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Monroe Mann – How I Ended Up Pursuing a Doctorate in Psychology

Dive: Scholar - Doctorate
Description: In pursuit of the highest level of education
Level: Level 1
Level Requirements: Has applied and been accepted to a doctoral level program
Certified On: Jul 18, 2020

Editor’s Note: On all dive certifications, we try to edit the writing as little as possible to preserve authenticity, personality, and writing style. We typically fix spelling errors, but minimally modify grammar and sentence structure (just enough to ensure readability).

Monroe Mann

Name: Monroe Mann Break Diving Level: Level 1 Number of Certified Dives: 11 From: United States In: United States

1. When and Why Did You Decide to Pursue This Dive At This Level? What was your inspiration and motivation?

I decided to pursue a PhD in psychology for a number of reasons. First, I am a book author (here is a link to my Amazon author page), and I wanted to be able to put “Written by Dr. Monroe Mann, PhD” on my book covers! It looks professional.

Second, I am eternally trying to better understand myself, and the world around me. While The Bible helps me to a great extent, there are some things that I feel are better solved through temporal analyses, e.g. depression, hope, sadness, love. While all of these topics are touched upon in the Bible, I feel in some areas, approaching life’s problems from a more temporal point of view (coupled with the advice I get from the Bible) helps me twice as much.

Finally, it’s cool to say you’ve reached ‘the top of your game’, and well, there’s nothing higher than a PhD in the world of education!

Oh, one more thing: I do admit that pursuing a PhD did allow me to defer paying back my student loans, but that wasn’t really a reason for pursuing the PhD as much as a ‘benefit’. Do people really get PhDs just to avoid paying back student loans? I hope not!

2. How Long Did It Take For You To Accomplish This Dive At This Level From The Day You Decided To Pursue It, And Why Did It Take That Long?

 had started thinking about pursuing a PhD during my last year of law school. For me, my last year of law school was actually my 4th year, because after my JD, I pursued a post-graduate law degree, an LLM, in Commercial Real Estate Law. I started that program in 2010, and finished in 2011. That entire year, I was researching PhD programs. I applied sometime that spring, and then one month after I graduated (in May), I took my first course at Capella University as a student in their 5-year PhD program in psychology. So I suppose it took me about 1 year from the day I decided I definitely wanted to get a PhD to my first day as a student.  

Ironically, after I had graduated college in 1999 with a BA degree, I vowed I would never go back to school. Yet, there I was, about 12 years later, with a law degree, an MBA, a masters in entrepreneurship, and now… enrolled as a PhD student. Never say never!

3. What Was The Hardest Part About Achieving This Particular Dive Level?

Five years is a long time. It went by quickly, but deciding to take the plunge takes some courage, and no doubt it will require courage on your part as well. The hardest part, therefore, is making the decision in the first place. The next hardest part is finding an appropriate program. Looking back, I knew I wanted to pursue my PhD online, because I didn’t have the time or schedule to go to a traditional program. I searched around, and compared a bunch of schools, and ultimately decided on Capella University–a really great school that exceeded my expectations.

4. What Was The Easiest Part About Achieving This Particular Dive Level?

The easiest part was accepting the invitation to attend after applying. I was so thrilled to know that I was finally going to start studying psychology. It was a field that had always fascinated me, and now, I was going to become an expert in the field. Pretty awesome. The second easiest part was completing the application for Capella once I knew that this was the program I wanted to attend. I was really eager and it was fun to do!

5. What Is Your Advice For Someone Who Is Pursuing This Dive And Level?

If you’re even thinking about it, then yes, it’s probably a good idea. You can’t go wrong with a PhD.

