This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Toneka R. Etienne will be awarding a signed copy of Become You to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
I started working on my PhD in the fall of 2007. My husband and I had secured new full-time jobs and moved to metro Atlanta one month earlier, with our eight-month-old daughter in tow. From the outside looking in, this goal looked like a pretty lofty one, working on a doctorate degree while working full time and fulfilling my roles as wife and mother to a husband and a young infant. But for me, those first two and a half years of coursework were, for lack of better words, a piece of cake. I had a certain mindset, a focus that was unshakable. I also had this unexplainable confidence about myself, which proved to give me an advantage at the perfect time.
Approximately two and half years into my program, I traveled to Minneapolis for a residency, during which we were encouraged to begin the search for our dissertation chairs. The dissertation, an extremely long piece of writing with lots of research, usually required to obtain your doctorate degree, was the final piece of the puzzle to complete my doctorate. There are several procedures and processes in place to walk you through the creation of this extensive body of research. The first step is to secure a dissertation chair, or someone who takes the responsibility of guiding you through the process. I quickly perused the list of potential professors who shared similar research interests with me and settled on one name. She was not only an accomplished researcher, she happened to be the Dean of the School of Psychology.
I signed up to have a one-on-one consultation with her during the residency, knowing that this would be my time to pitch her my research proposal and ask her if she would be my chair. I sat down in front of her, full of excitement, and proceeded to tell her my research interest, African American mothers and daughters. Looking back, I really had no idea what I was talking about. I could barely articulate to her what my research ultimately entailed, but one thing I emphatically stated to her, “I have chosen you to be my chair.” She laughed, and I’m sure she was taken aback, since students do not typically tell professors what they’re going to do. But I had an undeniable confidence in myself and knew that, with her in my corner, I could get this degree completed. She gave me a tentative yes and required me to submit a proposal to her that evening. I spent at least three hours that night working on it, but once I submitted it to her, the deal was sealed, and the rest is history.
Just two short months later, that undeniable confidence was no more, and I was stuck. Two and half years of coursework had culminated in me standing at the bottom of yet another mountain, the dissertation. The U.S. Department of Education has estimated that the average doctorate attrition rate is between 40 to 50 percent. Of those 40 to 50 percent, African Americans earned only 6.1 percent of the doctorates awarded in the 2006 – 2007 academic school year, despite making up 13 percent of the population. Can you see how the odds were stacked against me? Of course, knowing all of this information prior to beginning my doctorate journey didn’t exactly help me, and I reached a point that everything came crashing down.
I was completely overwhelmed. Fear inevitably set in.
Toneka R. Etienne, Ph.D., is a Psychologist, wife, mother, Huffington Post contributor, and creator at www.tonekaetienne.com. Toneka is a self-love advocate encouraging women to balance their daily lives with the ambition to continually pursue their dreams. Her calling is to fully support women as they call soulful purpose and intention into their life and business connected to their deepest and most authentic selves. When she’s not holding sacred space for women’s transformation, Toneka can be found doing her favorite things: spending time with her husband and two daughters, traveling, reading, connecting with like-minded visionaries, and looking for divine inspiration.
Buy the book at Amazon.
a Rafflecopter giveaway