Defeatist or Elitist: The ABD Chronicles

This article was first published by Ashley S. for the Elevate e-magazine. This series features top featured writers from the writing program. The original article can be found here.


When problems arise do you retreat to your corner of self-doubt, pity or insecurity? Do you lash out at others because you have not found ways to healthily deal with your anger?

I am currently an ABD person, an All But Dissertation person. After years of studying my time in my Doctorate program came to an end. At the same time I checked myself into the hospital for a terrible cold. My test results were normal. The doctors say I am adjusting to a climate change after moving from California to Florida.

I struggled with the seemingly inevitable during the last semester that I was in the program. I tried the entire semester to find funding through the form of a scholarship. I looked for jobs that would maybe give me a signing bonus. I asked family members and organizations for the money. I never received financial assistance. I became angry at some people for not doing what the spirits told me that they possibly could.

I worked to secure funding until the Wednesday of finals week. I moved back home that Saturday. My boyfriend’s father fell ill and cancelled our ride to the airport two hours before I needed to be at the airport. I cried profusely into my boyfriend’s chest. I spent my entire semester spreading less than liveable wages over two weeks at a time. And now this.

Once I stopped crying I remembered that my friend X (named X in order to protect his privacy) might be able to give me a ride. X did not say previously that he would be available that night. I just thought that my boyfriend and I are close friends with him and that we help X run errands sometimes and vice versa. I told my boyfriend to call X. When X, my boyfriend and myself were on the way to the airport X told me that he heard a phone ringing in his head the night before and that I was on the line! He knew a few hours before I called that I was going to call. At that moment I was not upset at my failure to secure a place to live in California. I was not angry at people for not donating money for my education. I was able to stay in school an extra year in part because an anonymous donor gave me a scholarship. Things that are supposed to happen will happen. You can achieve goals in the time designated for you.

I am currently getting many interview requests. When I was in school I did not have much interviewing activity. I believe that now is my time to work. I will work and return to school within 2.5 years. The universe has a way of letting you know the proper times and places to conduct your life goals. Go with it.

Moreover, I’m a very spiritual person- often able to determine the evil from the healthy spirits. I’ve learned, however, to take more inventory about revealing some things to some people. Some people are not supposed to know your thoughts and are not ready to receive them. I don’t apologize to others for some of the stories I’ve written about. There are people in this world- alot of them- who are going through a similar situation as me. Less than ten percent of Americans have a master’s degree. I know that I will be able to reach someone through writing because of the quick and massive audience that writing reaches.

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