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X. HENLEY'S PENNIES

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I Survived Grad School, A New Job, and a Divorce…HOW???


I generally don’t share personal information about myself when I blog, but as I sat down to begin writing again (it’s great to be back!), I sat and reflected on the end of 2017. I am personally AMAZED and BAFFLED that I am calmly sitting in bed writing honestly. I was taken back to a story from a random parent I met when I was doing recruitment for my current job, and she told me how she managed to finish her doctorate while getting a divorce. I’ve also discussed with someone how she finished her doctorate despite serious health issues arising at the time. Then I realized that through sharing this personal story, I may encourage others as they hit the middle of a program and question whether or not it is something they really want to do. Here are a few realizations that I made after reflecting on the year on how I survived.


#1: I embraced the challenge. This was a challenging few months, period. Times will be challenging, especially if you find yourself in a long program. Things are going to happen, because life moves on whether or not you’re moving with it. I had to embrace and accept that I was in a challenging time. Don’t let challenges defeat you, but empower you. Accept that things are difficult, and troubleshoot around how to make them easier or come up with a survival plan. For example, I accepted if I would have a long a day—I’m talking I start work as soon as I wake up, I work throughout the work day, I come home do homework, then do more work for work. Some days were just long days, and I accepted that and pushed through.


#2: I didn’t hide my challenges. I did not walk around pretending to be okay when I really wasn’t. If I felt overwhelmed or if I felt like I was having a bad day, I acknowledged that and would share that with people in whom I could confide. I would acknowledge difficult times, this simple act helped me push through.


#3: I embraced the positives. Nothing is always completely bad—it just isn’t. Oftentimes, when we are in a stressful time, we can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s always there. Despite this stressful time, I acknowledged and embraced the fact that I had so many other positives in my life and my challenges did not outweigh them. I embraced the fact that I had a new, and amazing position, and was learning so much. I embraced the new content I was learning in my courses. I recognized that there were so many positives in my life, I couldn’t live in a negative space.


#4: I leaned on my network for support. I know I’ve mentioned this before, you need a support network, and this is why! I leaned on family, friends, colleagues, my mentor when I needed an extra push. Don’t get wrong, everyday wasn’t great. When it was a bad day, I talked to people. My network would help me work through that bad day. There were times when I felt like I couldn’t push through, but my network would tell me I could, and tell me why I could. Those pep talks were invaluable. Make sure you lean on those people who support you and believe in you and your plan. They will encourage you when times get tough.


#5: I accepted my imperfections. I accepted that this wouldn’t be my best, but that was also okay. I accepted that I may not get the grade out of a class that I wanted, but I finished, and that was what mattered. I had to accept that I couldn’t do everything perfectly, and that was okay.

In the end, yes, I can wholeheartedly say that this has been a challenging few months. Fortunately, with the support of my network, positive thinking, and a realistic outlook, I survived. And, truthfully, I am ready to embrace my next semester.


I hope you found this blog helpful or interesting. If you haven’t you can check out the VIDEO for this blog.


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