As I transition from graduate student life to full-time academic employment, I feel the need to reassess some of my goals and--as odd as it may sound--figure out what parts of me aren't necessary anymore. And, honestly, I need to figure out what is missing.
I'll never forget, my very first semester of my Ph.D. program, I took a short story seminar (shout out to Sharone, Stef, Jan, Doug, what what). After our professor read our first batch of mid-semester papers, she announced that we basically had all written on "identity" and that she was forbidding the topic because it was...stupid. Identity is self-constructed and over-discussed in academia, so she was putting her foot down. No more identity. Yes, many of us were writing about politics, poverty, race, gender, nationality, etc. And identity was naturally a part of that. But it was our job to go past identity and say something more significant and thought provoking. I wrote some great papers for that class, moving far past surface-level analysis of characters' identity, and that moment has made me a better literature teacher and tutor. But it's taken years for me to be able to understand that I need to assess myself that way, too, and look beyond my titles, my accolades, my jobs, my responsibilities, my partnerships, ...to determine who I am and who I will be. And what's entirely separate, perhaps, who I want to be.
- Am I healthy: physically, emotionally, mentally?
- What are my goals and my ambitions?
- Will my pursuit of these things further my Father's kingdom?
- What can I do to make my daily life both simpler and more productive?