So this week began the first fall semester of my doc program! Granted, the program actually began in April and we had a few face to face classes over the summer, but this week felt like the start of the “real deal” (i.e. 16 weeks vs. 6 weeks makes a BIG difference).
Anyway, it dawned on me yesterday that I haven’t actually documented what this new transition has been like so far. To be honest, it still feels super surreal. To think that I am currently, right now, in this very moment on the journey to becoming a Doctor still blows my mind! Whew! God ceases to amaze me.
After our first summer semester and first week of fall classes, I still feel great about my decision to pursue this degree. At this point, I am not yet overwhelmed or stressed out. I am not currently battling #ImposterSyndrome (Thank God!) nor am I asking myself if I really belong here. While I know that it is still VERY early on, in the present moment, I am not doubting myself, my abilities nor my God.
Basically, I still feel very confident in God’s best for me. I am still very grateful for the opportunity to create change for myself, my family and my community. With all intended humility, I feel that I am deserving of this journey. Granted, I do not know all that this journey has in store and can only imagine the challenges that will accompany this new phase of life. However, today, I feel assured that I have all of the tools that I need to survive and what I do not have, I know that God will grace me with.
Honestly, I am still soaking it all in. From time to time it hits me again that I will be the FIRST in my family to earn a Doctorate (#FirstGenAcademic). Even saying that out loud brings me to tears. I know very well all that my ancestors, grandparents and village sacrificed for me to live in this very moment. My Granny, who dreamed to becoming a nurse but couldn’t pursue her education because her parents did not have the means to support her and her siblings at home. My beloved “PaPa,” who had to discontinue his education in high school in order to join the military to provide for his family. And my mother, who has always dreamed of providing a better life for her children than her parents were able to provide for her. It ALL matters and I carry the weight of these things with me every day.
What I refuse to carry, however, is ANY guilt about having the opportunity to choose to further MY eduction. Or any doubt about whether or not this journey will be worth it. Or any other negative emotions that people try to erupt within you when they do not see the value in what God has called you to do; not knowing that if they were meant to answer, then He would’ve called them.
Mind you, I know and understand that many of US are not afforded this opportunity. Much like my grandparents, achieving a Doctorate was not and is not even a second thought for POC from all walks of life. This country that we live in was not and is not designed for ALL of US to make that dream, a reality. Institutionalized oppression is REAL and I would never, ever use my academic privilege to null someone else’s academic journey. At the same time, I will NOT apologize for being in this space and earning what is rightfully mine. My education is NOT a fluke; it has been fought for with centuries of blood, sweat, tears and ZERO reparations.
With that, I am VERY excited about what is to come and eager to see where God is taking me along this journey. I am not worried about tomorrow for tomorrow has enough troubles of its own (#Matthew6:34). I am focused on today and gaining all that I can as I live out this moment that my grandparents could ONLY dream of. This moment is MINE and I am sprinkling #BlackGirlMagic all up and through the “Ivory Towers” of academia!
For all of you #BBGs heading back to school in this season, you are in my thoughts and prayers!
#OrientationDaySelfie April 16, 2016
#BackToSchoolSelfie August 11, 2016