Vanderbilt, Here I Come!

Since I was a little girl, I have always wanted to pursue my doctorate. To have an academic stamp of expertise was something I aspired to early on, despite a career path that has taken me in an array of different directions with opportunity behind each door.

After taking a step back from my career after a few challenging years of motherhood, I began reflecting on that pipe dream almost every day. With our medical challenges, I was researching again, though maybe only with Dr. Google Scholar. Still, I found energy in the academic process and began toying with going back.

Problem is, my kids still need a full-time mom. At 2 and 3, they are basically at the best ages ever (okay I am biased, and only know stages up to 3! ha) but needless to say I am loving this stage. Their curiosity at an all time high, and their need for mom is soaring. I am still really active in the NICU community and volunteer at our church which does steal me away from them a few hours each week, which honestly seems unbearable at times with Grace following after me, "Mommy will you come home? When you come home, will you stay forever?" 

In August I started my PhD. at Pepperdine University through their hybrid executive program in Global Leadership and Change. Seven times a year you meet on campus or abroad for 4 long days -- in the classroom from 8am - 9pm with very little break time. The professors were fantastic and the cohort large (28!) but inspiring, but the travel was killing me. I missed the girls and every time I'd come home, we would have to reset as they were terrified I would be leaving again. I could see the heartbreak written all over their face, toddlers sure wear emotions on their sleeves.

Without even finishing my first semester in the doctorate program, I started just exploring other options for fun and came across two executive models mostly online, each with just one on-campus immersion a year. Both doctorate programs I applied to, Vanderbilt's EdD in Leadership and Learning Organizations and USC's of the same name, accepted me, but Vanderbilt accepted me to start next semester - as in January 8th, while with USC I would have to wait for the Fall Cohort. 

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I had always thought I would be pursuing research at a PhD level, but turns out when looking into the programs more strategically, especially with synergy for my future career goals, the Ed.D will be a great fit, allow me to continue my doctorate studies, but still be devoting the majority of my time and energy to my children - above all else -- I will physically be there with them. I was also looking for flexibility as we are going back to Switzerland April-August and flying from Zurich to Los Angeles twice, leaving my kids in a foreign country, was less than ideal.

So here goes nothing: finishing up finals for my 3 Pepperdine classes and getting all of my transfer paperwork in to start off on a new foot come 2018!