Dr. Marvette Lacy Ph.D., (she/her) is the founder and CEO of Qual Scholars where she helps higher education folks finish their dissertations and start a profitable consulting business.
In this weeks episode, Marvette talks about preparing for transitioning into life after graduation. Marvette explains why it’s important to envision what you want your life to look like after you leave your doctorate program and gives steps on how to envision exactly what you want so you can achieve it with less stress.
Hey friends, the time has come to finish your dissertation, graduate and become doctor. Welcome to office hours with Dr. Lacy, where we talk about how to finally master this time management thing. So you can stay on top of it without losing your mind. Every Wednesday, you can find a new episode wherever you listen to podcasts. Make sure you hit the subscribe button to make sure you never miss an episode. I’m Dr. Marvette Lacy, your dissertation writing strategist here to be with you along every step of the way. I would like to thank you for coming to today’s office hours. Let’s get started on today’s episode. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have your own consulting or coaching business? Did you pursue your doctoral degree? Because you wanted to get into speaking and consulting. I would like to invite you to the dissertation to consultant webinar happening on Tuesday, February 23rd at 7:00 PM. Eastern hit the link in the show notes to sign up. I will be sharing the top 10 steps you need to take in order to get your first three paying clients. See you there.
Hello. Welcome back to a new week. How you doing, how your mom and them doing it has been a week for our country, which is I don’t even have a word for all the shenanigans, the ridiculousness and the very real implications for people and their safety and their basic needs. And so for those of y’all who are going through it this week, my heart goes out to you and I’m just sending you all the love and good Juju because a whole mess. I hope you are. Well, I hope that you are moving more to a space where things are even looking better for you. That is my hope. Anyway. I’ve just been having a lot of conversations, watching the news and all the things, and yes, just know that thinking of you sending you good Juju. And as for myself, I have just been more so practicing a spirit of gratitude and just being really thankful and grateful for everything that I do have, and trying to be more mindful too, of, you know, just little things that I complain about that are really not, it’s really not worth complaining about.
I know in times like this, at least for me, I’ll speak for myself in that, you know, it serves as a reminder, but it also, you could feel a sense of helplessness too, of like wanting to help other people who are really going through it. And yes, we can donate right to different relief funds and help people in our circle. But a lot of times they’re like, I just wish I could do something. And what I found is that the best way to help other people is to help yourself first. And that feels really selfish. It could also feel really cliche and I have found it to be true over and over about the more that we can learn to acknowledge our own stuff and be grateful for the things that we do have in show up and be an example for others, especially if we feel like we’re coming from a very privileged place as linked to the most important work that you can do to help the collective is to recognize those pieces of privilege and to recognize the ways that you can leverage your privilege to help others, to highlight others who center, others, even outside of research, just in daily life.
How can you write like, you know, people are sharing different relief funds, but even educating other people because we can easily get wrapped up and thinking, well, everybody knows that there’s a huge problem going on. And the truth is no, everyone does not know, or they may be aware, but they may not be. They may not know why it’s such like a big thing. So a perfect example is thinking about Texas this week, right? So many people, their awareness around the way that the electricity is organized in our country, like their awareness has grown even with that. And the different decisions that Texas as a collective has made through policy and regulate federal regulations has helped people become so much more aware and then it helps put the storm into perspective. So my point is a lot of times we can feel helpless, but there’s still so much that we can do.
And the most important work we could do is about our own awareness and knowledge, and then leveraging that to help other people. So I hope that makes sense, but just another, my heart is going out to everyone. So today we are talking about the transition from going from your doc program to whatever life has in store for you afterwards. And this episode, I am just going to shout out Dr, Tina M Jones. Uh, we call her Dr. J 2.0 in the group, um, because we have another Dr. J, which is Dr. Joan Collier. And we need to both of them to be on a podcast because you need to hear from them. But I want to focus on Dr. Jones because for so many reasons, she is, uh, we called her in Dr. Collier. There are faculty and residents and the finisher dissertation program. Um, they provide amazing guidance writing feedback, and just that boost when you need it.
And Dr. Jones is a particularly amazing emphasis. Like it is difficult. Like I, you would be hard pressed to not have a conversation with her and not feel like you can conquer the world afterwards. Like that is just her spirit. And the reason why I want to shout her out in this episode is because we just a year ago to date probably we had the conversation that I’m going to have with you all. So Latina joining the program before it was even called finish your dissertation. She joined when I was just calling Write Away. And we were meeting on Sundays as a group to, to write essentially it was before it was all these bells and whistles that we have now. And it’s organization that we have now, we legit just had a zoom link that I would email to everybody and they would just show up on Sundays and we were right.
