PHD to Ph.D.: How Education Saved My Life offers a glimpse into the life of Dr. Elaine Richardson aka Dr. E and her journey as a young Black woman to healing and recovery from a life of trauma through the 1960s’-1980s ghettoes of Cleveland, Ohio, to inventing a life for herself in the halls of the university. In a raw narrative, Dr. E shares younger Elaine’s experiences of dreams deferred, rape, human trafficking, drug addiction, unwanted parenthood, and hopelessness. In a desperate attempt to escape certain death and change her life, supported by her mother and other mentors she meets along the way, she enters the university and eventually learns that she must value herself and her cultural heritage to become educated. Major themes of adolescent life are presented from the perspective of a young naïve Black girl seeking acceptance: delinquency, desire for success, dysfunctional and violent male-female relationships, sexuality, and substance abuse. Additional themes are urban culture and street life, sexual exploitation, addiction, poverty, and race. Educational issues experienced by first generation college students are also central to the story. PHD to Ph.D. is ultimately about human potential, learning, and learning to love oneself, despite being born into a world with mirrors that reflect one’s image back negatively.