Marijuana Pepsi Just Got Herself A PhD
Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck, 46, has been judged and bullied for much of her life and now she's shown the haters who's boss.
After eight years of study, Vandyck -- who has never smoked and doesn't drink fizzy drink -- finally earned her doctorate in May.
Her dissertation titled: "Black names in white classrooms: Teacher behaviours and student perceptions," was born out of her personal experiences as a black student with a distinctly black name, struggling in the classroom.
She interviewed black students at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater who endured similar hardships and experiences throughout their studies.
Throughout her life, Vandyck was teased by fellow students and colleagues, scrutinized by bosses and teachers and even encouraged to change her name.
"People make such a big deal out of [my name], I couldn't get away from it," she told Journal Sentenial.
So, she held on to it.
She said she has had no desire to change her name and has always rejected nicknames such as Mary, but admits that at one stage when she was a successful real estate agent, she had to use MP so that stoners didn't steal her signs.
She has credited her mother, Maggie, who gave her the name in the first place, for making her the woman she is today.
“I’ve grown into my name because I am a strong woman," she told Today. "I’ve had to be."
News of Vandyck's name and degree has spread like wildfire with many taking to social media to commend her on pushing through.
There were some who thought Pepsi had expanded to the cannabis industry.
And of course, there were others who dished out the same jokes Vandyck has been hearing -- and ignoring -- for four decades.
Currently, she's a college counsellor. She walks into classrooms and proudly introduces herself as Dr. Marijuana Pepsi before sharing her message.
"Regardless of what they do, say or what they're trying to put in place, you still have to move forward and succeed," she told the Journal Sentenial.
"That's my big thing. Don't use that as an excuse. Use that as a steppingstone to keep on going. Leave those people behind and then you reach back. Each one reach one. Reach back and pull somebody else up".