Back to School

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It’s weird to think that I’m entering my fourth year of Ph.D. studies. I feel like it was only yesterday when I was starting this journey full of hope, dreams, nervousness, anxiety, trepidation and excitement. It’s one of those moments where you are just stunned that you’re actually living the dream. You’ve dreamt of this moment and now it’s finally here and you are in it and it is just so dang surreal. Questions of how did I get here and am I good enough to make it swirl in your head. The answers shall reveal themselves in due time. But for now, all you have is the now and it is intoxicatingly refreshing.

Four years later, fatigue takes over and one feels like almost fainting. The end is both so near and yet so far. I have realized things about myself that I haven’t known before. I am amazed at the opportunities I have been given and it is truly astounding to me that I get to do what I do. I remember guest lecturing at a class taught by my supervisor and seeing faces that I have gotten to know during the school year and I’m thinking how in the world did I get here? Am I actually standing here and teaching these students? Recently, my paper was accepted for SBL (Society for Biblical Literature) and I will be heading to San Antonio, Texas this November to present my paper. And I’m struck yet again by that question of how did I get here? You go to these conferences and you look around and you see all these presenters and wonder if you’ll ever get to that point in your own academic career when you’ll be the one presenting at these fancy conferences… and then next thing you know, you’re doing exactly just that.

I have also been able to meet and develop friendships that have changed me. I’m thankful for my workout buddies who have played such an instrumental role in my consistency in going to the gym these last two years. I’m thankful for roommates who have given me the opportunity to practice patience and mercy lolz I’m thankful for family and friends who have seen the journey that I am in and have chosen to walk alongside me to encourage me and strengthen me. I am truly amazed at how blessed I am to know and have so many stand up people in my life.

About five years ago, I had coffee with my supervisor and asked him if he was willing to take me in as one of his doctoral students. You always hope for a yes but until you ask, you don’t know what they will say. Thankfully, he said yes and the rest, as they say, is history. (If you didn’t get that joke, I don’t even know if you know me at all!) I wouldn’t be where I am today without his supervision and encouragement. It’s great to know someone is on your side and will be there to support you and champion you, instead of trying to make your life a living hell. I’ve heard horrible stories with grad students and their supervisors… it is tough out there if you feel like you have to compete with your supervisor.

I’m truly thankful that I get to do what I get to do. I know I complain and grumble a lot about the amount of work I have to do. However, amidst the difficulties, I realize and acknowledge how truly blessed I am to be able to do what I am doing. Four years later, I’m still the same student who walked into Orientation Day, somewhat dazed and confused, wondering what the future holds. I have no clue what tomorrow may bring but I do know Who holds my tomorrow. And for that I am eternally thankful.

 

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