Whew! After 2 long years, your girl officially has her Doctorates in Medical Science with an executive leadership focus from A.T. Still University! I am honored to be part of the inaugural DMSc class where I served as a student ambassador!
I officially graduated on Friday, June 4, 2021, and to be honest, it is still sinking in. Almost a month later and I am still digesting that I really earned a doctorate degree and it is a BIG DEAL!
Why is this a big deal? I have quite a few reasons. A small population of people in America has a doctoral education, but for me, it is even bigger than that. I had my son 3 months before my high school graduation. As a matter of fact, I graduated high school 20 years and 3 days before this most recent graduation. According to the statistics, as a teenage mom, I was not supposed to be here. Less than 40% of teen moms graduate high school. Less than 2% of teen moms finish college before the age 30! I beat the odds (with God, no other)! Do you see why I say this is a BIG DEAL?
Not only did I graduate high school, but I was also valedictorian. I would go on to earn my Associate’s Degree in Nursing at 20 years old. I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing at 25 years old. I earned my Master’s Degree in Physician Assistant Studies at 27 years old. At the young age of 37, I earned my Doctorate in Medical Science Degree with an Executive Leadership focus! A lot of life was lived during this time, and to be honest it was not easy at all.
This journey has included failed relationships, bankruptcy, bad credit, food stamps, insecurity, stress, sleepless nights, death, divorce, uncertainty, tears, panic attacks, doubt, negative bank accounts, no vacations, no dining out, failed tests, and more over the past 20 years. The bad did not occur simultaneously but at different times. And while there was a struggle, there was also a reward.
This journey included faith, prayer, never giving up, pushing forward, personal growth, networking, taking risks, and more that escapes me at this moment. When I look at the past 20 years and evaluate my life, I know without a doubt that I am blessed and that God, the universe, and my angels have kept their hands on my life. I am breaking generational curses every day I walk in my purpose.
Many people ask what am I going to do now that I have my doctorates? First off, I am still a PA, just with a bit more education. My ultimate goal is to make healthcare better for everyone. I would love to work on that in an administrative capacity. I would also consider a faculty position somewhere. I want to grow my leadership skills and maybe even become a health policy correspondent. Thankfully, I do not have to rush into something. I’m waiting on God to present my opportunity to me.
I hope someone’s life is changed by reading this. I want the teenage mom, who thinks her life is over to be encouraged and know there are people beating statistics every day! I want that person, where all the odds are stacked against them, to know that they are not confined to their circumstance, that if they never give up, they will reach their biggest goals! And I want to remind everyone that God is able to do EXCEEDINGLY and ABUNDANTLY more than you could ever imagine. It takes just a small amount of faith in action.
Dr. Jackie the PA