As a PhD candidate of Africana Studies at Cornell University, I am in very unfamiliar territory as for not only myself but also my family! Here are 5 things I have learned in the first few weeks already:
1. PhD: Prayer and Humility Daily – You go very fast from a pupil to colleague. Your professors tell you to address them by their first name. To add onto the pressure of being a colleague, try being reminded that you will be the first to graduate with a PhD in Africana Studies from Cornell and let alone the first in your family. Talk about pressure!…well prayer and humility is the only answer.
2. I’m Not an Imposter– So not only have I asked myself am I too young for this thing called a PhD but I also asked myself if I was a fraud. In these past couple of weeks I was just waiting for someone to realize that they made a HUGE mistake letting me into their program and probably kick me out (just kidding). But then you remind yourself that you actually got in, and thus deserve to be where you are, so cherish the moments. Yay to #NerdLife!
3. Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls– Most people say to follow your dreams and aim for the sky. TLC says don’t get ahead of yourself. Ambition is a good thing, but only if it can be channeled in the right direction. Use your ambition to obtain goals that lead a manageable lifestyle and try your best to avoid the pitfalls and waterfalls (we have lots of them in Ithaca). Essentially, find balance and be mindful of over exhausting yourself. Work smart, not hard.
4. My School is My Job!- I understand that being free to work on my research at any time of day, on any day of the week is probably beyond the realm of imagination for many people. But it’s a job and through my research I hope to challenge and fill the gaps in our education system, be innovative, link academic and social formations, and rename the world beyond conceptual and methodological approaches. (Dr. Turner of Cornell Univ)
5. Bill, Bills, Bills!- Although I found a program that was fully funded! However, I didn’t account for the fact that I was an adult with adult issues; including car, health coverage, buying furniture, travel plans and essentially living life. The last month was a clear reminder of my reality. So budget and analyze your dollars properly and be smart about how you spend them.
I look forward to this new journey as PhD student and sharing them with you! Also feel free to share yours as well!
XOXO Nadia Marie