June 1, 2014
Here’s what I learned this week: this doctoral thing…I used to think it is all about academics and research and adding to the larger body of knowledge in the world. Legit it is all those things and I do hope to one day add my own words to the larger world but…I am now thinking that even more (and even before I can come to the place where you can add or even can create) this doctoral journey has a way of bringing me back to all those places inside where I still have insecurities…where I still question if what I have to say is really worth anything at all. For me, the real battles aren’t to learn APA or write academically rather the real struggles are still with my own legitimacy.
It’s humbling and it’s vulnerable work and I think if I don’t go through and sort out these things on a deeply personal level I can parrot ideas and I can write very clever papers but ultimately I think it might be empty work because it’s not from deep inside of me…it’s not mine rather it’s the show I’m putting on to merit the degree I desperately seek to gain the praise from others I crave to fill the part of me inside that feels perpetually empty. Scary indeed.
It’s now June which means it’s time to get to work in earnest. Odd as it sounds I think my goal for this month is to find my own voice within my studio-learning/online/graphic design research. I feel a bit like I’ve been serially dating ideas and philosophies—getting high on the conference attention I’ve received and the connections I’m making. I’m relying on the next big thing to pull me along and the next person to remind me I’m awesome rather than me knowing that inside. So…this month I am going to make work for myself and see what happens. I’m going to be open and vulnerable and seen in it all but not with the primary purpose of getting another gold star for entering new worlds rather because it’s not good to create all alone.
In closing, here are a couple words that are totally not my own but given to me by my supervisor, George Siemens, a few months ago. When I first read them I thought they were cozy and quaint and yet I was in the midst of burning the candle at both ends in 802, being promoted, and generally saving the world…Reflection was pretty much the last thing I had time for. Now reading them, I think I get it a little more.
“By my views, knowledge is birthed through periods of uncertainty. You are grappling with ideas and concepts. You are literally, physically, forming new connections in your brain. Patience with yourself, and your expectations, is critical at this time. Ultimately, you have to decide for yourself what works. You’re the only one that gets to live with the consequences of your decisions. Don’t follow what others do. Follow what allows you to feel creative, challenged, and intellectually curious.
My advice: don’t worry about risk taking. Define what is important to you and what motivates you. Share when it helps you advance yourself or your thinking. Ignore the people that criticize you – and there will always be those. “
And now to see what happens….hello June.