My Top 5 Strategies I Used to Finish my Ph.D. as a Busy Mom
Updated: Dec 21, 2022
Let's face it, earning a Ph.D. can be a challenge, but it doesn't have to be terribly stressful if you have a plan. For many, this may be an unpopular opinion, however, just hear me out.
Hello, my name is Dr. Tina O'Neal. I am a scholar, mother, wife and Ph.D. consultant. As a Ph.D. consultant, I specialize in supporting and equipping busy parents with the necessary strategies and tools to successfully complete their Ph.D.
It has been almost five years since I completed my Ph.D. and lately I have been reflecting on what it took to truly accomplish such a monumental goal. Below I have listed and described my Top 5 strategies I used to successfully finish my Ph.D.
1. Unapologetically Commit: To do this you need to make a "tunnel vision" decision to pursue your degree no matter what comes your way. Through my journey, I endured a lot challenges including the loss of friends and family, committee members transitioning to other universities during my dissertation phase, and even the birth of a child. There were also some financial hardships and other battles but I just kept believing, "where there is a will there is a way". Although there were times that I had to take a break, I never gave up. As mothers, we are faced with so many responsibilities that our goals often take a back seat. Do not let this happen to you! Unapologetically commit and keep it moving.
2. Put together a Dream Team: It is absolutely a must to recruit a support system when pursuing any degree but especially mothers who are pursuing a terminal degree. This starts with (sometimes difficult) conversations with your loved ones who have your back no matter what. Tell them your goals and why this goal is so important to you. Gently let them know their role in this goal and confirm their participation. This is not the time to let your pride get in the way of goals. Do not be afraid to ask for help because - You Will Need It!
3. Develop a Routine: Managing your day to day will be difficult but it can be doable with a daily plan/routine. This includes mapping out your work, study, parenting schedule. etc. Who will pick up the kids from school? Who will help them with their homework? If the only answer is, you... then ask yourself "how will you do this"? Meal prepping on Sunday's is always a good suggestion because that means no matter who is preparing the meals all they will need to do is warm the meals up, right?
4. Develop a Financial Plan: Financing your degree and maintaining your current lifestyle will be the million-dollar question you will need to ask and answer before you start your journey. There are many grants and scholarship opportunities both public and private that may be able to assist you. For me, I was able to obtain private funding to pursue my doctorate as well as teaching opportunities. I also worked as a private special education consultant and online EdTPA scorer. Download my "Top 20 Ph.D. Funding Sources" for Free.
5. Positive Vibes Only: This is a trendy saying nowadays, but it is vital to the success of your academic journey. Set boundaries for negative people or delete them from your life entirely. I cannot stress this enough. Surrounding yourself with positive and productive people will be vital to your success. Know that misery truly does love company and people will try to kill your dreams before you even get started.
6. Bonus Tip: Find a mentor (or two or three). Mentors can be anyone that you value but try to find a mentor that has the degree or similar degree that you are pursuing. They can give you advice and feedback to help you get through the tough times. My mentors were faculty, retired faculty, as well as administrators is in the education field.
These are just a few of my strategies but there is so much more I want to share with you. If you are looking for a guide on how to thrive in your PhD journey, then look no further. My E-Book "How to Start and Finish your PhD like a Boss" brings a brand-new and refreshing perspective to the journey through Ph.D. programs.
Whether it be an online or brick-and-mortar institution, this E-Book is designed to get and keep you on track as you progress throughout your program. This E-book is not just another step-by-step book of scholarly principles, it is the ultimate playbook to successfully completing a PhD program.
Listen up, there is so much more to starting a Ph.D. program, making l