Why am I here?

Blog Home    |     04.27.2017 by     |    


Four simple words that form such a difficult and profound question. As I finish my second year of graduate school, the question of why am I here and why I choose to remain here have slowly begun to haunt me. Coursework is finishing and I’ll slowly start entering a more open stage of my graduate career. In applying for fellowships during Fall quarter, I looked over my graduate school application materials. In those applications I spoke of wanting to uncover histories that have been forgotten, of wanting to work with communities that have been marginalized, of wanting to bring these two spaces together, in an active and real way.

If I’m taking full stock of my life these past two years, I don’t think I have achieved much of what I wrote in those statements. And while our needs change as time passes, I believe what I wrote in those statements. I’ve realized lately that I’ve been very unhappy with myself in graduate school and that is in part because I haven’t done many of the things I set out wanting to do. This the last reading stuck with me. My undergrad professors and mentors were scholars of scholars, particularly women of color. These are women that are activists. That championed causes and why I believed that I could the same in my career. It’s why I signed up for this program, because I wanted to go back to my beginnings. I’ve always been community driven, family driven. I loved my research but it didn’t completely hold my heart. My work outside of the classroom did.

I think since I got to graduate school, I’ve been trying to be the good student, to finish requirements to get to the stage where I could have more freedom to do what I want. It is what I was advised to do. But that concept has taken a toll on my spiritually, emotionally and mentally. So I’ve been working on finding balance and participating in this project has been one way of doing that. I haven’t been this excited about something in a while. And every time I speak with the teachers at the high school I’ll be working with, their excitement means humbles me.

Reading the readings for this week was a stark reminder though that these internal conflicts that have been eating me up inside, that have made me question my role as a graduate student, if I’m succeeding or failing, in relation to my responsibility to my community, are not conflicts of academia. They are the concerns that particularly as a women of color, I cannot escape. So why am I here? Because I am looking for an answer.