Um, and I love her story because she was like, I just signed up for the culture. I signed up to support a black woman. I had no intentions of really coming. And as she started to get thick into dissertating and preparing to defend the proposal and IRB and collect data, she started utilizing the writing group or right away more frequently. And I don’t want to go too deep into that part of the story because she will be on a podcast to talk about that story about how, like, when we really started working together was mapping out her dissertation, uh, data collection plan. Um, cause she had a very, I guess some people would consider it ambitious plan, but I was like, you could definitely do this. And she did, but to fast forward around this time. So like early January, February, 2020, I had a conversation because I knew she was preparing to defend her dissertation.
And I said, I want you to think about what comes next. What I noticed is that, you know, a lot of students and I did this too, to an extent like we get so focused on the end goal. Like, so you get so focused on defending your dissertation and graduating and then being hooded, um, and being at the ceremony and what is it gonna be like when you’re up there and your chair is hurting you, right? Like we put so much emphasis on that moment. We have so much fear and doubt and uncertainty about, can you even get to that moment? Can you even see the day where you’re going to be outside or in a zoom breakout room, waiting room, waiting for them to bring you back in and say, congratulations, doctor. And so people, so many people can get wrapped up in, like, I don’t even think that moment is going to happen.
So you want me to think about what comes after that moment? But here’s why, because when I do ask people, like, what are you, what is life like outside? Like when you’re done and you’re graduating, they’re like, oh, I’ve got to travel more. Especially when the outside opens back up, I’m going to, you know, I’m just going to be, I’m going to, I’m going to live. I’m going to just be with family. I’m going to date. I’m going to do all these things and I can get how that sounds like you’re being specific. But you’re, it’s not as granular as it needs to be. Right. Because your brain doesn’t know what that means, because let me tell you what will happen. You will get to graduation, guests, everyone listening. You’re going to get to your dissertation defense. You’re going to pass it. You got to graduate.
You’re going to have your regalia, you’re going to get hooded. Even if you and your living room and your mama had to hood you, you going to get hooded. But the moment won’t feel like you think it will. You like probably have dreamed, like fireworks are going off and it’s going to feel amazing. And I’m just going to have all the motivation to do all the things that I’m going to feel validated. And I won’t know, I would no longer feel like an imposter, but I, I don’t hate to be the bearer of bad news. I want to prepare you. It will feel so anti-climatic not that you won’t be proud of yourself. Not that you won’t, you know, celebrate, but it, you will be in the middle of the celebration being, having a thought similar to is this all there is, is this all there is, is this what I work so hard for everyone else around you are going, they’re going to be is static.
Everyone’s going to be calling you doctor. And you’re going to be like, who are they talking to? Ah, I’m still just here. And you may feel this sense of void. Like, what am I supposed to do? Now? You will start to realize like you have so much free time and your brain space is free because you’re not worried about writing and dissertating. And next week you’re going to hear from Dr. Katherine Cho, who also is a graduate of the finish your dissertation program. And she talks a lot about this as well. It’s like, it’s not that you’re not proud, but you just thought it was going to feel differently. And so I push my clients inside of the finish your dissertation program to really think about what’s going to come to after graduation, because that is what’s going to anchor you. And when I was having this conversation a year ago was Fatina.
I asked her like, what comes after? And she, you know, she says similar things like I’ve got to travel, it’s going to be great. I got all my stuff. I got a trip plan. I’m going to do this. I’m going to do that. And I was like, that’s great, but I need you to think about it in more detail. I need you to think about it. Like if somebody picked up your notebook that you journaled about what life would be like after graduation, they could go and replicate that for themselves. Like, that’s the level of detail. I want you to think about this in, I also told her and that conversation, that here’s what I’ve seen. And here’s what I’ve even experienced is that, you know, you, you go, you get to graduation and it’s more about when you pass your defense. So after you pass your defense and you turn everything into the grad school and it takes your body probably about a good month for it to settle in like, oh, I did this, it’s done.
Because for that month, you’re kind of going to be in a haze. You’re kind of going to be like a little bit disoriented. Like, what is I did it, but about a month later, your body will catch up. Or maybe it’s more like your body and your brain will catch up to each other to realize you’re done with this process. And then you will feel, it’s very common to feel a little bit low. I have the blues a little bit. And if you, if you’re like, what, I don’t believe you, I encourage you to do some Googling, some research, um, take it outside of higher education and take it like, go read about Olympic athletes or, you know, professional basketball or football players. They work so hard to get to the league. And let’s just use Olympic athletes. Like once they get the gold medal, they usually blow their lives up because they’ve been training and working for this goal since they were probably little and to finally achieve it, it’s like, oh, what’s next?
