By Akosua Frempong, Ph.D.
While pursuing my Ph.D., I became a mother. It was and still is such a joy! Balancing education and being a mother and a wife was a natural training ground for me to become who I am today. I am a more confident woman because I can balance different aspects of my life well, without stress. Yes, without pressure. You can do it, too. It takes several steps to do it, but you can if you put your mind to it and pray. You have to be determined to achieve that goal of finishing what you started. God’s Word gives us encouragement to do so. You can do it!
Pursuing a Ph.D. or the highest level of an individual’s education will undoubtedly be challenging. You may have the issue of confidence, asking yourself can I do this? Can I finish this? Do I have what it takes? But you also have the voice of God telling you, encouraging you, “My Daughter, you can.” Once God has called you to do it, He will equip you to complete it. One of my favorite Scriptures during that time is in Nehemiah. Nehemiah chapters 4-6, when the Jews, led by Nehemiah, were trying to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, their enemies, in particular, Sanballat and Tobiah, mocked them. But they stayed determined and focused. They had a goal, and they wanted to reach it. With the help of God, they did. They completed the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem. God always inspires us to finish what we start, especially when He gives us the dream, idea, thought, or suggestion to start it in the first place. I had this confidence issue while I went through my program. And when doubt arose, I remembered God’s Word. Reassured that God is the One who led me to the program, mainly because I had prayed about it before gaining admission onto the program, gave me confidence and peace.
In the 2nd year of my program, I gave birth to my son. By then, I had learned about time management and therefore knew the importance of prioritizing. I prioritized my time at school while a mother and a wife. I am grateful for the type of school to which I went. My professors were gracious; I never had to feel like I had to stress to give in assignments. I thought I had to do my best, which is what I did. That is what they appreciated. The most significant shift for me was to adjust my priorities to put my son before my education. To do this, I tried to do schoolwork when he was asleep. Thankfully, I have an unproblematic child, so this was simple.
When a mother is in school, or you want to pursue education, the critical takeaway is praying and prioritizing. Prioritize your family and give your education enough time to succeed in both. Remember to give yourself grace if you don’t meet the deadline or goals you had hoped to achieve. Keep on going, and you will cross that finish line, making yourself and your family prouder than ever!
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