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If you could go back in time and give your younger self one piece of academic or professional advice, what would it be?

If I could go back in time, I would tell myself to not be negatively influenced by people who do not value academic pursuits. I remember when I was about to graduate from college for my B.A. I was a single mother with two children. I had struggled considerably to accomplish this goal. In addition to attending classes full time, I also held down two part-time jobs and took care of my two girls. Near the end of my senior year, I made the decision that I would need to obtain my Master's in order to be fully prepared for the field of work I wanted to pursue. Through all of this I discovered that my eldest child had a learning disability and my studies and my motherly instincts placed me firmly on a mission. I was not going to allow another child and parent to go through what I went through to get the appropriate services for my child. Many people in my circle fought me--or at least if they didn't fight, they surely didn't offer any support. It was not easy. I did stick it out and obtained my Master's. Shortly thereafter though, my energy level began to wane and I failed to follow through to complete other requirements such as licensing in my state, etc. I was able to get a job in my field, but my career and ultimately my goal to advocate for more children and parents could have been much more effective if I had not allowed myself to be negatively influenced by the naysayers.