Like, it’s kinda like, your life feels like the purpose is gone because you achieve the goal that you thought was impossible. And so people, because they’re not prepared for that, they blow their lives up. That could be blowing relationships up. Maybe they start to dabble more in substance abuse. Maybe they start to just blow their money. I mean, there’s a lot of things. And so I’m not saying, nor am I wishing that on you. I’m just using it as an example to show you that it is very common and it does not just exist with the doctoral programs. So it’s very common to feel like a sense of blues after that first month and then your body, because it’s catching up, you probably will start to feel worse because now your brain has the capacity to pay attention to all the signals. Your body was giving you while you were working on your dissertation, but you probably push you.
Like, I just need to push through. I just need to get to the end, but now there’s nothing to push through. So your body’s like, Hey, Hey, Hey, my back it, your back hurts. So you probably need to go to physical therapy or yes, you probably put on some weight, you probably did just stress, stress, eating, whatever that looks like, right? You’re probably a hair probably like dry or brittle or whatever that may look like. I’m trying to think of other things that people talk about your relationships, your relationships might be a bit shrinking. You might be like, well, nobody calls me or talks to me and it’s not personal. It’s just that they got used to you being busy with your work with your school. And so you have to learn how to reenter relationships and reestablish a foundation in those relationships. And it could feel very challenging, like an uphill battle.
And Fatina was going through those things as well, decided to leave her, her job and pursue another job. And that, that also required her to move. And so I kept telling her, you need to take a break. You need to take a break. You’re going to graduate. You need to take a break. And this break legit probably needs to be about a month or two where you don’t, you’re not starting any new projects. You’re not saying yes to any new obligations or organizations. You just need a solid month or two to just be, because you don’t know what’s going to come up and you want to be able to have the space. But what people typically do is go straight into something else. And I get it that the timing sometimes doesn’t always work out, right? So maybe you have a job lined up right after graduation.
And you’re forced to go into that, right? That was my story. Or, you know, maybe you were already working full time and it’s just like, the pace of life is continue to go. But I will say as much as possible plan for you to have a break, to do nothing. And I legit mean nothing. Watch TV, hang out wherever you are. I mean, I know we’re still in a whole pandemic, but as much as possible, give yourself a break. Cause you’re going to need to do some serious care and wellness for yourself. What I have seen for the people who are, who are able to get through the transition more seamless is that they have a clear plan, not only for how to take care of themselves in that transition, but they have a plan about what their life will look like. I know that most people’s focus is like, I just need to make sure I have a job, but here’s what will happen.
If you don’t focus on what your life outside of work will look like, you will just go to the next position and still live your life. The life you lived as a graduate student. And you can see this. If you look around your program and you look at faculty, especially junior faculty, you will see what I’m saying. Most of them are still living the very life. They lived as grad student, except they got a couple of more dollars in their bank account. They’re still hustling, right? Because now it’s not about the pressure of graduating or definitive. The dissertation now is about the pressure to publish, to get to tenure. And you just replace the goal of your dissertation, the goal of tenure. And it is a, it is a, a hustle, or that’s not the word I’m looking for it, but it is a rat race.
Maybe that you just do over and over and over. Because when it’s not about tenure a day, it’s like, I want another promotion. Now. I want to be full professor. Now, when I go get this award, there’s always going to be a goal that you will, you want to achieve. And you keep saying, I’m going to put my life on hold until I get this goal. But what’s going to happen is you’re going to look up and you’re going to be like 50, 60 being like, where did my life go? When was the fun supposed to come in? And I’m asking you to be more intentional because you know, nobody’s going to come and be like, oh, I noticed that, you know, you didn’t put fun in your life. Let’s stop you right now and stop time. So you can plan. That’s me being ridiculous a little bit.
But my point is, there will never be a perfect time to start planning out what your life could look like. You have to make that time. You have to be the one that stops and allows yourself to dream what life looks like. So my question to you is what does your life look like after graduation? Where do you live? What type of home do you live in? What’s the weather? Like? What is the neighborhood like? What are the people like? What stores are around you when you wake up and you go through a typical week, what are you doing in a typical week? How many days are you dedicating to your job? How many days? Like how many hours are you dedicating to service and outside commitments? What is family time look like? What type of things or activities are you doing together with your family and your loved ones?
