Lessons Learned from a Working Mom with Two Doctorates.
When you begin a DBA program, you tell people you are getting a doctorate, but the truth is your doctorate is getting you! You will sacrifice time, relationships, and sleep—pushing yourself to limits you could not have previously attained. You boldly dive into the unknown depths of statistics, academic articles, theory, and a writing style that is foreign to your prior communications. It will be full of expected and unexpected challenges as well as growth and success. The process will be exhilarating and messy all at once, and the end product will be more than a degree. It will be a developed and changed you.
Getting a doctorate will stretch and grow you to a new capacity. Indeed, it pushed me beyond my perceived capabilities and enabled me to accomplish more than I ever imagined. I boldly entered an area outside of my comfort zone and embraced news tasks despite my doubts and fears. I was empowered knowing I can do all things with the support of my loved ones, the equipment of my Lord, and the resources of my training. I have been asked how I successfully managed to combine family, work, research, and life for not just one, but two doctorates. I would love to detail specific steps that anyone could take, but the truth is the process was one of the most overwhelming events in my life. Certainly, determination and an in-depth focus are essential to persevering because there will be days you question your ability to continue! My motivation was connected to my calling to teach and my passion for reaching my fullest potential as a scholar. It is essential to stay curious and open-minded while maintaining a positive outlook because you can do this!
Before beginning a program, some intrinsic motivator must thrust you to persevere, no matter the obstacles!
The best way to balance things is to accept there is no balance. The process of earning a doctorate, working full-time, raising kids, attending to self-care, and nurturing a marriage is not attainable at the before-your-doctorate levels. I lowered my standards, preserved resources, and did my best to take care of what I could. I juggled multiple balls, and while one ball was in the air capturing my full focus, the other balls were bouncing around. There is a natural frustration when contending with more than one can handle at once, and the emotional pull of competing priorities is intense when trying to compartmentalize your life. The mom in me missed every moment I was not with my children but with the literature. The wife in me felt guilt when watching my husband sacrifice as he wrestled with laundry, work, shuffling kids, and cleaning. In contrast, I wrestled with t-tests, manipulation checks, theoretical models, and multivariate statistics. My advisors and professors were an essential part of the process. I was once told the third most-crucial choice in your life after your spouse and your dissertation topic is choosing your advisor. Indeed, her feedback and suggestions challenged my skillsets and advanced them. Grenoble has a wealth of resources through their doctoral faculty, and that support provides the structure to persevere.
I set out to get doctorate degrees, but what happened was my doctorate degrees got me. It is not that I have a superpower that enabled me to achieve two doctorate degrees. The sacrifice and support of my loved ones, the equipment of my Lord, and the teaching from my advisors and professors catapulted me into the best version of myself. These same resources are available for you to reach your fullest potential on your doctoral journey; as long as you remember something, the secret to balance is unbalance!
Cindy Rippé, DBA graduate 2020