Milestones: Comprehensive Exams

Picture of smiling African American family

[pullquote]Comps were the last big hurdle between me and doctoral candidacy.[/pullquote]

When I created ScholarMoms, it was with the intention for it to be a space for women like me; women who manage to raise their little ones while also pursuing educational achievements. I try not to post anything here that is either too far off topic or unlikely to be relatable for most other moms. However, today I’m taking a moment to toot my own horn. I recently found out that I passed my program’s comprehensive exam (also informally known as comps). This is MAJOR! Comps were the last big hurdle between me and doctoral candidacy. Reading those results was one of the most emotionally satisfying moments that I’ve had in a long time. I worked hard, studied hard, and stressed too much.

There was certainly a point in time when I began to doubt myself. I’m ashamed to say that, at my low points, having a family felt like something of a disadvantage. The other students taking the exam did not have to maneuver around the same responsibilities that I did. They didn’t have husbands or toddlers go home to. In my mind, they could just go home and use every free moment to study for comps. Now, I am able to be a little more realistic than this. I know that we all have lives to live. Just because they might not have had dependents, partners, housework, etc., that doesn’t mean that they were able to study day and night without distraction. But again, as I found myself mired in self-doubt, my biased perceptions of the personal lives of others became another strike against me.

[pullquote]They support me and remind me that I’m not alone.[/pullquote]

Now, as I bask in the glow of my triumph (haha!), I can see that my classmates were never my competition. How much they did or didn’t study, had zero influence on my ability to maximize my time. This was truly a competition between my perseverance and my doubt. I’m so thankful that God blessed me with a persevering spirit that kicks doubt’s butt (almost) every time. It should go without saying, but just so we’re clear, my countless blessings also include my guys. Do I have responsibilities to my family? Yes. Do they wear me out at times? Oh yea! That’s just one side of the coin though. They motivate me. They support me and remind me that I’m not alone. They make me want to make them proud of me (and they are!). They love me and that love is not at all contingent on my grades, or how long its been since I’ve cooked dinner, or anything else. That limitless love keeps me going on days when I could so easily give up. So I’d like to dedicate this comps win to them. We did it! Next stop: dissertation.