In this episode, Dr. Carol M. Swain, an American political scientist and legal scholar, joined the Doc and the Block podcast to discuss how she overcame her difficult childhood and early years to become successful.
Swain grew up in poverty in a dysfunctional home that was plagued by alcoholism, and she was the second of twelve children in her family. Her father dropped out of school in third grade and her mother dropped out of school in high school. Swain dropped out of high school in ninth grade, and ended up getting married at the age of 16 and having two sons and one daughter.
After getting divorced five years later, Swain earned her GED and then began attending community college while working full time. She went on to earn her Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Roanoke College and graduated magna cum laude. While at Roanoke College, she organized a scholarship fund for black students. Swain earned a Ph.D. in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1989, and in 2000, she earned a Master of Legal Studies from Yale Law School. She has since accomplished numerous things, including authoring and editing 11 published books and becoming a prominent national speaker.
During the podcast, Swain credits some of her success to some of the values instilled in her by her mother who taught her to never think of herself as a victim and that if she worked hard, she could make something of herself.
Swain also says that two other people greatly influenced her and led to her success. One was a medical doctor she met in her late teens and early twenties, who she met during a very difficult time in her life when she would do “suicide gestures” by taking bottles of pills and then calling someone to come rescue her. The doctor gave her words of encouragement, saying that she was intelligent and that she could do more with her life.
The second person was an African orderly from Sierra Leone, who was at a nursing home that Swain was working at. This individual also gave Swain words of encouragement, telling her that she was smarter than many of the people he went to school with.
Dr. Carol M. Swain – Don’t Allow Others To Define Your Limits