The valley

Isaiah 40:4
Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low:
and the crooked shall be made straight,
and the rough places plain. KJV

We all go through periods of being in the valley, this was the essence of the sermon preached at church by Sis Anita on Sunday.

My blog came to mind while listening to the sermon and I decided to use this metaphor for today’s post, with the hope that someone will find it encouraging while on their academic journey.

We all go through periods in our academic journey when we encounter challenges, problems and difficult situations.

During these times the future seems bleak. There is no immediate solution to the problem. The barrier seems rigid and fixed and we feel stuck, we may even become overwhelmed.  These are the situations I refer to as being in the valley of academia.

I can recall a time during my PhD journey when I was in the valley.  I had contacted the National Research Committee.  At the same time I was applying for ethical approval for my study.

For a moment I felt unstoppable. Drunk on excitement and naivety of believing the organisation would agree that my study was innovative, pioneering and would support my research.

Well, how wrong was I!  I was startled by the reply I received from the National Research Committee.  They literally discredited my methodology and suggested I applied a comparative approach to include white women as part of my sample.

Their recommendation was a surprise since my study was exploring the experience of black women.  I explained this to the committee on two separate occasions. They still refused to endorse my study if white women were not included in the sample.

I was angry and devastated because the whole purpose of my study was to focus on black women’s experience.

Sojourner Truth’s famous speech “Ain’t I a woman?” and the stories of the Underground Railroad pierced through my emotional bubble and thrust me into concerted action.

Where there is a will, there is a way. I had will and drive and I was determined to find my way out of this valley.

I will share ‘my way’ in my next post.

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