Last Day of Class, Semester 1

Tuesday, 29 November 2011
The impossible has been proven possible. We survived statistics! Our last class met yesterday. We still have finals next week but amazingly, I made it through the highs and lows, the feelings of sheer stupidity and the elation of understanding complicated concepts.

Today we presented in our 610 class and thankfully, that went well. I was happy to learn more about the members of my cohort. Surprisingly, one of the most (seemingly) talented and confident students admitted he was highly intimidated at the beginning of the semester. He even said he developed a back-up plan if he wasn't able to swing the PhD program. This was shocking to me. I learned that most of us were not only intimidated to start the program, we were terrified.

Looking back at my feelings and fears during the first week of classes, I realize that I was afraid of the unknown. Stepping out of a successful career was highly uncomfortable for me. It was in fact, painful. Getting a handle on the workload as a doctoral student was almost impossible. Now, I'm not afraid. Yes, I'll suffer anxiety over growing as a researcher and a teacher. I'll shed tears of frustration when I take comps, develop my dissertation and defend it, but I'll survive.

Since I love to garden, I'll offer an analogy pertaining to the doctoral experience. I was a seed in August. During this semester, I began the growing process. With a healthy dose of knowledge and challenges, roots formed. The wind and storms were rough and at times, my pride and emotions were damaged. Now, I realize I'm anchored to this experience and will continue to grow. The environment, trials and seasons will impact me but my foundation has been set.  

Now, time to study for finals!

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