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Tara Westover’s Secret of Getting a PhD through Homeschooling

Education is key to our success. Most of the times, we need to get a degree in order to start a worthy career and land a stable job. However, does this mean we have no future if we can’t graduate from a university?

Well, apparently, that’s not always the case. In fact, a woman just earned her Ph.D. without going to school! How did she attain her success? Let us uncover her life and her secret as a best-selling author and historian.

Tara Westover’s Early Life

Many years ago, Tara Westover was living an isolated life at rural Idaho with her survivalists Mormon family. She didn’t spend much time with her relatives and extended family except when they were at church. Her father, Gene (a pseudonym), didn’t believe in the thought of sending his children to government schools or doctors and decided to home-school them instead. Both Tara and her brother had to learn how to read through The Book of Mormons, the Bible, and the speeches of Brigham, Young and Joseph Smith.

Tara Westover’s best seller book

They also self-taught themselves Science and Math. Her father refused to seek medical attention to her mother’s tonsillitis. Instead, he instructed her to stand with her mouth wide-open to accept the sun’s healing magic. With the passing years, the tension between Gene and Tara grew until the latter couldn’t take it anymore. She decided to take a major step towards her liberation when she went to university. Fortunately, she passed the ACT at Brigham Young University with no academic background and birth certificate for enrollment.

The Start of Westover’s Education

During this period, she was able to learn various lessons about the outside world. She learned why her father led them a strict and constricted life due to his survival from the Holocaust. The first time she felt how isolated she had been was when she learnt all about Holocaust, how Europe was not a country and it was, in fact, a continent, along with other discoveries. She also shook her head in disbelief when she saw how “wild” her classmates with their profane habits were. Despite her struggle to fit-in, her professors saw her innate talent in history.

Tara Westover graduated in Ph.D. History at Cambridge University

She flew to London with a renowned professor, and she studied at Cambridge University. There, she pursued an advanced education and earned her Ph.D. degree. When she graduated, Tara finally got the whole picture and renounced her father’s narrow political view of the world. She then thought of a stunning idea that enabled her to create her next masterpiece.

Educated: A Memoir

Tara thought of sharing her story with the world and help people realize the importance of education. This prompted her to write a memoir called Educated. She decided to share her story and how her childhood shaped her life today. At first, she struggled with narrative writing. All of her writing group members couldn’t grasp her message. She didn’t even know how to write short stories.

However, this didn’t deter her from finishing her book. She listened to New Yorker fiction podcast how to draft narrative writing. She kept crafting her work until she created a masterpiece. Tara also kept in touch with their close-knit family to ask some details for the books. Her book eventually landed on New York Times bestseller list and it received tremendous positive feedback from the readers.

We Have the Power to Learn

Despite her seemingly strict and isolated childhood, Tara didn’t regret anything. If anything, she felt grateful for her father’s upbringing. According to her father, you can teach yourself better than have someone else do do it for you. And Tara believes it’s true.

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