A few months ago, I blogged about my doctoral journey. I mentioned the fact that historically, minority women averted pursuing a doctorate degree. I also spoke about how many of my peers tried to dissuade me from pursuing this very demanding, time consuming, and costly degree. Well, the moment of truth arrived, and I officially graduated in August 19, 2016, from Nova Southeastern University with a Doctorate of Health Science (DHSc) Degree—hooray!
I’ve had many challenging moments, but for some reason God turned all of them around for me. He provided me with the perfect host of friends and family to aid me when times were rough. For instance, I would text my sisters (group chat) and say things like “I can’t go on, this is too hard”. They would immediately say, “Oh no Dr. Emile—you’ve got this—we can’t wait to celebrate with you when you finish. Then they would go on to planning my party and wardrobe for the entire family. Parenthetically, if you analyze our Facebook pictures, they did just that. You would think that they all graduated with me on that very special day. My family and friends played an integral role in encouraging me and helping me to see the finish line.
In the same way, a few of my classmates such as, Dr. Andrea Jackson, Jenelle Williams, Michelle Moore, and Brandi Duperville were very helpful too. We decided during class to support each other, as black aspiring female doctors and it worked. I can honestly say that when we support each other, we all win.
Now, what can I say about my dear friend, Marjorie Prezzy? She and I go way back. We completed our Masters of Public Health together at FIU, a few years ago. Marjorie was beyond supportive. She would travel from across town to make sure that I’m not burned out with studying and working. She would always take me to the beach, kayaking, paddle boarding; she would remind me that I need to have fun. In the midst of all the fun, she would always say to me “I’m so proud of you” I can’t wait for you to become a doctor—I’m right behind you. I know she will accomplish that and more—she is a very ambitious and driven young woman.
As I think back, oftentimes; I would walk into the NSU library (private room), sit at the table and just cry. Sometimes, I felt overwhelmed as many had forewarned me. But I would remember this poem by Helen Keller: “You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles. Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost.” Similarly, I would remind myself of Philippians 4:13- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
As you can tell, I have had some trying times, as well as some triumphant and fun times; but I never lost focus. I kept seeing the finish line—graduation day! The moments leading to my graduation were quite anticipatory, breathtaking, and magical. I felt like a bride waiting to walk down the aisle (across the stage) wearing my wedding gown (graduation regalia). The big day was all I imagined and more.
With that said, I want to thank a list of people for their support. My husband: Wilkenson Emile. My mentors: Dr. Melissa Howard, Dr. Jackie Davie, Dr. Thomas Buckley, Nancy Sawyer, and Dr. Ellen Mitchell-Rosen. My friends: Dr. Shentelle Hamilton, Dr. Cynthia Lubin-Langtiw, Marjorie Prezzy, Joan Pierre, Dominique Revolus, Nahomie Mirville, Florence Greer, and Daniel Gutierrez. My sisters: Dherlie Cox, Micaelle Titus, and Marie Aime; my mom and dad- Raymonde and Duranton Guirand. My niece, Alisha Cox. My classmates: Dr. Andrea Jackson, Jenelle Williams, Michelle Moore, and Brandi Duperville.
Please take a look at the video below, which was shown at my graduation:
I love you all, and I hope to use my degree to better serve our underserved and at-risk communities.
To God be all the glory.
Dr. Karlyn G. Emile.