By Ekpedeme Edem, Ph.D (Law & Legal Studies, Carleton 2023), Educational Development Facilitator, Teaching and Learning Services

Dear Graduate Student,

The journey to getting a doctorate is filled with so many lessons, contours, and surprises

Permit me to take you on an excursion with me

From the starry-eyed PhD orientation student to the wiser PhD holder

It has been an exhilarating experience

Revealing the presence of more resilience and grit than acknowledged

Despite the odds, I made it through, and this is my victory song

Navigating landmines, I never saw coming

From the loss of my greatest cheerleader – my dad

To the end of a relationship, I once thought defined me

To the forced solitude and loneliness of Covid 19

I learned that life happens, and fortitude is a forerunner to celebration

Through it all I kept the faith

I have made friends along the way and lost some too

Been blessed to be mentored by so many great people

Received help from far and wide

And found new cheerleaders as I burned the candle at both ends

I have learned to count my blessings

To see beauty in the process and to wear my battle scars with pride

Yes, I am more than a conqueror

If I made it through, you too will

Get up each day and keep chipping away

Take a break if you need to, but never give up

Cry if you must, after all you are only human

But remember to wipe your tears and get back up again

Whatever you do, don’t forget to enjoy the process

Find joy in the little things and celebrate milestones

Leverage on the resources at your disposal

Make new friends while in transit

Explore new places and embrace the adventure

Congratulations on getting to this point

See you at the finish line.


Ekpedeme Edem