Monday, July 16

The Feeling Is Relative

Hey all this blog is just a reflection of my experiences so far while doing my research in Madison. It's been a very enlightening and wonderful summer for me and these are my thoughts on it all. I hope that it helps you all gain some perspective and understanding. I also think we should all take the time to do this. It's extremely helpful :-) hope you enjoy
I posted a question on my facebook status this past week asking about a 1000 of my closest friends this question. “ How do you want to feel about your life?”  It’s a pretty simple question, not asking too much of an individual. I got it from an audio book that Lynn lent me, called The Fire Starter Sessions That by Danielle LaPorte. (I suggest you check it out if you can) It was while listening to this book that I realized that I’ve never really been asked how I want to feel about my life. I’ve been countlessly questioned about what I want to do, where I want to be , and the type of person I want to be.  But never once has anyone bothered to ask what I wanted to feel about my life.  Because of this I realized that I had no idea. I couldn’t answer the question. I could easily recite my elevator speech that would easily address the first three but literally had no idea how to address how I wanted to feel about it all.
Through McNair I have very much become sure of my future. I have defined my research interests. I’ve gotten a taste of what life at grad school will be like. I can actually see my PhD in my hand.  I am happy with my answers. In fact I am sure of them. But there is no doubt that something is missing. I know! That sounds crazy. I mean I have everything that any hopelessly lost but hard driven undergrad would want, more even. Obviously I understand that being so young  I am not supposed to have all the answers. It is normal for me to feel this clueless and have no idea why I can’t seem to be satisfied with my circumstances.  So after a week of reflection and examining the feedback of my much appreciated facebook friends I realized exactly how I want to feel about my life.
1.          I want to feel alive. Though I am living, I have actually not been living my life. I have not experienced anything new, bold or outside comfort zone. Which is why I decided to come to UW-Madison for my summer research. Being here I have become more enlightened, both in my research and general life. The fresh new environment is exactly what I needed to add some spice to  my bland living. Everyday has been a new experience, from navigating my own way to realizing that yes I am now an adult . But also realizing that in being an adult how I start living  now is exactly how the rest of my life is going to be. As such, I want to spend everyday of my adult life being excited. Meanwhile understanding that whatever my choice of higher education, whether it's Madison or not, the important factoid to remember is to actually live my life and enjoy it.
2.                I don’t want to settle. I believe it was the infamous Don Asher who said fit and match equals admission. Through all the GREing and personal statements, I have come to find that nothing is truer than this statement.  I have come to realize that being selective in every aspect of my life is what will bring me the most fruitful opportunities. For me it is no longer just about saying yes to make someone else happy because I see no other doors. It is about having faith, believing in myself, and realizing that to be at my best I have to choose what I feel is best. I have to decide what will make me happy and with every part of me go for it.
3.                I want to be influential. My definition of influential does not just encompass social change or advocacy. Instead it includes the small stuff. The little things that go unnoticed but seem to make the greatest difference. Doing this is what makes me happiest. The warm smiles I give to light up one person. Taking the time to be a listening ear. Saying thank you more often than not and all the other cheesy clich├ęs of kindness we so often forget about. I want to recognize the little battles, the every day struggles that we face. After all it is the small steps we take that help make those big ones happen.
I’m not sure if doing this will help figure everything out.  But I am certain it’s a start. Embracing these experiences and realizing that in anything I want, whether it’s getting into graduate school, falling love, or getting that perfect job, I need to realize how I want to feel about it all. Truly taking the time to see why what I am are doing is important. I suggest the same for my fellow scholars not just to find answers, but to bring clarity and perspective especially during these most critical times of our lives. 


  1. Maame! I am SO excited for your future. You are already doing great work. I can't wait to see where this adventure takes you.

  2. Number 3 is my favorite, and I assure you - you have already begun to achieve this, Maame :).


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