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I dropped out of my Ph.D. program to chase sunsets...

Updated: Jul 4, 2021

Yes, you read that right - I, a first-generation doctoral student am saying goodbye to the busy life of being in a doctoral program to chase sunsets.

Some may be thinking, "Wow, she has really lost her mind! She dropped out of UC Berkeley to chase sunsets? WHAT!? Quarantine has gotten to her!"

Haha! But in all honestly, I promise that I am better off chasing sunsets that bring me pure joy than sitting through three hour virtual lectures at a time that bring me sadness and dread. You see, for as long as I can remember, I have always dreaded going to class. Something about the hierarchy and the institutional structure of higher education just really rubs me the wrong way - maybe we can talk more about this some other time because trust me, I have a lot of opinions on this topic 😅.

"So why did I decide to dropout of UC Berkeley?"

To be honest, I had internalized that in order to be successful I needed to go to school and graduate...not just with my two bachelor degrees, but with my masters and one day my doctorate. I had internalized this belief so much so that when I spoke the words that I wanted to dropout, I felt guilty. Not because I was not smart enough or even capable enough to finish my doctoral degree and become Dr. Sandra, but because I was scared of disappointing my family, my mentors, my friends, and all the people I had told that I was going to be Dr. Sandra one day. You see, what got me through my degrees was the FEAR of disappointing others not a passion for what I was studying or what my future would look like after I attained my degrees. The bottom line is that I was living life from a perspective of fear...fear of disappointing, fear of not being enough, fear of not doing enough, and fear of not living up to the expectations that have been placed on me by others. I know I can attain my doctoral degree, I know I am capable, and I know I am enough, but the reality now is that I want to create a life I love with love, and unfortunately being a doctoral student in this moment does not align with my goals...the goals and vision I have created for myself by myself. So goodbye UC Berkeley, I am honored I had the opportunity to be a doctoral student. Peace-out✌🏼.

"So what about chasing sunsets? Are you really going to abandon everything that you have learned and been training to do for the past eight years and chase the sun? How will you survive?"

Well the answers to all of these questions are simple. I trust that my life of chasing sunsets will unfold for me. You see, I have been learning through countless self-help books, podcasts, random TikTok and YouTube videos, and my intuition that I have the power to create the life I want. Creating the life that I want comes with trusting, feeling, embodying, and taking action to manifest it. I know it isn't going to come to life if I keep it deep in my thoughts and not ACT on it... which is why I am here, writing this blog during my random adventure living in Pennsylvania with my cousin - sitting in our furniture-less apartment drinking my coffee and eating my Wegmans bakery treats. Believe it or not, we get to create the life we want. For the longest time I thought I wanted to be a professor so I focused on creating that reality for myself, but the more I stayed on that path the more I learned that I dreaded doing the readings, I dreaded facilitating class, and I dreaded going to school. I was merely convincing myself that pursuing that path was what I wanted for several false and limiting reasons such as:

  1. Financial Stability - I am going to be ballin' ($$$) when I become a professor - ha, when was the lat time you looked up what your professor makes annually? Have you ever heard the saying, "Do what you love and the money will follow?" Well, I am trusting that if I do what I love, financial abundance will follow. I am unlearning the limiting beliefs about money I have been programed to believe and creating a healthy relationship around money as an energy currency (more on this later).

  2. Believing that I have to accomplish big things to make my family proud - The reality is that my family will always be proud of me because they love me unconditionally.

  3. The notion of "Success": I am finally going to be successful - Girlllll, I am already SUCCESSFUL - I don't need a degree to define my success.

  4. I need to be Dr. Sandra to make my parents sacrifices of migrating to this country worth it - This is the biggest lie, I know my parents love me unconditionally and all they want for me is to be happy and I am happy.

These limiting beliefs were keeping me in the path of pursuing my doctoral degree from a fear-based foundation. Again, I was convincing myself that this was the life I wanted, so I put in a lot of thought in trying to make that my reality. However, as I went through the motions I learned that it was not making me happy, I was not feeling fulfillment - rather I was feeling dread. It took being in quarantine, moving to South Dakota only to move to Pennsylvania to be by myself and with myself most of the day to realize that school is no longer for me. And you know what? That is OKAY! No one and no-ones expectations of me are taking hold of my life. I am choosing to takeover the steering wheel and drive myself into my dream life of chasing sunsets.

"So what do you mean when you say 'chasing sunsets'?"

Simple. I LOVE SUNSETS. I love the sky PERIOD. Haha! If you know me, you know that I can spend countless hours staring into the sky and feel so cathartic and literally in LOVE. It fills me with pure emotions, satisfaction, love, happiness, and appreciation that I GET to experience that sky - everyday. The sky is magical to me. It is a once in a lifetime sky-view and we get to experience that everyday, whether it is sunny, rainy, or cloudy...the sky is full of beauty and as of right now, I know that this is a sure thing that brings me joy. So catch me outside chasing sunsets <3.

To be honest with you. I was under the belief that my longtime dream of chasing the sun was too "extra" - you know, like if someone were to ask me, "What I do for a living?" and I would respond with "Oh, I chase sunsets" only to be told that it is not a real job. Yeah, well I was afraid of that. We are taught that our dreams are not worth chasing if they do not benefit or contribute to society in some way. To chase our dreams means that we are failing as citizens of our communities. But this is all so false. These are limiting beliefs that I am currently on a journey of unlearning. My dream is to chase sunsets and I have been keeping this precious dream quiet inside of me for far too many years. But today is the day that I set my dreams out into the universe to bring them to life. The pure joy I feel in my body and the fullness of happiness I feel that makes me want to burst into tears is my body communicating with me that I need to follow the sun. I may not know exactly why I feel this way at this exact moment, but I trust that this is the step I am supposed to be taking. I trust that by listing to my body and my intuition that love, abundance, adventures, and countless sunsets will unfold into my reality.

So to make a long answer short - chasing sunsets is what I am dedicating the next year of my life too. Not just to photograph and post them on my Instagram and Snapchat, but to learn to be present, to learn to appreciate the simple beauty that we are all surrounded by, to be present and connect to my highest self, and to do my inner-soul work. So I invite you to stick around on my journey of creating and embodying the life I want for the next year. Join me as we learn more about the spiritual world together. Who knows, maybe our paths are meant to cross for a reason.

With gratitude and sunlight,


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