In the past month, I have packed up my home in Kenya, am traveling through Morocco and then will soon be constantly on the road in the states. I am definitely categorized under the label “non-traditional” when it comes to being a doctoral student. I rarely step foot on campus (maybe once a year) and most of my program is taken at a distance while being overseas. With all that to say, I would not have it any other way, but this does make my scheduling a little bit more chaotic especially when adding wife and mother duties on top of being a full time “boss” and student all in the same body. My survival tip: Do not sleep.
I am completely kidding, please DO sleep, but my biggest tip to anyone is to not let “life” stop you from pursuing your dreams and passions. I feel as if that is the #1 excuse for not starting something new or pursuing something that is not part of the “cookie cutter” plan.
Be a dreamer and let your imagination go wild!
You may have tons of push back when you decide to do something out of the box or you want to backpack through Europe or you sell everything you own and move to Africa (story of my life), but do not let people stop you from just doing YOU.
I remember the day I decided I wanted to pursue my Doctorate. It had been five years since I had graduated from my graduate program in ALEC and thought “when is a better time?” At this moment, I had a one year old, lived in Kenya full time and was expecting another to come within the next year. It also gets a bit more complicated when you are married as you have to “check in” with the spouse before making a financial and time commitment decision like this. I finally got the nerve to sit him down and talk about how I had been wanting to apply for the Doc@Distance program for a while now. Living overseas creates many limitations when wanting to pursue a higher education, but I knew that this program would be perfect and could cater to our nomadic life. My husband was a little apprehensive at first, but trusted me in this decision. On the other hand, other people had many opinions to throw my way and told me that it was terrible timing and I had too much on my plate. There will never be a balance between your dreams and other opinions, so we have to learn to juggle what the world thinks of us.
and chase after your wildest dreams. The timing will never be perfect and you will never have it all together, so stop waiting. You do not have to do school before you begin “living”. Why can’t you live life to the fullest and be a graduate student? You choose the way life should be lived.
My biggest advice is wake up every day knowing you can.
Pursue your graduate degree. Pursue the adventures around you.
More importantly, be happy with where you are and where you see yourself going.
For me, I am currently sitting in a hotel room in Marrakesh, Morocco. I have my little boy, husband and little girl (30 weeks) on the way. Life is happening all around me and I am not letting anyone stop me from living. Why are you?
Jenny is an Ed.D. student participating in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences' Doc@Distance Program.