As I have discussed before, every year I decide on a theme. This year, I have decided it will be the Year of FEARLESSNESS.
I am TERRIFIED
There are so many things in my personal and professional lives that range from concerning to terrifying.
Personally, I am concerned about my health. In 2014, my health took a steep dive, so I moved away from my university so that I could take care of myself. I have been making progress. I cannot put a timeline on getting healthy, and it worries me that I will never get better.
I am worried about my safety. It is not easy being a Mexican woman in the age of Trump. While I live in a wonderfully diverse neighborhood, and in a “blue” state, the hatred I see outside of my immediate comfort zone is staggering. Furthermore, my family are not all located in nice, safe blue spaces. I worry about all of them too.
I am scared about being too different. Again, in the age of Trump, being a brown, non-straight, atheist woman with a learning disability means I have a lot of targets on my back. It is my instinct to stop discussing dyslexia, to go back to the closets.
Professionally, well. I wish there was a professional side of me to speak of. Instead, I will speak about my studies. This year came and went, and I did not defend my proposal. I am terrified that 2017 will end and I will be in the exact same place: a PhD student.
At the same time, I am terrified about defending my proposal. Because that means that it will be job market time. And while I still don’t think academia is the right fit, I may want to try. And if not, I have to face the challenge of thinking what else I want to do with my life.
Yet, despite all those fears (and many, many more), I intend to MAKE 2017 a great year.
I am FEARLESS
Many years ago I heard someone say “make it a great day.” And it stuck with me. It reminded me that the power to influence my current situation. But it requires making a decision, and making an effort.
I will MAKE 2017 a great year, because I will face my fears.
I will continue taking care of my health.
I will continue making progress on my PhD. I will propose my dissertation in 2017. Last year started with my chair telling me that my dissertation was not viable. This year, I am starting with preliminary data collection and analysis.
Defending my proposal this year also means that I must take time to evaluate career options for PhDs outside academia. This may be the path less traveled, but there are resources out there to help. I may work for private industry, government, or even start my own business. There are a lot of options and opportunities, and instead of shying away, I will take them.
But most importantly, I will not hide who I am. I will continue to work on helping dyslexic students make it to PhD programs. I will continue to help the Management Doctoral Student Association of the PhD Project succeed. I will continue to voice my thoughts about being an Atheist. And most importantly, I will continue to be proud of having been born and raised in Mexico.