The Challenge of Success – Dr. Jean

As a triple minority, I truly started from humble beginnings. My parents emigrated from Haiti to the United States in search of the promises that this country had to offer. I was raised in the inner city of Miami-Dade County, where I learned valuable survival skills. My surroundings were not always positive, but I wanted to shift the narrative of the bleak outcomes that were attached to children raised in such disenfranchised communities. Thus, I decided early on to defy the odds and excel academically. I always had a passion for learning and genuinely enjoyed the world of academia.

Dr. Jean
Dr. Ocxanne Jean

However, my journey has not been a walk in the park. There were and are still numerous mountains that I must climb. There were many dark days along the way. I had my first child my sophomore year of college, and so many people counted me out and doubted that I would continue pursuing my bachelor’s degree. Instead of giving into negativity, I believed in the mantra, “peace is a journey of a thousand miles and it must be taken one step at a time” (Johnson). Thus, I continued to press forward one step at time and worked even harder with the goal of creating a better life for my child. I worked full-time and attended classes. Consequently, with persistence and hard work, I managed to graduate on time and earn a bachelor’s degree. I also realized that I could earn a graduate degree as well.

My educational journey included many nights of staying up until 2am working on an assignment or studying for an exam. I sometimes had to miss precious moments in my child’s life. Everything was a blur. I missed out on hanging out with friends, traveling, and simply enjoying life while pursuing my education. Essentially, the road to earning my doctorate was not easy, but I did it. My unwavering faith in God and unparalleled gumption helped me to persevere. I never set out to earn a doctorate degree, but it was always part of God’s plan.

My educational journey was filled with moments of uncertainty, lack of support, and many overwhelming trials. I know many FNU students are facing similar obstacles and challenges. These shared experiences allow me to sympathize with my students and fuels me as an educator. I want these students to know that they are not alone and having a teacher who understands where you are coming from can have a major impact. We all have a path to follow, but you do not always have to walk that path alone. I share my story to encourage students to believe in themselves and acknowledge that they have the power to define their journey. A student can accomplish any goal, but they must commit wholeheartedly to doing the hard work. They must understand that anything worth achieving is not going to be easy. There will be challenges, but they must remain steadfast and make sacrifices. As for me, “I took the road less travelled by and that has made all the difference” (Frost).

Dr. Ocxanne Jean
(Dr. Jean)
Job Title
Department Head of Reading and English
Florida National University