Occasionally, things don’t go the way that you plan them or happen within the timeframe that you may have outlined. During these times, it may be easy to become “thrown off your game” and discouraged, and hard to persevere in spite of the circumstances. However, instead of sulking and being defeated, I encourage you to embrace these instances and keep pushing✨.
At this stage in my Ph.D journey I have passed my qualifying exams, successfully defended my dissertation prospectus, and completed all course work, even for the additional Master in Education degree that I acquired along the way (conferred Fall 2019 🎓). All that remains is finalizing chapters 4 and 5 of my dissertation, which comes after collecting my data. However, the roadblock that I have been facing is called IRB. I received IRB approval from UCF months ago, yet the fact that my research is premised on working with students in the school setting I was also required to apply for Orange County Public School’s (OCPS) IRB for approval to conduct my research.
A few weeks ago, I received an unfavorable response stating that I was not approved because the site identified already had a lot of research being conducted and that my proposed study would take up resources that were already scarce. Of course being myself, I sent an email petitioning their decision and addressed both reasons identified. However, their response was that their decision would stand. After discussions with my Chair and Dean, I was encouraged to change my site, which works perfectly, as doing so also addresses their reasoning for denying my study, and the change is to a community that is near and dear to my heart. Upon making this decision I contacted the OCPS Research team to inquire about next steps to take to modify my current application by simply changing my site from school A to school B. Their response was that I would need to submit a new application entirely 🤦🏽♀️. Keep in mind that this process includes going back through UCF IRB for approval, and once my application packet is submitted the response time would be 45+ days, AGAIN (deep sigh).
Within the spirit of persevering, I reapplied to UCF IRB last week, and my process was expedited as the team was understanding of the current matter. Upon receiving approval again (literally this morning 2/10/2020) I went ahead and reapplied for OCPS IRB and contacted their research team to alert them that my new application has been sent. This is when I asked about the time line and was told that the process restarts.
Now, I’m sharing this with you as a vivid example of things not going my way and not working within the timeframe that I established for myself months ago. Yet, there are so many lessons that I have learned within this experience that I would like to share.
- Before getting upset, loosing hope, or becoming defeated, ASSESS THE SITUATION 🔍📝…When roadblocks are presented, assess the situation and determine what can be done to move past this current state. Yes my original plan was well thought out, detailed, and my timeline included a Spring 2020 graduation (that must now be extended), but this extra time is an opportunity for me to work on a few other things and to further prepare myself while patiently waiting.
- ADJUST YOUR SAILS ⛵️… sometimes you may run into inclement weather, high tides or roadblocks, so you must go another route for the sake of persevering. Have a back up plan in place and ready, no matter what.
- Remember that QUITTING IS NEVER AN OPTION ✨…I’ve come too far from where I started, to allow one or two No’s to be the reason I don’t make it to my destination. The end goal remains!
Now let’s talk about how I’ve adjusted my sails thus far. Back in November while waiting for a response from OCPS IRB during the first round, I made contact with an after school entity and was invited to conduct my research with their students 🔑. I received UCF IRB approval for this site also, and for the past few months I’ve been conducting my research with them. While the dynamics are slightly different, the overall process and procedures are the same, and as time is progressing my work with them continues to reassure me that what I’m doing is important and worth fighting for. I will continue to be patient while waiting for OCPS approval, but I will also continue persevering by working with my “adjusted sails entity,” even if it means having to complete multiple rounds with different groups of students. Whichever way it occurs, the research will be conducted and Chapters 4 and 5 will be completed, while making a significant impact on these students ✨.
I’m all about being open about my various experiences along this journey. It is my hope that the underlying messages and lessons learned can help you throughout your journey in whatever capacity you may need them to. While quitting is not an option for me, I also hope that you too take on an unconquerable spirit and continue to persevere in spite of any inclement weather, high tides, or roadblock that you may be presented with. I couldn’t decide on one motivational scripture, so I’m sharing a few that have encouraged me throughout this process, and I hope they do the same for you.💛
Motivational Scriptures 🙏🏽
Isaiah 55:8-9- “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
”Proverbs 3:5- “ Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”
Galatians 6:9- “Let us not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Hebrews 10:36- “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.”