If you’re going to travel, where are you going to travel to? What are the first three places you’re going to go to? What type of hotels or resorts or exclusive islands? Cause I don’t know your life that you want to visit. How do you feel when you’re doing all of these things? What do you wear? What kind of clothes do you wear? What does your schedule look like? How do you feel every day when you wake up and you see what’s on your to-do list, how is your home decorated? That’s how granular you want to get. And the more that you allow yourself to do this, the more that you allow yourself to write this out or to talk it out because you cannot do this in your head. Let me repeat. You cannot do this in your head. It won’t be the same way, but your brain is very clear instructions on what to work on.
It has a clear instruction of, we just have to finish this dissertation. But if you leave everything else that comes after that up to chance, your brain will always go to the negative point of view. So what do all those things look like? Because when you hear the words, congratulations, doctor, and you graduate and you turn everything in and you graduate and it’s over and you get through that initials, you know, one or two month period of the blues, your brains wanna gonna want to know, okay, what’s next? What are we doing? And if you don’t, if you haven’t thought about that, it will be extremely challenging to think about it. Then it will be harder to think about it then. But she, Latina was like, no, I’m good. So we have this conversation, right? And she was like, I’m good. No, I’m fine. I got it.
I got a plan. So she defended February 17th, 2020. She did the things. She was celebrating wear the shirts did the photo shoot had her graduation moment. And then I want to say, we got to June, May or June. And I was like, you have to take a break because she kept trying to go. But I could see that she just didn’t have the capacity. She was tired. Right? Cause her body and the blues had caught up. And so I told her to take a month, I think, six week break. And she did nothing, but watch TV. She packed her apartment because she was moving. She spent time with family. She enjoyed life. She think about a dissertation. She didn’t think about publishing. She didn’t think about any of that. She’d just enjoy life. And when she came back, you can see the difference. I’m not saying it was like 100% overnight, but you could see a difference.
And she was more receptive to the conversation of what comes next, next what’s happening. Next. She was able to get a new job. We started talking about, you want to get into consulting work? How can we, what’s an easy transition to get there. She started talking to a few people here about doing some work for them. She got a couple of inquiries, but she was also scared. And I, I can’t wait for her to come on this podcast to talk more about that. But she was scared of like what that could mean. So it just decided that she would just focus on her new job and do that. And we’ll continue to have the conversation about her, her business. And now we’re a year removed from dissertating. Cause it took a good solid year for her to start to feel like normal again, or a sense of normalcy, I would say because we’re still in a whole pandemic.
And in December, yes. In December of last year I had a team meeting because she’s on my team and had a team meeting and we were doing goal setting. And I told everyone that they needed to set an impossible goal for 2021. And an impossible goal means that it’s a goal. So big for you to try to accomplish in a 12 month time period, that there’s no way that you could accomplish it. And the purpose of that is it’s not so much about if you accomplish the impossible goal, it’s more about who is the person you have to become in order to achieve that goal. And so in that meeting, I can’t remember what goals she came up with. I just remember being like, that’s not the real goal. If you work with me, that’s something you need to know. I will tell you that often, like you will tell me something that you want to do.
And my response nine times out of 10 is going to be, that’s not the real thing. Tell me the real one, because I find that people underestimate what they’re able to do and it’s well, my period, and I think she said something like, oh, I want to really get going on this business. And I want to make, you know, 30,000 or something like that to pay off debt. And I said, that’s not your real goal. That’s not your real goal. How about a hundred thousand? Yes, yes. I said, yes, that’s going to be our goal for 2021. You are going to make a hundred thousand dollars in your business, separate from the pay you have and your job you’re going to do that. Of course you looked at me like I had two heads, but I don’t care. And she let it sit. She, she rejected it in the beginning, but it’s all right. I’m, I’m willing to be patient with y’all cause I’m willing to hold belief because I know you can do things that you think you can’t do is I’m willing to hold belief until you come around and see it my way, because that’s the only option.
That’s me as a coach, if you were curious, but now we are in February and I want to say she has probably she’s somewhere in the 10 to 20,000 mark. If I’m not, if I’m not mistaken in terms of sales and revenue, we only in February, y’all, she’s about to hit her goal that she originally set for the whole year. And she’s about to hit that before we get out of the first three months of the year, that’s the power of being very clear on what you want, being very clear on what that’s going to look like.
And the, I hope that this story demonstrates that you don’t have to have it all figured out at once. And this is why I’m saying, start to think about what is your life look like? And it’s not about the money. I want to be very clear. It’s not about the money. What setting these high goals around money does for you is because we’re so let me back up. We’re socialized in this capitalistic society to, to focus on money. And especially when you are graduating, right? One of the first things you think about for a job is how much they’re going to pay. And my thing is you have brilliance, everyone listening to this, you are brilliant. You are very capable of doing whatever it is that you want to do. But we have been conditioned not to dream outside of the box that society has put us in.
