As I wrap up the first year in my doctoral program, I reflect on how much I have learned about myself so far. I’ve learned that this doctoral journey is taking me to a different level of realizing who I truly am. I have been pushed to recognize and reconnect with all my identities. Every part of who I am has brought me to this point in my life.
My identity as a young, black, educated, Christian woman means more to me now than it ever has before. I am learning to incorporate my identity into my schoolwork. I feel free whenever I can apply the concepts in the curriculum to my personal and professional life. In this, I am learning that very thing is what makes my doctoral journey my own experience. This is very ironic because I became accustomed to people trying to fit me into this box of what it means to be black (young/educated/Christian/a woman).
The professors in my program are there to guide me, but also allow room for me to develop into the best scholar practitioner I can be. Imagine that! A group of world renowned scholars, and they want me to bring my own experiences and ideas to the table. They encourage me to use MY voice to make a difference within the field and through the lives of the students I support.
My program is cohort style which makes this journey a little easier to navigate.
I find myself telling my “co-heart” that they are like family to me. I spend more days communicating with them than I do with people I have known my entire life. Although I have family and friends who are very supportive of my journey, the only people who truly understand all that I go through in this program are the ones in my “co-heart”. We encourage each other daily. There is always someone to put all of us back on track when we have those intense moments where we may have felt like our work was not good enough.
This has been a humbling process and I am grateful for it. I’m embracing this time in my life as a time of reflection and a time to focus on my future. I won’t be 28 for the rest of my life, so plans to move forward in my professional life are in overdrive at this point. Especially because I get the question, “what are you going to do with that degree?” daily.
Overall, I feel like I have been making progress with my writing, communicating, time management. I’m focusing on improving those skills that will set me apart and catapult my career to the next level. The goal is to complete my program in 2019. I am excited to see how I will add my personal touch to the world of student affairs!
This post is part of our #SADocsofColor series for March. The journey towards obtaining a doctorate degree is long and arduous. This series highlights the stories of those on that journey that identify as men and women of color; stories which aren’t always told and stories that are important.
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