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. 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 such 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 thick fog of grief, but I regret not making more friends. By the time I lifted my head up during my second year, it was too late. I did leave my masters with some good people I count as friends, but 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