Candace Hall was treated to a sweet surprise after handing in her dissertation. The 31-year-old mom of three handed in her work at Maryville University.
When she finished, she was surprised to find her kids there. Her 4-year-old, 6-year-old, and 7-year-old were doing the floss dance to 1K Phew’s song “We Did It.” Afterward, they picked up signs celebrating their mom’s big accomplishment. The signs read “I love you, Mom!” “We did it!” and “Dr. Mom.”
“I was pleasantly surprised. Not many people can effectively surprise me but they did. And it was just a joy to celebrate that moment with me,” Candace said of her kids’ sweet gesture.
“They saw me when I started the process, and then for them to see me finish, it was a blessing.”
Candace has spent two years working toward her doctorate. Her dissertation examined the factors that contribute to job satisfaction in academia, especially among faculty of color. While working on it, she also worked full-time as an academic program coordinator at Washington University in St. Louis, while crushing it as a wife and a mom.
“There are times where it’s overwhelming and I’m like, I think about this too much. I have to balance way too much, I have to give up something,” Candace recalled to InsideEdition.com. “It was really important to just sit down and prioritize what was important to me. And then also to understand this would not be a permanent thing … like things that I would be sacrificing.”
Through careful planning and with the love and support of her family, Candace was able to make her dreams come true. She has advice for anyone else looking to do the same. “My advice would be to write down your goals, what you see yourself doing and then put it up somewhere so that you see it and it’s a reminder why you’re doing this. So that in those days, it feels impossible and you feel like giving up, you can remember why you started.”
Candace will enjoy her hooding ceremony and graduation in spring 2020. She’s looking forward to her kids seeing what all her hard work amounted to. “I just hope my kids remember this when they get older and they feel like, ‘Oh, I can’t do it.’ I hope they look back to this moment, like, ‘Look what Mom did,’” she said.
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