During my educational journey to becoming “Dr. Ashley Valentine”, I experienced numerous setbacks from 2012-2018. Some of the problems were a car accident, unemployment, a dearth of savings which contributed to my inability to maintain my household, my father’s health declined, because of a stroke. I was in dysfunctional relationships while dealing with the death of my brother-n-law. These setbacks as I refer to them today continued throughout my academic journey. I have endured a broken and toxic relationship with my fiancé for the past three years. I have undergone two knee surgeries, experienced multiple hospital visits associated with my high blood pressure and ongoing stress. To compound matters, I became homeless in August 2016 after the flooding that took place in Louisiana these moments reached an apex with the unforgettable betrayal from my finance’.
Even, after reeling off all these experiences, it remains a bit difficult to rate my lowest point as I fought continuously throughout my educational journey to overcome obstacle after obstacle while dealing with Depression and Anxiety. My Depression and Anxiety was fueled by pain associated with my childhood. As the youngest of three girls, I learned early I had plenty of odds stacked against me as the daughter of an ex-convict growing up in a very small town. I learned a great deal about the art of survival, hustle, and thinking outside of the box from my father. Although; my sisters and I were treated differently; we all learned a valuable lesson from our father. In fact, I would not trade my father for anything as he is the reason that I am the woman that I am today.
if I had to discuss one major setback during my educational matriculation, I would list the departure of my editor in July of 2017. At the time my editor moved on, I had completed all my coursework and only had my dissertation left to master. This was a major setback due to the dissertation being the missing puzzle piece. I was very hurt, confused, and angry that my first editor decided to drop me as a client. While I am going through each different emotion, I continue to think to myself and pose two questions. First, I thought” What would my father do”? Secondly, I thought “What would Donald do”? Earlier, I listed my brother –n-law, Donald’s passing as a setback. I did not have any biological brothers and Donald stepped in and served as the best brother for over 25 years. I view my father and Donald as two of the strongest men in the world. I thought and thought until I came up with a plan to contact a fellow colleague.
You see the departure of my first editor made room for my current editor that assisted me to the finish line. I knew that I could not crawl in the corner and cry or bury my head in sand. My persistence, drive, and ability to knock down any concrete walls; helped me to help myself. You can be anything that you want to be; however, if you are an individual that folds after the word “no”, you will not get anywhere in life. When someone tells you “no” use that as a motivation and not a reason to give up on your dream.
The world said “no” Ashley. I followed with “watch me”. Today, I am Dr. Ashley Valentine, an African American woman from a rural area in Louisiana plagued with a community that is filled with nepotism and very limited opportunities; however, this was my driving force to complete the puzzle.