Sunday, May 5, 2013

Everything seems impossible until it's done - Nelson Mandela

WM #21:
This last week I heard a great quote from a project manager who I work with who used it to kick off an important meeting:  "Everything seems impossible until it's done." This Nelson Mandela quote provides a real perspective for anyone who has or plans to finish something that may have seemed insurmountable. For example, I thought I would NEVER finish my doctorate but I've done it. Today, I helped a good friend walk through her final dissertation defense. I defended my dissertation last September while preparing to move to a new job in Illinois leaving my two adult children behind to fend for themselves, a house, a dog & cat, and a husband in Afghanistan. My friend Wanda - an amazing woman who has provided me more support that I can even come close to thanking her for or chronicling in any way - reflected back with me on this path of cerebral and academic agony. It's a long road and anyone who thinks, or is exploring, the PhD path - please talk to people who has just finished to understand the pain level and whether you REALLY are prepared for the journey. For us it seems worth it. Some perspectives though: What does "done" mean to you? Not always does done actually mean what you think. Like a marathon or finishing a degree which both have an end point:  the race ends at 26.2 or a diploma is collected. But sometimes this isn't necessarily done. I ran a marathon ONCE then never ran again. The training and the race completely burned me out of enjoying running. It takes great dedication and time to keep it up. With my dissertation I now have a mountain of debt and  am not working at the level I should be. A PhD is not respected in the non-academic world as it should be. I will still have to cultivate this degree with writing, researching, and networking. So I am not done. When will I be done? Probably the day I push up daisies.

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