Class 38: “On Getting Your Doctorate Degree Before Marriage” (Part 1)

Today, we are continuing the study titled, ON GETTING YOUR DOCTORATE DEGREE BEFORE MARRIAGE.

— Let’s Pray —

Allow me to begin with a quote from Nelson Mandela. He said, “A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special.”

Now, please pull out your text and your digital study guide or follow along on the screen. First, I will read the entire corresponding letter from the book, Letters to Young Black Women. Then we will proceed with this lesson:

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Dear Daughters & YBW:

I trust that you are being blessed today.

I want to make a strong suggestion to you, a suggestion that I am sure will raise some eyebrows. And that is: Get your Doctorate Degree in some field that you love and in which you are especially gifted before you marry, if that is the Lord’s will for your life.

Now, you know, I believe that people who desire to get married ought to marry young if possible. But young in my book is 25 or 26 years old, and believe it or not, you can obtain your Doctorate by that age, if you apply yourself.

Now before you get scared, let me say here that this is just a strong suggestion. If God wants you to marry before then, that will be O.K. too. But I think you will be better off, and happier, if you follow my advice.

Here are some of the benefits for you if you follow this suggestion:

1. You can concentrate on and focus on your studies without distraction. (By the way, if possible, I would encourage you to not even work a job while in college.)

2. If you are pursuing a Doctorate Degree in a certain field, you will be running with bright and wise people — those who are going in the same direction as you are. God may very well have you to meet someone special in that group. Even if you don’t meet that special someone, you will meet many good people, and make friends that will last a lifetime.

3. You will grow so much in that strange period between the ages of 17 and 25 or 26, and the gaining of a good, solid, strong education will only enhance that period and certainly the rest of your life.

4. As a female, if you choose to have a career, I believe having a Doctorate in your field gives you more options, and will allow you to obtain a good paying job that will let you have more control over your schedule and the environment in which you work. In other words, you won’t have to take jobs that would be distasteful to you, or that would compromise the principles by which you live.

Just consider it and see how the Lord may lead you.

Yours for Higher Education,

Papa

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A Doctoral degree is the highest level of education one can attain in life. Similar to degree levels before it, it takes an extra amount of dedication, commitment, and focus on details. Anyone who has completed a higher level program of study will tell you that the journey is not easy, but it is worth it in terms of getting to one’s destination and realizing the vast number of opportunities and potential that exist in the world. Many people allow opportunities to pass them by simply because they don’t have the knowledge in the heads and in their hearts to open to good opportunities when they come walking through the door.

Here are some suggestions to keep in mind when pursuing your Doctoral degree:

1. There is no right time to get a doctoral degree.

Like anything worthwhile in life, the right time is always now. Too many people wait for perfect conditions to arrive in order to move forward on their goals and dreams. The problem with this is that the perfect time never really comes. You have to figure out the best time for you individually and then go and pursue it.

Hearing the stories of other women who have earned their doctorate degrees can be helpful, but only you can decide what fits your career, goals, and life ambitions. You can take exploratory courses before committing to a doctoral program. You can head straight from your masters degree to your doctoral program (or with many educational institutions, from your bachelor’s degree program to a doctoral program). Or, if you need to, you can wait a year or two between degree programs. Whatever you do, get started somewhere. If you wait for the perfect time and the perfect conditions, you will never get your doctorate.

2. When it’s time to study, overcome distractions and study.

Getting your doctoral degree before marriage will give you more time to study distraction-free. But you also need to be undistracted in other ways.

You may have been here before. You sit down to study for a major exam and then ten minutes into study time, your phone goes off with a text message from a friend who wants to know if you’re available to go to the movies on Friday night. After exchanging ten text messages with her filled with information not related to the movies and punctuated with emoticons, you realize twenty minutes have gone by. You put your phone down and then get back to studying. Ten minutes into study time again, you get the overwhelming urge to check your Twitter timeline, and while you’re at it, your Facebook news-feed. And there goes another 20 minutes. You only intended to spend a minute or two on both, but there goes nearly an hour of supposed study time taken up with other things.

Far too many people let this type of scenario play out in their lives. However, there are tips you can follow to overcome distractions and get your work done. First, turn off the phone or put it on vibrate. Put the phone face down so you can’t see text messages pop up. Second, disconnect from the internet (You know what I mean, you intend to do research, but you can find yourself or someone else more easily on Instagram or Youtube), so shut it off and focus on the books and papers in front of you. Third, ask people around you to be quiet or go to a place where you can have quiet time. Fourth, prioritize your tasks and complete each one fully before moving to the next one. Fifth, treat time like money. If you would fight off a person who is trying to steal your money, be just as protective of your time. Don’t let people or activities (like checking social media) rob you of time that could be well-spent studying.

3. Don’t treat doctoral work like your previous years of education.

One of my professors once told me that doctoral work is more of an experience than school or work. At the end of this experience, you will have proven to your peers, colleagues, employers, and people in general that you are a person who has a certain level of knowledge. But beyond that, you have a higher level of commitment, dedication, determination, perseverance, and sticktuitiveness to think, analyze, reason, and complete tasks in order to reach a big goal.

Finishing doctoral work is a major accomplishment. However, you cannot treat it exactly the same as previous educational experience. Writing up dissertations well enough to pass the peer review committee demands intensive, undistracted labor at times when you would rather be doing something else. Reading all the related textbooks and journals takes devotion, and an unheralded vow to give up what you want now to get what you really want in the future. You’re not paying just for an education; you’re paying for the experience. If you treat a doctoral program like a 9-5 job, research shows you’ll take seven or more years to finish or may end up ABD (all but dissertation).

William Feather said, “Education: being able to differentiate between what you do know and what you don’t. It’s knowing where to go to find out what you need to know; and it’s knowing how to use the information once you get it.”

In our next class, we will continue our study, “ON GETTING YOUR DOCTORATE DEGREE BEFORE MARRIAGE”.
—LET’S PRAY—

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Now, like many of you, I grew up in a very religious and church-going family, and during that time, I often heard the phrase “Being Saved.” Now, much of what church people said “being saved” was back then especially, in my community, is wrong according to the Bible. I wrote an article about it titled “On ‘Being Saved’ in Black America” which is available for you to read free of charge on our website, gospellightsociety.com. Right now, I want to share with you very briefly what the Bible says “being saved” really is.

First, understand that you need to be saved because you are a sinner. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, understand that a horrible punishment — eternal Hell — awaits those who are not saved. In Matthew 25:41, Jesus Christ said that God will say to those who are not saved, “depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

Third, realize that God loves you very much and wants to save you from Hell. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you want to be saved from Hell and be guaranteed a home in Heaven, simply believe in Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose from the dead for your sins, and then call upon Him in prayer and ask Him to save your soul. And believe me, He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” That is the most important decision you will ever make.

God bless you and keep you until we meet for our next class.