said: “I honestly don’t desire doing research for the rest of my life and I want to be on the Administrative side of the house with the option to teach.” She took another step forward and said “You’ve clearly been researching the Ph.D. and not the Ed.D. program. What else?” She was so right! At that time there was a stigma that the Ph.D. was held in high regard and the Ed.D. program was something that people wouldn’t take serious and I believed it at the time.
I took another step back and said “I don’t know if I can balance school and my job. Working in my field means meeting students where they are and that meant programming early mornings, midday, late nights, and weekends.” She took another step forward and said “You’ve done it before you can do it again, the school pays for your education and your job will work with you. What else?” At this point, I ran out of “excuses” and space to take a step back. I was literally backed into a corner. She looked at me with a smirk on her face and said: “I look forward to reviewing your application” and walked away. I was speechless.
To this day I appreciate being hemmed up in a corner and being forced to confront my “excuses” head on to learn they weren’t the end of my doctoral potential. As I reflect on this part of my journey I am reminded of 3 things I wish I had known:
- It is easy to convince yourself that doctoral study is not something you want at this moment… but if not now, when? In a time of budget cuts educational assistance programs can often be the first thing cut. If your job or institution you work with pays for it, take advantage of that benefit while it’s still there.
- Your journey is YOURS and yours alone. I learned real quick that some will try to criticize your path. In my case it was the decision to go with my Ed.D. and not my Ph.D., but one thing I learned is that people I heard criticism from the most didn’t have their doctorate at all. *That’s the gag* As I went through my program I realized that stigma never kept opportunities from coming my way as I advanced in my career and when I graduate the critics will call me “Dr. Randolph”. So again be confident in your journey and remember no one should be the author of your life but you.
- Life has a funny way of giving you signs that let you know when it’s time and if you don’t pay attention it will hem you up in a corner (literally) and tell you directly what you’ve been ignoring.
A wise person once told me “Excuses…build bridges to nowhere.” and that’s why you see them in quotation marks throughout this post because I used excuses to nearly prevent myself from receiving what was destined for me.