Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Year End Gratitude and Goal Setting for 2014!

Celebrating 2013 and looking forward to 2014!
The end of the year seems to be a perfect time to reflect on accomplishments of the past and set goals for the future. It is also a great time for expressing gratitude to people in our lives who serve as reminders of how connected we all really are. Interestingly, social media played a big part of feeling more human connection despite critics who believe otherwise.  One great example of this was a recent visit to the home of Doctora Nelly Cardinale, who is currently featured in our Galeria de Doctoras Latinas and shared her dissertation defense story (click here to read Nelly's post).  She is someone I met on Facebook who has been so encouraging to me.  It was surreal to have connected online for many months and then finally have the opportunity for our families to meet in person.
The Cardinale Family hosts the Pertuz Family December 2013
I am grateful for being open to trying new things and allowing the unexpected to happen in support of my goals. I have been trying to finish my dissertation to earn my doctorate for quite some time, and I almost gave up. I was surprised at my own negative thoughts – so unlike me.  I consider myself a problem solver, not a quitter. I would recognize a problem and take actions toward a solution, even if that means reaching out for help. How I reached out for help was unusual for me and what happened next was so much better than I expected. 

I never thought I would become a blogger, but it seemed necessary when in a moment of desperation, trying to find some online support in my dissertation process, I started Googling “Latinas” and “doctorates” and what came up were mostly pornography sites. I was surprised by the idea that the top online associations with the word “Latina” would not yield the scholarly and professional aspects of who we are. That was when I decided to start this blog and share my Latina doctoral journey. I guess I should have been using Google Scholar because there I did later find scholarly articles (very few) about Latina doctoral experiences. Knowing that others were reading it, responding and sending me encouragement was so motivating that I got moving and I am on my way to defending my dissertation proposal soon and will collect data shortly after that.  I can see my doctorate in my near future and I am not giving up.  I am so grateful to my faculty at Seton Hall University for their ongoing support.

I got such positive responses from this blog that it also led me to consider the bigger picture of Latinas Completing Doctoral Degrees.  So I started a Facebook group by suggestion from one of my sister scholars, Sherlene Ayala who is on her own doctoral journey and who shared her own perspective as a guest blogger (click here read Sherlene's blog entry). I also had my beautiful sister Cindy Bautista-Thomas share the beginning of her doctoral journey (click here to read Cindy's blog entry).

I discovered firsthand that there is something really powerful about sharing your struggles and even more powerful when others begin to share similar ones – and together, we begin to form a circle of solidarity and support.

If I learned nothing else this year, the most powerful message I received was that NOTHING IS MORE POWERFUL THAN COMMUNITY and we cannot accomplish great things without a strong network backing us up. 

I thank Doctora Angelica Perez, founder of the Ella Leadership Institute for planting the blogger seed in me by allowing me to share my thoughts on her blog back in September 2012 (click here for article), for agreeing to serve on my dissertation committee and for reminding Latinas to Think Big!

In my blogging journey I also found the Latina Researchers Network founded by Doctora Silvia Mazzula and I am happy to say that I will be joining them in their efforts to encourage Latinas and other underrepresented scholars to thrive by mentoring each other and inspiring a new generation of scholars.

Finally, I am always grateful for my family who unconditionally offer me their unwavering love and support in all that I do. Not for one second do I take this for granted.  I am here because of them and for them always.  I thank my husband, artist Antonio Pertuz www.latinationdesigns.com and my children Ariana and Joaquin for being so patient with their Mami while she fulfills her goals.  What they don’t realize now is how much better their lives will be once I’m finally PhinisheD (#seewhatIdidthere). 

Gracias to all of the amazing people in my life who inspire me and support me – too many to name, but they know who they are.  Please continue to join me on what has now become a movement on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/LatinasCompletingDoctoralDegrees/  and www.latinaresearchers.com to increase Latina doctoral recipients and scholarship.

So excited for what 2014 will bring!  Happy New Year!!!