It's the first week of class and yesterday I went to Proseminar. A course designed for first year doctoral students that my entire cohort is required to take. I'm thrilled and terrified at the same damn time. We begin with pleasantries, the who-you-are and where-you're-from song and dance performed by all professors and students on the first day of class. The discussion expands to include goals, aspirations and expectations for the course, the community and our esteemed professor. It's a good time. I don't remember exactly when anxiety whispered it's breathy panic into the ears of my subconscious but by the time the syllabi were distributed I had already turned to a blank page in my notebook and penned a quick prayer.
After we reviewed the course schedule and assignments I was just about wheezing while thinking to myself "I wonder what it would take to get my old job back?" "Who told me I was smart enough to do this?" "Am I the only slacker in here doubting herself?"
Turn to your neighbor and say "Rigor". Ish just got real. I'm staring down the barrel of some INTENSE work and I wonder if I have what it takes. I'm scared out my skull box but in the spirit of seeing the glass as half full, I have to say that if I have to do this now I wouldn't want to do it anywhere else. My professors and my peers are brilliant and brown, just like me. My advisor is well known, largely cited and frankly, a beast whose scholarship is respected throughout the field. She and I can discuss grounded theory, methodology, recipes and healthy hair care. I feel like I can be myself with her. I feel like she requires that of me. She respects me, my previous experiences and how they shape and frame my perspectives. She endorses my ambition, acknowledges my potential and has expressed a genuine desire to learn and collaborate WITH me. This is what the game's been missing. I blink and find myself in the nurturing and empowering collegial community that I prayed for. Look at God! It's not going to easy but I truly feel that it's going to be worth it. Look at me.
So although my hands are shaking and every part of me wants to pack my sh*t and run back to Harlem. And even though my mind is racing as I navigate this new space, I'm open to this experience and all that it has to offer. I await every challenge, every victory, every struggle, and every triumph with anticipation and faith to believe that where God guides, He provides. I don't know what the hell I'm doing but I'm ready to do and learn and grow. And in that order.
This wasn't the plan. I never thought I'd have to travel all around the mulberry bush to get to this point but I've learned that after you pray for something, the how ain't really your business anymore. We are just supposed to do what we can while we can. That being said, I've got homework. This made me feel better. I'll check in next week.
Happy First Week of Classes,