The one think to be aware of is the cost. I’m currently in a federal loan forgiveness program that will help ease the burden of all my student loans if I am able to complete the required number of years, but getting enrolled and figuring out how that all worked was a lot of work. I am honestly shocked with how I was able to amass so many student loans (and in such great amounts). In fact, I am quite upset that such debt was even permitted in the first place. Did I end up with quite a collection of degrees, and am I really proud of my accomplishments? Absolutely. However, it’s a real shame that these schools (I’m not picking on Capella—I’m talking about virtually all schools of higher education) overcharge so much and that the federal government encourages this tuition price inflation–but that’s another story. 

Next, do not discount online schools, and do not assume that you can only secure a good education in a brick and mortar institution. I am proof positive that this is not the case. Don’t let anyone convince you that online schools are not real schools. True, there are some sketchy online schools out there, but… the same can be said of many brick and mortar schools as well. Stay away from the schools whose primary mission is really to just make a profit. These schools tend to focus first on keeping students, and on academic rigor second. How to identify these schools? You will probably have to talk to current or former students, as all school purport to have a mission of academic integrity, but many (and I speak as someone who used to teach at such schools,, and I refer to all higher education schools from undergrad to post grad) honestly do not care about education as much as they do profit. It’s sickening.

Finally, make sure that you are ready for a rigorous number of years. It’s going take probably anywhere from 3 – 6 years to complete your doctorate. Is it worth it in the end? Just ask… DR. MANN! Ha ha ha.

6. What Are Some Of The Best Resources You Recommend to Those Pursuing This Dive At This Level, And Why Do You Recommend Them? Please Include Relevant Weblinks, If Applicable.


Resource 1: Break Diving - Come and talk with my about PhDs on Break Diving.

Resource 2: Capella University - Has many PhD programs online.

Resource 3: Find a PhD - A useful blog post.

Resource 4: Break Diving PhD Handbook - Learn how to get a PhD.

Resource 5: -

7. Tell Us A Story Of One Of Your Adventures While Pursuing This Dive (At This Level).

I remember at first, I looked at all the ‘traditional’ schools in the NY tri-state area where I lived that offered PhD programs: UConn, NYU, Columbia, St. Johns, etc. Most schools with a PhD program in psychology required that you attend in person, in a classroom. 

I did consider these programs for a brief period, but in the end, didn’t even apply because I was doing way too much otherwise back in 2011: studying for and taking the NY bar exam; continuing to edit my feature film “You Can’t Kill Stephen King”; working on a new book; etc. I was also starting (or soon starting) my job as a public defender felony attorney at Westchester County Legal Aid. I had no time to be a full time in-classroom student again. 

So what to do? I started looking for online programs. Most of the traditional schools at the time had no online programs. I ended up finding UoPhoenix, Walden, and Capella. I ended up choosing Capella based on the program structure presented. 

I couldn’t have made a better choice. Doing the PhD online allowed me to conduct my studies while also: a) working as a beach lifeguard, b) working as a lawyer, c) traveling the world, and d) even moving to China for a year. Couldn’t have done that in a traditional classroom setting!


8. What Evidence Did You Submit to Prove You Met the Requirements for This Dive and Level?

Here is my Degree Verification from Parchment:



9. Will You Be Pursuing The Next Level For This Dive? If Yes, Why? If Not, Why Not?

The next level is ‘Has completed one year of a doctoral program’. I have met that requirement already, and look forward to sharing that with you soon. I will share my story of working as a beach lifeguard during my first courses!

10. What is the Break Diver's Creed?

No Rules. No Excuses. No Regrets.

Certificate photo:

And having made this post, and provided adequate evidence to the dive committee, Monroe Mann is now hereby certified by Break Diving, Inc. as: Scholar - Doctorate - Level 1. Congratulations ! Thank you for being an inspiration to others!

Certificate number: 52

The author above wrote this WYSEguidance post as one of the certification requirements to become certified by Break Diving, Inc. for a dive completed. Would you also like to find greater success, happiness, and friendship, and make genuine supportive connections with others around the world pursuing your same dreams? Come join us at Break Diving and soon your story will be the next one you read about on this site!

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