Your status will be changed to “Dismissed” on July 17, 2012……

June 3, 2012

On July 17, 2006, I was admitted to a doctoral program at Nova Southeastern University.  At that point in my life I was winding down my lobbying business and was a finalist for a “C” level role at a prominent local health care facility.  I remember telling my wife the shelf life for these type senior roles was 3 – 5 years and I wanted to be prepared to transition to life in academia as an exit strategy. I already had a MBA/MHA and was hoping a DBA would cement my future allowing me to teach or consult as I walked off into the sunset of my career. 

                                  During the 6 years while I was studying for the DBA:

  • I wasn’t offered the “C” level job I thought was a slam dunk
  • My finances went into a tailspin since most of my clients were affected by the sinking economy
  • I lost my home of 15 years since the “equity” I thought I had disappeared like sand through my fingers
  • Sent my daughter off to college to Los Angeles without the financial resources to support her
  • Moved my wife and youngest daughter into a 1,000 square foot apartment – 3,500 feet smaller than what they were used to
  • Spent 18 months underemployed – teaching college classes when available
  • Was on unemployment – something I thought I would never have to do
  • Started a new career – reinventing oneself is easier said than done
  • My marriage survived.  Thanks to the omnipresent Grace of my Lord and my God and the wonderful support of my brothers and sisters of our Emmaus Group
  • And kept a 3.75 GPA throughout the entire DBA program leading up to the last course required

And that’s when the wheels fell off this armored truck I had been driving for the past 6 years…. The last course was offered by an instructor that exemplifies the frustrated academician – without a life outside of the ivory tower.  I’ve tried not to sound like my 12 year old daughter whining about teachers she dislikes.  The difference is I have a classmate that could not believe the obvious discrimination and badgering this instructor showed towards me.  After all was said and done, she gave me a failing grade based on capricious and subjective grading.  After 6 years of doctorate level statistics, operations theory, logistical planning and qualitative and quantitative analysis – she flunks me on the simplest course on organizational theories…

The Nova program has a 6 year window – concluding on July 17, 2012. The failing grade, my first since kindergarten – puts me in academic probation.  Typically you have one year to retake the class and get out of probation.  But since the program window ends this July 17th,  I cannot retake, so….. I received a letter stating:

                             Your status will be changed to “Dismissed” on July 17,  2012……

I’ve blogged about God’s Perfect Plan.  And how difficult it is to discern what he wants from us.  But this is a really difficult pill to swallow.  I’m trying not to let my ego show its ugly face – On one side I’m pissed and defiant, on anther I’m embarrassed, on another I’m depressed and yet on another side I am very, very confused.  

I know God want us all to be successful and joyful and for our lives to be bountiful.  I also know a Catholic life does not call for us to be patsies in the face of adversity or obstacles. I will pursue all administrative and legal options left to me.  But what a body blow to my plans. I hate the fact that I will have to spend positive energy and very limited financial resources on litigation.

                                                                 But what else to do……?


Off to the circus…. we love you… we will pray and worry, and pray and worry some more…but will be proud of you every step of the way….

May 19, 2012

Yes, I know, prayer and worrying shouldn’t go hand in hand….But for those whose children are flying off on their own fully understand this paradox. ….I always had a feeling my oldest daughter was like a round peg in a square hole while studying at one of the best all girl prep schools in Florida….  I felt the same while she went to a top 50 US university in LA then to a master’s program rated one of the top 3 in the world…. 

My daughter has a split personality that amazes me. She is an academic on one hand; performing complicated research and landing at the top of her class….while at the same time seeking to perform and display her creative side in the most interesting and unusual art forms…. During her prep high school years she excelled at musical theater. The classic triple threat:  singing, dancing and acting. We sent her to London, Salamanca and New York to train in the top venues in her field.  In New York she fell in love with circus performing.  She graduated from prep school, went to LA to one of the best film schools in the world and proceeded to graduate with a bachelor degree in archeology…  Yes, it’s a wonder her mom and I don’t have whiplash from her ongoing career changes!  She found a local circus group and performed as a contortionist while going to school.  Those were the longest 4 years of our life – but she got through it, as did we. 

Back in Miami, I got her into one of the most prestigious marine archaeologist masters programs in the world.  She achieved 5 different degrees of high level diving certifications and completed her course work.  Now I realize she excelled in prep school, college and a master’s program probably because of my pressure and my selfish reasons…. All along she dreamt of being a circus performer.   So right after passing her final masters class, she announced to her mother and me that she was heading back to LA in less than a month to join a circus troupe fulltime.   

Her mom is convinced she won’t be back soon.  I tell her if that is the case it’s because she is successful in what she chose to do. If her artistic dreams do not meet her expectations, she will always have a great education to fall back on.   However, that won’t do much to alleviate the helplessness and fears her mom and I will feel while she tries her hand at something that is so foreign to us. 

We are people of faith and know the Lord has her in His Hands.  But as we lie awake at night wondering how she is doing so far away, I will always remember my little girl hugging me and telling me as I fail to hold off my tears……it will be OK papa, I will always love you both….you and mami taught me well…  

And off she goes to the circus….as I pray and worry and worry and pray some more…but always proud of my baby girl…..I love you too….