I survived the first week of my doctoral studies! I am in a new institution, a new department, and an entirely new field – I’ve had some apprehensions about this jump into Politics from Geography/Planning, but one of the professors I spoke to advised me to take this as an opportunity to be challenged in an academically fruitful way. That really stuck with me, and I will be taking it with me throughout this journey. It’s set me on a path where I looked for courses that I knew I would find more difficult but ultimately more fulfilling, as opposed to taking old favourites where I knew I would be “safe.”
I had three or four orientations this week at two different departments – one at Politics, my home department, and the other at Equity Studies, which is where I’ll be TA-ing for this year. I get to TA! I’m so excited. I actually had a good chuckle when I picked up the textbook for the class; it’s the third edition of a book that I own the second edition to. I’m excited to see where it goes with the two class sections I’m teaching. There were also orientations from the student unions that were so packed with information my head is still kind of reeling, and I’ve set aside a day to just look through the printed material.
I want this time to be different. I remember being in a bad place during the first year of my masters, and really not making any effort to make friends. I intentionally skipped all of the group outings, potlucks, picnics, all of it, with nary so much as a text message saying, “I’m sorry, I really can’t make it.” Granted, I was blindly feeling my way through a fog of grief so thick I couldn’t function, but I regret not making more friends. By the time I lifted my head up during the second year, it was too late. Although I did leave my masters with some good people I count as friends, I could have made it a more fulfilling time. Not making that mistake this time around; I am a social creature and I need all the help and company this place has to offer!
Although I’m still orienting myself to this department, I feel like I have a spot here. That there is a place for me to grow and be tested and thrive.
Gratuitous image credit: Kenn Atienza