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Let The Circle Be Unbroken: Advanced Degrees and the BSB

As black women reared in the south, certain practices and values are indoctrinated at an early age ― God, education, family, and finances. We are taught to pray and read our bibles daily, balance not only formulas but a husband, household, and checkbook… and let’s not forget to walk the dog and have dinner on the table by 6. The modern conveniences of our favorite lifestyle apps have helped to streamline some of these tasks nevertheless when it’s all said and done, we are expected to do it all! But how?

Often we become overwhelmed in one aspect of our lives and neglect others. In my early 20s, I made the conscience decision that before husband and children I would experience life in another country and obtain an advanced degree. After countless “random” customs checks, layovers, and five years in the nonprofit sector I have decided it is time to return to school.

Now in my not-so-mid 20s my priorities have shifted. I have eaten, drank and shopped enough to feed and clothe a small village; now it is time to concur another goal in life, professional school. Yes, the thing my friends and family have heard me speak about for at least the past 10 years. Am I afraid? No. Excited? Yes. Anxious? A little… but here are a few tips for my fellow BSB that have helped my transition.

1. Utilize Your Resources.
You have experienced life and you have sent an email or exchanged a business card or two, or ten, or if you’re like me a couple hundred thousand. Use them! Reconnect with that person in your field who sparked that passion, that lecturer you heard during a conference, or that random person who talked your head off on that flight. Ask them about their experience, their recommendations; use the knowledge gained as educational GPS.

2. Be Confident.
So what you’re not the youngest in the class… who cares? Age does not equate brilliance, and this goes for the youngest to the oldest. You have proven yourself worthy, now excel.

3. Know NO is a sentence.
You are now a scholar. NO happy hour with the co-workers, NO TGIT, NO random trips to Dubai or Miami because tickets were $200, NO sleeping because your tired. NO. YES, no will become a word your get tired of using but a brief stint of NO’s will provide you a lifetime of YES.

Best wishes to the many BSBs who are embarking upon the adventures of the advanced degree. I wish you great success in all your endeavors, and to our BSBs who have concurred the beast and have become masters or doctors in your fields, please share your pearls of wisdom with the BSB community below.

-K. Monét

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KaTerri Kelly

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