We meaning like we have been socialized to not dream outside of a nine to five because we have all these stories about money and all these stories about what it means to be in business. But if you allow yourself to dream, if you’ll end dreaming is just simply, like I’m saying in this episode, allow yourself to dream of what life could look like after graduation, you will be surprised what comes up and the more that you can allow yourself to dream and go granular with that. You were probably yourself when it starts to happen a few months later. No, I don’t know if y’all know real [inaudible] law of attraction, all those things. Cause it works. When you write the vision and make it plain y’all we need to go biblical. It will happen. What’s more impactful though, is the person you have to become to make those things happen.
That was not about the money per se, because most of you probably don’t even know what you would do with an extra hundred thousand dollars. You’d probably be like, I would do this. I would pay off loans. I would do that. But like, what would it mean to have a hundred thousand dollars just sitting in your bank account? And I want you to pay attention to what came up when I said that, what thoughts instantly popped up in your head with fears instantly popped up in your head? Or did you just completely dismiss me when I said that, because that’s an indication of the work you have to do while you’re working towards graduation. That’s the work you have to do. That’s the things you want to focus on. Those are the things you want to answer because first Latina, yeah, she was like, what?
I don’t even know, but now she’s committed. She’s like, I don’t, she still is like, I don’t know how to it’s a hundred thousand dollars is going to work, but I’m committed to the, to this process. I’m committed to becoming a person who can do that in the amount of change that I’ve seen in just the past couple of months has been mind blowing, how she has shown up for herself. Like just how she shows up for herself, how she advocates for herself, how she has practiced courage to go deep in her mind and think about all of like the insecurities and the stories that she has about money that doesn’t serve her. She’s been willing to talk that out. She’s been willing to tell more people that she has services to offer. When just a few months ago, she wouldn’t even tell anybody on social media. She wouldn’t even tell her closest friends and family. Now she’s telling people and she’s getting clients and she’s enjoying it. She’s enjoying it. And that has radiated to her life. Beyond her job in business, her relationships look different with her family. She even got a new boo y’all because just putting yourself out that like focusing on you, her clothes are different. Okay? It’s not about material things. It’s about who is the person after graduation, these things matter. Who will you be after graduation?
What does it mean to be doctor for yourself is she has all planned and I cannot wait to see who she is and December 31st, 2021. And I’m sharing this part of her story because I’m hoping that it inspires you at the very least to just start to think about what could life be outside of graduation? What could that even look like? Who am I when I’m no longer a grad student? Because the heart, the reason why the transition is so challenging is because one day you are a grad student under grind, writing your dissertation, right? Complain about the faculty in the program, just trying to push through. And then the next day everybody’s calling you doctor, you get to put the letters in your email signature, but you also have lost your identity as a student, which if you think about it, you’ve been a student for a very long time, but you lose the identity of a student.
And that way, as a graduate student, you lose that community that you had in your program. Even if you like, I don’t like them hoes. It doesn’t matter. You were still a part of the community. It was a part of, it was a deep part of your identity to be a grad student in a doc program overnight that changes and your brain is like, okay, but who are we now? And if you haven’t given yourself enough time to think about it, it doesn’t happen to answer. And so it was just going to continue to spin out. And so to help yourself through that is to start thinking about it. Now, what do you want your life to look like? And if you don’t want anything to change from what it is right now, that’s fine too. That’s fine. But just decide that on purpose, nothing’s happening to you.
You’re making decisions. I’m asking you to decide on purpose, what you want your life to be, be like Latina. Be like Dr. J 2.0, practice, courage, practice, courage to think about what comes after practice courage to allow yourself to dream bigger than you ever thought. Whether that’s a business, whether that’s something else, practice courage. And if you need some help with this, and you’re ready to think about this and take the next step. I invite you to come inside of qual scholars. It’s a comprehensive program that will take you from finishing a dissertation, starting your consulting business and having so much joy and peace in your life. That’s what I want to help you do. So the link is in the show notes for you to join. And I hope to see you on the inside. That’s going to be all for now and talk to you next week. In the meantime, do something to show yourself some love. Bye for now. Thank you for joining
In for today’s office hours. If you’re ready to take this work to the next level, I invite you to join the happy free and pay collective. We will show you how to finish your dissertation and build your consulting business, using the skills and knowledge you already possess. Come on over to Marvette lacy.com and let’s get started. I’ll see you on the inside of the collective bye for now.