Embarking on this journey of pursuing a doctoral degree was quite personal for me. As a successful business woman with a booming career, I made the arduous decision to leave it all behind, move to our rural hometown, and raise my growing family full time. Though I fully recognized that the option to do so was a luxury that not all have, it was not easy for me.
I completely and wholeheartedly lost myself for many of those years. I lost my identity, and I lost my sense of self-efficacy. Eventually, I reached my breaking point. I stopped pushing myself aside and instead chose to accept my feelings, embrace my feelings, and address my feelings. In doing so, I found a passion that changed my life and in turn, the lives of those little babies that I was raising and the supportive husband that made it possible. I hope my story will encourage you to find your passion, too.
Continuing education became my life line. Continuing education gave me wings. Oh, how wonderful it is to grow wings! Though my rural location and family commitments did not allow me to have much coveted face-to-face in-person interaction, online educational programs allowed me to have something that was all my own and to have contact with other humans that were also deeply committed to personal development. I completed my MBA and loved every second of it. I woke up early before my family and enthusiastically studied and soaked it up like a sponge. My husband insisted that I participate in the graduation ceremony, and I am forever thankful that he did. Seeing my three young daughters, ages 12, 10, and 8 at the time (my 4-year old son stayed back with grandparents), in the audience was a feeling of pride that I desperately longed for and savored.
After the completion of my MBA, I missed the learning, the interaction, and the sense of accomplishment. Thus, after much discussion with my family, we all agreed that my educational journey was not yet complete. They knew I needed to reach that ultimate finish line and I did, too. Together, we took the leap into both the financial commitment and the enormous time commitment of a PhD program.
Much like my MBA, my choice in university was based on the program of interest being largely online to accommodate both my location and my family demands. As it turns out, these precision-designed online programs not only allowed me to engage with fascinating humans all over the world, but these programs also prepared me for a worldwide pandemic as a PhD student whose research will now be conducted via Zoom, as an employee that is now working from home, as an educator whose classes have been moved online, and as a parent helping four children transition to becoming online students.
This amazing educational journey continues to provide enormous benefit to me and my family each and every day in ways that I could have never predicted. I can’t hardly wait to see what is next!
The lesson? Find your passion, grab hold of it, and never let it go. And, of course, never stop learning.
“When you find yourself cocooned in isolation and cannot find your way out of the darkness, remember that this is similar to the place where caterpillars go to grow their wings.” – Unknown