It’s been a little longer than I anticipated, but I finally scrounged up enough focus to sit myself down at the computer and write a post. After about a week and a half straight of sitting in front of a computer screen for finals, writing a blog post was the last thing I wanted to do after the semester was finally over. But, time has passed. I’ve spent enough hours engaged in some sort of physical activity outside in the sunshine to feel re-energized and ready to hop back into the blogging cycle.
It feels good to be done with my first year of doctoral work….real good.
I feel validated in my decision to leave behind everything and (almost) everyone I know, plus financial security, in order to follow this dream. I mean, I won’t really know if it was a good decision until the end of everything, but that’s the way chance goes. You don’t know, but it is that not knowing which makes life feel exciting and new. I’ve been talking about chance and change with various people these past couple of weeks. It’s graduation weekend here at the college and a lot of people are heading out into the great unknown. The job market is tough, and only a few of my friends have jobs lined up in the academy. I have to admit, I’m scared about the job market. I did a lot of research before deciding to enter into doctoral work in the humanities, and I know what a crap shoot it can be. So what makes me feel like I’m different. Like I can succeed where other, more qualified, people have failed? I’m not sure. But, just like I knew I would be great as a doctoral student, I have this feeling that things will work out after grad school is over. You can call it naivety or optimism depending on your own outlook of the world, but I think it is something different.
That feeling that you will succeed COMBINED with the drive to go out there and get the things done that need to be done in order to ensure success is really the equation that I live by. While I do procrastinate (and, really, who doesn’t?), I know how to take advantage of opportunities. And, really, that is one of the keys to success. You have to know how to work connections, how to build relationships and use the opportunities that present themselves at seemingly random points in your life. Oh, and I’ve developed a pretty solid work ethic in my old age. I get shit done. It’s actually one of my favorite things about grown-up me, but it is a skill I only realized recently. I think it has to do with my passion for the work I’m doing combined with the fact that I chose this life. I’m here for a very specific reason, and I better do the best I can at it. There aren’t any excuses, and there’s really no safety net for failure. This is not the work ethic I had in undergrad.
So this post evolved into something completely different than planned, but that’s the way the good ones go. What is success and how do you achieve it? This is a question I’m going to be working on for the next couple of years, and, really, only time will tell what the answer is for me. For now, here’s a cute cat GIF to hold you over until next week. Just look at that kitten’s tenacity. Bound for success, I tell you!