Rejection, Failure and Chasing a Dream

Three years ago this month, I received my doctorate in public policy. Yes, good for me! Graduate school was a lifelong dream for me. But it was a dream deferred. It was my hidden dream, buried in the task of making a living. And my dream didn’t reappear until later in life. It was a time when I was exploring options, asking myself, “Is this all there is?” I’d worked in different jobs for businesses, nonprofits, enforcement, legal to pay the bills.

At each stop on my journey, most people were doing the same thing. Working to pay the bills, waiting for retirement, hoping for a raise – a recipe for true unhappiness. Why unhappy? I was going through 9-5 grind of working without passion. No passion equals boredom and misery loves company. I couldn’t see myself spiraling into the doldrums of misery, looking into the dark abyss of waiting for a better life.

I jumped into graduate school to challenge my brain and rekindle my passion. Time to break out and get busy living. I also adopted a new nick name, Nuttah, the Algonquian name for My Heart (as in follow my heart).

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How Being Bad is a Good Thing

In reality, we’re all bad at something, probably many things. For example, I’m bad at cooking, but I discovered how to bake a cheesecake from scratch. When I started my doctoral journey, I had no idea that writing could be so complicated.  I wasn’t a bad writer, but I had bad writing habits. And writing is at the heart of your dissertation program. What can you learn from being bad at something?

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Academic Reality in a Four-Letter Word

Last week, I read a blog about loss and the end of a dream. It was written by an academic who was struggling to re-invent himself. He was a talented physicist who described his 14-year journey from undergraduate to PhD to postdoc research. But suddenly the journey ended. He would not reach his dream of becoming a tenured physics professor. He was a failure.

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Benefits of A Doctoral Degree

It’s a great feeling to earn a doctoral degree of any kind – PhD, DBA, DNP, DVM, DSW. Yes, it’s a great feeling for sure. Just think – you can call yourself ‘doctor’, add a new set of letters to your business card, and update your LinkedIn profile with a new title. But what are the real benefits of a doctoral degree in your next career?

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