Three years ago I was trying to complete my qualifying exam papers…it has been three years since I began the downward spiral of questioning if I was equipped for doctoral school.
How fitting that I see this image from Under The Blue Door appear in my facebook memory feed.
The quote that goes along with the image is “Just like the lotus, we too have the ability to rise from the mud, bloom out of the darkness, and radiate into the world”(Unknown).
If you know me you know that a few weeks after submitting my qualifying exams I did not pass my oral exams. I tried to hang on for a year and make the needed revisions, but questioning my ability and my topic had an evil hold over me. Additionally, single mother drama was consuming whatever remaining focus I possessed. So after tons of reflection I made the decision to take a leave from the program.
The leave put me on the path towards me and the girls moving to NY for a job that utilized all of my skills and experience. Things were going good but the qualifying exams remained in the back of my mind. I could not run from it since I promised my family and friends that I would return…As well people would ask about my education.
I would attempt to work on revisions but then work/family took my focus. Unfortunately, that was not my only reason- one of the aspects of my research was affecting me. I had horrible self-efficacy when it came to the revisions and the process to return. I performed the same symptoms aligned with low motivation/confidence – denial, avoidance, and questioning my abilities.
But just like a lotus I saw glimpses of sunshine and began to rise out of the yucky hold. I realized that I could do this and even if I didn’t pass I could hold my head high for trying. I observed and communicated with others conquering their beasts. I followed other women of color within academia reaching their dreams despite the odds held against them. My fighting spirit was being renewed so I decided now is the time!
Now is the time for me to ‘Radiate’ and show that I can persevere and break the hold the first attempt has on me. Now is the time to finish what I started and get my doctoral degree. Now is the time to show my daughters, students, and colleagues that dreams do come true. It might take me years to finish my degree but I want it now more than ever.
Just so you know I officially started Mission Paper Revisions a few weeks ago. I have become part of a writing group that forces me to complete tasks…I got back in touch with a academia mentor…and I contacted my committee chairs with a plan.
Slowly but surely I will mirror the life of the lotus!