Sunday, June 20

What will U be doing over break?

Today I had the rare opportunity to go out on the boat with my husband and children for 4 hours of togetherness and fishing. It hasn't always been rare but in recent years my hands have not often touched a live fish or subdued a wriggling worm to string it on a hook. Funny, after all the years I have fished in my life. I still feel guilty when I poke the hook through the worm's body.

Anyway, as I sat on the boat staring at my line in the water, the reflection of the setting sun bathing my family in shades of pink, yellow, and blue, a peace settled over me. The birds sang all around us, their music as beautiful as a symphony. This experience reminded me of how desperately I love nature and how it energizes me. With a touch of sadness, I also realized how little time I have set aside for such experiences.

Since I put a lot of value in self-reflection, I have decided that although I do have to do some work over our mid-summer break, I will definitely spend time with my family allowing the beauty surrounding us to replenish my flagging energy.


Monday, June 14

Secretly Longing for My Cohort

I had the privilege of reading your "My Fellow Scholars" essays today and they stirred up so many thoughts of my own cohort. I felt a little sad upon finishing your essays because I really miss my cohort. I felt a lump growing in my throat as memories of canoe trips, boisterous work sessions, potlucks and margaritas flitted casually through my mind. Where has the time gone?

The intensity of the summer fostered the development of bonds that continue to move me even now after 3 years of little to no contact with my fellow scholars. Although we have all been very busy, there are the occasional moments when our lives touch and I am reminded of the fun times and adventures we shared. There are friends that have been in my life longer but only some have impacted my life as strongly as my fellow scholars.

I am so glad that you are experiencing the same with your cohort.

Thank you for sharing your stories.

Saturday, June 12

Decisions, Decisions

It is difficult to maintain the passion and drive to reach your goals when you are feeling physically and emotionally drained, when you are struggling to remember why you are on this path in the first place, and you feel isolated from the rest your friends and family on the 9 to 5 track.

To top it all off, you follow the advice of someone with more experience than you, someone in charge, and end up bombing an assignment so badly the shock feels like a physical blow. Your first reaction is to curse and then it feels as if the horror will come in the form of tears, pumping raw emotion out of your chest with the force of a blown BP oil well belching millions of gallons into the once beautiful gulf. Then comes the realization that you must step back and re-evaluate in order to move forward. If you stay in the place where it feels unfair, where you want to fight the system, where the anger makes you feel defeated, you may be unable to effectively move forward. You may be stuck fighting the past when the rest of the world has moved on without you.

How to do it though when you are experiencing all of the above mentioned feelings in paragraph #1? Keep it all in perspective I guess. I don't have to get all A's in graduate school, right? I have heard that B's make Ph.D.'s. Do I strive for top marks, yes. Am I defined by a letter grade, no. Can I truly change anything by complaining about how I was graded, not likely. Should I voice my feelings of unfairness, absolutely, but with the realization that it may not (and did not) change a thing. Finally, accepting that shit happens and if I allow myself to get wrapped up in the diaper with it, I cannot move forward.

The longer I am in this world the more I learn about letting go of things that I cannot control so that when I move forward, progress is not the result of emotions fading away or forgetting about past challenges and hurts. Instead, progress is the result of making a conscious decision to move forward with full knowledge of the consequences of staying stuck in unresolved issues.

When finally you find yourself at the end of a difficult period of time, when you look at what lies behind you, maybe then you rediscover your passion and remember why you are on the path in the first place.