Adulting: Graduate School

Hi Folks,

CJ here. So the past few weeks I’ve been debating about my doctoral path. To be completely transparent- my summer behavioral statistics class has had me questioning life in general. It is online and to say I’m struggling is an understatement. I’ve got about two weeks to go and I’d say apathy set it about week 3 when all the calculations began. #Iamsooveritdotcom.

So in this edition of adulting- I’ve been deciding if I want to continue in the EdD program I’m enrolled in- and paying for. OR if I want to take a gap year and apply to a PhD program were I work, which is basically free. Time vs money continues to be the debate in my head. I have literally dropped and added my fall classes about three times. Three times. I’m sure the registrar is confused! I’ve made up my mind three times to switch programs, set appointments to talk to people, started the application, sought out recommendations. Then my balanced Libra self makes me think of the other side. She said CeeJ- yes I refer to myself as Ceej occasionally. She said Ceej, what about the time, commitment, persistence, GRIT you put into your program. That little voice inside was telling me to finish what I started, where I started. Now I have another little voice that I listen to and that is the spirit of my mother. Before you get all freaked out. I don’t Literally hear my mothers voice. I do not have special powers. I do however embrace her tough yet warm, funny and no nonsense spirit and Robin [that’s my mother] helps me out from time to time. [I’ll be writing a separate post about Adulting and being a mom when you didn’t have a mom at a later date]. Robin told me in a dream once ‘I don’t answer all those emails’ The short of the story is that I was stressing over helping my mother run a fictional bakery- my mother never owned a bakery, yet in my dream she did. One day I asked her how she did it all. and she told me.. I don’t.

Remembering this dream and reflecting on my current life, I started to miss my life pre-doctoral studies. Pleasure reading, trying new recipes, television, my body pre-graduate school. There is a freshman 15, there is probably a doctoral 20. [future Adulting post on weight and healthy lifestyles coming later]  I’ll admit that this summer’s experience with statistics wasn’t helping. After a few pick me up conversations from my husband, supervisor and one of my sorority sisters. I decided to ‘get my life’ and champion on! All of this comes at the same time that Auntie Maxine’s ‘Reclaiming my time’ hit I completely embraced letting unnecessary and stressful things go. One of my most stressful and time consuming volunteer roles I had to let go. #Peace #deuces. It really wasn’t that easy..but necessary.

So the journey toward the EdD continues. One and a half years of classes left. Dissertation looming. I know I can accomplish it all. But I know I need to be intentional about My Why. I especially need to think about my after EdD experience and how the sacrifice is going pay off for me and my family. Let me tell you, future planning and professional development can be challenging. It is not the most challenging aspect of Adulting. Hands down chores are. Seriously- if I didn’t have to worry about cleaning my house about 1/3rd of my worrying would be complete! I digress.

One thing I know for sure [Seriously, if you haven’t read this book just go and get it] is that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I also know that stress and anxiety are not my friends. So we are officially breaking up. Goodbye doubt, goodbye worry. I’m ready to life my truth. [I just like saying that.. I haven’t even found my truth yet, but it seemed like the perfect statement to end my affirming paragraph]

If you are in graduate school and debating quitting, what made you stay? Where did you find community? How are you balancing- or not? I would honestly love to know!

Until next time,



My Why…

Hi Folks,

CJ Here. I don’t write much on this blog. In fact when I get to writing one of two things happen. I get to wrapped up in it being perfect, or I get lost in how transparent to be. I mean think about it. Partially I’m talking to myself. This is an on-line diary. I was raised not to put your business in the street. There is something however therapeutic about writing and sharing- within reason that is.

Lately I’ve been pondering on the question: What is my why? A good friend would say this often when counseling students and I got to thinking.. What is my why? Why do I have the goals I have? Why do I focus on the things I do? Buy the things I buy? Think the way I think? What is my guiding purpose? How do I live my truth.  That is such a popular phrase these days. ‘I’m just living my truth’.  [insert kanye shrug] A phrase often used after some smart ass comment has been said. I’m going to get that on a t-shirt.

I can’t say I have figured out my truth yet. Another question- Have I reached my authentic self? Am I self actualized? So far my answers are I have no clue and no. I’m still figuring out my why and I am far from my self-authentic peak. These days sistahs are comparing themselves to the characters in the soon to be cult classic “Girls Trip”. It is indeed hilarious. I tend to think I have a bit off all the characteristics from each character.  It is a refreshing movie as well. Touching on everything from being too strong, to too motherly, too wild… The women in the film were finding themselves. In a sense I am still finding myself.

I’ve often shared this short story of asking my grandmother what what the key to finding yourself. I was in my mid twenties and freaking out about being an adult. After a brief pause, she said she was still figuring it out. That was not the answer I was looking for. I listened to her say how she was still working on it. Yet in the back of my mind I know there was answer she just wasn’t giving it to me. Weren’t people blissfully fulfilled and happy after all. They clearly figured it out.

I’m thankful that I went on a journey to self-happiness after that conversation. I literally wrote a list of all the things that made me happy at the time and started doing those things. I took myself to the movies, and got take-out from my favorite restaurants. I read tons of books and ate whatever I wanted. I still did the things I didn’t want to do like got to work and dishes. Chores are an overrated experience and if you like them, hit me up, I’ve got a ton you can do. #trust. Life was seemingly much simpler then. I was single and ready to mingle. Foot loose and fancy free.

My life has changed a bit since my mid-twenties. I got married, had a child, and moved up the ladder in my career. Ever the goal-setting and planner addicted person. I started to think about what needed to be done in my life that I had yet accomplished. I started thinking about my why. One nagging goal of mine was to complete my doctorate. To become Dr. CJ. I have many other goals as well. All of which I uncovered by completing my passion map in my passion planner. In hindsight, I’m not sure if that is a good or bad thing. I believe I have goal-fatigue. While it was refreshing to put everything I wanted to accomplish out there- I’ve most certainly became over-whelmed by it all. I worked toward finding and applying to a doctoral program and was accepted. I had a goal of reconnecting with my sorority. I did that. I was asked to run for other volunteer positions, and I did those. I was and am doing the most. I still have goals that I haven’t accomplished yet like writing a book, or becoming a chef or having a house staged like I was on an HGTV episode.

So what is my why then? My why has currently been taken over by everyone else’s why but mine. It is my fault really. I say yes too much. [don’t get any ideas] I give at work- well I have to get paid right. I give to my sorority. I give to my alma mater. I give to my family. Which started to make me think even deeper. Why do I say yes. I love Shondra Rimes book- Year of Yes. One of her yes moments was actually saying yes to saying no. She spends a year saying yes to things why may have said no to. It’s a great book and my summary doesn’t do it justice. I would argue, she was getting a clearer answer to what her why was. Same reason I LOVE the book Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I have read it at least twice, working on number three.  It is really a good book. I enjoy watching her find her why. As a foodie, I especially love her trip to Italy and secretly want to go just to have pasta and pizza. -secrets out.

So what about me? What is my why. Well I am still working on it. In the mean time I am pausing. Pausing from all the busyness of life. Another good book “Why did I get so busy” by Valorie Burton. – Maybe I’ll pick that up again. It is clear that I’m fairly uncertain about a few things and I’m hoping to blog about those. Hopefully my readers can connect and give me some advice, or realize they are not alone.

One thing I know for sure [ another good book by Oprah Winfrey] is that I want to focus more on me. That means my faith, fitness and family are going to come first.  In that order because God we help me- well with everything. and I need my health to be able to care for my family.

If you can relate let me know. If you have advice I’m game to hear it. If you just want to put two snaps in a circle in the comments do that too!

Until next time,