Greetings to all my fellow educators and followers. I wanted to take time to talk about something that I had to really reflect on these last couple of months. This weekend a friend of mine figured out his topic for his dissertation and ironically enough, I not only finished my lit review for my class but figured out my study as well. For those who don’t know, I am approaching my comps test for dissertation this coming spring for my EdD. Which means if I pass the test I will be writing my dissertation for my doctorate. Many of you who follow me on Twitter have said that I will do in spades but its funny, in the winter of 2000 when I finished my undergraduate degree that type of advance degree was far from my mind. When I was 14 in eighth grade, I had achieved two awards for excellence in grades and history. I was so proud of myself because I always thought I was just average when it came to school. Then a year later in high school, I ended up failing my algebra class and had to take summer school to make sure I was moving along with the rest of my classmates. School became a struggle for me through out high school and sadly, I felt I wasn’t smart enough to be anything. I went into theatre in 1996 with dreams of being an actor or working a desk job because I also worked in business and marketing. Instead I ended up working at a movie theatre two years after graduation and then worked several part time jobs until 2006 when I went into full time work as a cook at a hospital. I would end up meeting my wife and after we were married I was finally convinced by her and her parents to go into something better. I had always been great with technology and while my own parents wanted me to go back to school for education for several years it took a kick along the lines of: “You are smarter than this instead of running a coffee bar and being a short order cook where no one appreciates you.”
Being the good husband and with a child on the way I went back to school but my new sense of confidence as quickly shattered when in the August of 2010 I was told I was no longer needed at the hospital and was told to leave. No job, no income, no insurance and I moved with in with my wife’s parents for the next three years and I have to say those were days during my master’s degree where I thought everyone was right. Who was I to think I could do better? I wasn’t smart enough, I couldn’t even find a new job and I lived with my in-laws. Even worse I remembered in time’s past where I was told constantly I wouldn’t amount to anything, I wasn’t smart enough or driven. Only thing I was good at was reading comics, taking care of guinea pigs and paying my bills on time. I heard that from past managers, parents of former girlfriends and yes some teachers too. Even worse, I started believing they were right. Then in November of 2011 just a month away from graduating with my Master’s in Instructional Technology in Education. My professor told me I was smart enough and that I should go for my doctorate after graduation and to be her graduate assistant if I got into the program. Well, two weeks before graduation, I completely passed my interview and began m studies to get a doctorate in Education. Dr. Ryan Read… something I never could have imagined ever being a possibilities. Of course, despite my accomplishments and working a decent job I heard from others: “Don’t you want to move out of your in-laws?” “What do you need to prove?” I told them: “I’m doing this for myself.”
I didn’t hear much after that, I went to work for my current school which I have loved for the last three years. I bought a house and for the first time in years I felt like my life made sense again. Of course, life never stops moving forward and with my wife losing her job, student loans seeming to never end and more things I couldn’t control, I felt maybe it was time to just stop trying to be more than I was. Of course, then my friend Kai posted about his break through with his paper and like magic I realized, now wasn’t the time to give up. They say, you should never give up but its harder to walk away from something you know isn’t working out. While there are days where things just don’t make sense, I am reminded of everything I have accomplished and what I have yet to accomplish and in this case, its the doctorate. I have come to far now to fail or believe I will fail when I haven’t even reached that marker and that’s the message I want to give out today. Don’t Give UP on Yourself NO Matter What.
We all have moments where nothing seems to make sense or too many unsuccessful moments make us feel we need to call it quits and move on. I have learned not in the last 4 years but in the last 30 years that there are always better days ahead. Don’t listen to others tell you, you aren’t smart enough, good enough, or not experience enough. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. We can’t learn everything or be good at everything but we are good with ourselves. Keep pushing forward in all your endeavors and dreams and goals. The more you push the more you will see that you can accomplish those dreams and realize just how far you have come. I know I have and I still have more to accomplish and no one can tell me otherwise.