I have been in deep reflection about the ups and downs of what 2016 has come with. The ups were extremely high; I was feeling like everything I have worked for is beginning to make sense. Finishing school and moving on to graduate school was thrilling for me. It was also nerve wrecking because I would be surrounded by tough and buff academic powerhouses. It was intimidating to think about. I had to tell myself that I’m here for a reason. It’s no coincidence. God is obviously working in my life.
For any student, we have to remind ourselves that the “pain” is temporary but the reward is rich. Even still it can be difficult to think about that one friend who graduated with her MBA and struggling to find a job. Or that other friend who received his PhD and hates his job. A good friend once told me that whatever career you set out to have, you have to believe that it will happen by taking the proper steps. I never was the type of person to believe that I could create my own career. The traditional academic route was tangible. In public health, it seemed natural to just be an epidemiologist or a program manager. That path was not natural for me. I want to be a motivator, an educator, and a health enthusiast. For anyone who is in academia, the best word of advice is to trust yourself and your journey. Getting degrees isn’t just about intelligence. It’s about building character. Don’t give up. 2017 is the year to make a mark on how your life will be set up. Learn from your mistakes. Make better choices. Write more; consistently remind yourself of what you want. Academia is a special experience that requires knowing how to “play the game”. Going to classes are the beginning steps. Navigating through the classroom is a skill. Professors and students are your allies. Use them. Student resources are given to advance your navigation. All in all, trust yourself and enjoy the process. Once the degrees are hung on the wall, the boss in you will be glad that the sacrifices were made. For anyone starting their semester: be proud, be bold, speak up, be seen, be brave, be aware, and be yourself!