Choosing a doctoral program for me was easy.
I only applied to one. During my application time I got a lot of UNWANTED feedback from those around me about my decision to pursue a doctorate degree. Moving straight from undergrad, to a master’s to a doctorate program meant I had very limited experience within the field of education. Many people couldn’t see past this.
I toyed with deferring my enrollment and teaching or becoming a counselor for a while. I was bombarded with opinions and suggestions and lost sight of the only voice I should have been seeking, the Lords.
When I received my acceptance email I broke down in tears. In my family going to college was encouraged but getting this far was never expected. I recall telling people that I wanted to get my doctorate degree. Honestly, I said it because it sounded good. I firmly believe I was practicing “fake it till you make it”. I had to literally spend years talking myself into this idea.
The reality of getting a doctorate degree hit hard when I was accepted. The insecurities and lack of confidence gripped me in a powerful overwhelming way. Could I do this? Was I smart enough? Was I good enough? I don’t have any experience.
I accepted my offer. Secured a roomie. Signed a lease in a new city.
And then, I was also accepted to teach in Italy for 9 months.
There was something gut wrenching about being accepted as a Fulbright Scholar. Because it had taken so long to hear back, I just assumed I hadn’t been accepted and I moved on with my doctoral plans. To This Day, I still have a deep “what if” carved into my chest when it comes to this decision. I worked harder on that application that I did on my doctoral degree application. I poured my all into getting back to Italy.
I denied the offer.
In the fall of 2014, I packed a few vehicles and cried all the way from Chapel Hill to Greensboro. My love affair with Chapel Hill was deep and true. Committing to a new life in a new city to pursue this doctorate education was me taking a leap at becoming a new me.
Things I Wish I Knew
This was the first of many emotional hurdles that my doctorate degree would take me on. While I was adequately academically prepared, emotionally I had to grow, to hurt and to learn. More than anything I wish I knew that this was okay. Even more importantly, I wish I would have known that I was not alone. As a woman of color entering a doctorate program, I was in for a treat…
Moving to a new place to start something as daunting as a doctorate journey took it’s emotional toll on me. I had to start over in a new city. Advice… find your circle. During this time I was so grateful for the family I created there. I had an outstanding roomie. A STRONG tribal community. Amazing families that took me in and supported and loved on me. A Bible study group that I loved. Classmates that extended a helping hand whenever necessary. While the academic program was strong and important. I would have NEVER made it through without those systems of supports. For those of you navigating this path, please do not downplay the importance of those supports.
I moved to Greensboro. Got settled in. And so, let class begin…