By “journey,” Facey-Walker and her friends mean both the expected and the unexpected. There was the challenge, for example, of finding a research chair to guide each of them through the process. There was the challenge of defending their dissertations, which ended up being less taxing than expected. As Facey-Walker puts it, “We thought defending was going to be the hardest part, and it actually was not. It was, for us, the easiest part, and I guess that’s because we present all the time at our jobs.”
Then there were the challenges that life presented outside of the classroom. And while these included missed dance recitals and family gatherings, those were just the beginning.
Myla, for example, suffered a miscarriage at the start of the program. She later became pregnant and carried the baby, her second son, to term.
Myla recalls: “We had a big project that was due one night, and when I went to the hospital, they were like, ‘You’re having the baby today.’ And I’m like, ‘No! I have an assignment that’s due!’”
Her friends stepped in and made sure she had what she needed to get it turned in on time.
After the birth, Myla suffered postpartum depression and insomnia. But in true friendship, Mayers and Facey-Walker supported her through that journey, doing whatever was needed to help her feel like herself again. She also underwent a divorce before eventually finding love again.
Mayers, meanwhile, required a hysterectomy after years of medical difficulties, including the discovery of precancerous cells.
And Facey-Walker faced her own tough challenge: She was diagnosed with cancer during her doctorate program. After surgery, she needed to step away from school to, as she puts it, reset, and her friends did the same in solidarity. “We did everything together,” Facey-Walker says.