Tag: graduate school

Stress induced flare

Ok so here’s the deal, in less than 10 days my dissertation defense will happen and my angst is high

I’m not nervous about what I know as it pertains to my dissertation; but I’m concerned about the what’s next questions that are flooding my mind

This is bad because the illnesses that reside in my body react badly to stress…really bad.

My thoughts are jumbled; I’m frustrated and I’m ready to scream

I must find a way to calm my mind and balance myself.

I must relax or else I won’t make it through my dissertation defense because I’ll be nursing a flare.

Why are my illnesses stress- sensitive ?

Stay Focus

Stay focus, those were the last words a loved one spoke to me.

At the time, I thought it was odd because I was at the beginning of my long educational journey that would ultimately lead to a PhD

The young, naive individual that I was at the time wanted to tell this loved one to open their eyes…so they would see that I AM FOCUSED.

(more…)

I Think I Can

I should graduate from my doctoral program May 2018; but there’s so many changes that will happen before that day.

Health, illness has caused major delays in my original plans but I’ve made progress also. If you’ve read my posts, you know that I have endometriosis and I’ve known for awhile.

I had a dream to receive a PhD so that I could not only teach at the postsecondary level, but so I could help others reach their goals. Believe me when I say that I don’t believe you need fancy degrees to help people and you certainly don’t need a PhD; however, there are some levels of access that are denied to many without the fancy degrees.

My pursuit of this degree is not for reasons of vanity but lies in the fact that it inspires many. Many groups are still underrepresented in the halls of academia so it’s not shocking that some individuals from those groups feel that dreams of having fancy degrees are just that, dreams. I am and will always be a symbol that those dreams don’t have to remain dreams. I look to inspire at least one person to pursue her dreams.

I am representing many underrepresented groups…I think I can achieve my dream of obtaining this fancy degree I’m in pursuit of in spite of the seen and unseen obstacles in my way.

Often I have to encourage myself to keep going because it feels like an uphill battle…but in a little over one year this battle will be won and I’ll prepare for the next one.

I believe I can do this and that’s a major part of the battle.

Illness and Doctoral Programs

Since I reached my adult years, I’ve had only one career goal in mind…I wanted to be a researcher. I wanted to research how diversity was included in helping professions, I see this as an important topic because helping professionals work with a diverse population. Technical skills and knowledge are not enough and it is my belief that curriculum in helping professions historically focused heavily on the techniques and a little on the people who will receive treatment.

I wanted to becomeĀ a researcher, so I pursued an advanced degree…in other words I am currently in a doctoral program.

This is great, the education level leads directly to the type of career that I have desired for years; however, I am also chronically ill.

This is problematic, very problematic. I am considered an enlightened thinker by many of my professors, peers, family and friends. It is not shocking for me to be told that my writing is superb and the way that I “think” is unique…it is thought that I would be a valuable asset to the research world.

But I am chronically ill…many of the illnesses that invade my body are exacerbated by stress. Remember I am in a doctoral program, and regardless of discipline, this level of education prides itself on being stressful. I am quite certain that many may disagree with me as to the stressfulness of doctoral programs. For a fact, there is likely some who feel that these programs are only stressful to those who are not quite cut out for it. Bear with me for a moment, I am not suggesting that doctoral programs are stress filled but trust me when I suggest that they are stressful.

Doctoral programs are stressful because they venture away from the normative education process that we grow up with. You reach a point in a doctoral program where you develop your research agenda by creating a project. This project should add to the existing literature in whatever your topical area may be. Additionally, you are supposed to use the knowledge acquired through coursework in this project.

There is nothing wrong with that…but I am chronically ill. Doctoral programs are difficult for individuals without illness, but I am chronically ill. Remember, I have the intellect, willingness, and the grit to complete the doctoral program and I am certain that anyone exposed to me would agree…but I am chronically ill.

My chronic illnesses makes my journey through the doctoral program difficult and makes me question what I want to do for a career. I have always wanted to be a researcher, one who researches how helping professions can improve services through education.

I am chronically ill; however, I am determined to find a way to have the career I dreamed of. My chronic illnesses teaches me adaptability daily…doctoral programs are not designed with me (and the many like me) in mind; however someone (why not me?) must make a path for those to come.

Soon I will finish my doctoral degree, but I will never forget the challenges caused by my chronic illness throughout this process. Now my research agenda has expanded to include ways to improve the process of receiving and utilizing doctoral degrees for those like myself who are otherwise qualified, but chronically ill, disabled.

I will likely always be chronically ill, since at this time there is no cure, but I am undefined by illness alone.