It dawned on me that I had no idea how to do what it is I am now in school to do: be a faculty member. I mean I know the basics–you teach–but I just didn’t know the logistics. Coming into my program I was preparing to be a practitioner, an administrator. Even after I mentally made the switch to “faculty” I never really knew what that meant in terms of my life moving forward.
I took myself on a date today. I went to the movies, not just any movies, but Cineopolis one of those bougie leather recliner, have a glass of wine while you watch types of movies. Afterwards I took myself to lunch at a meatless burger place (sometimes I really really appreciate California). On the way home I sang along with Sia, I was titanium. Bulletproof, unsinkable, invincible, and free. I remembered how after last week’s kinesiology treatment it felt like my voice was bigger, fuller and more sure. I felt, in that moment, like a huge juxtaposition as I was so sure yet so conflicted when it came to my career.
The thing that I love and do not want to get to “far away” from in Higher Education is helping students develop. That is what I fell in love with, and that is what I am best at. BFFK said to me today, “I was thinking like I guess it’s time for our generation to step up, who is going to be the black leader of our generation?” She was alluding to me and my career debacle. I said to her, “So now I’m a leader because of a job consideration?” “No,” she said, “You’re a leader because of your vision.”
What is my vision? I only know pieces right now. I suppose I am collecting materials for a great mural. I have spirituality. I have togetherness. I have identity–my Self as a woman a southerner a Black person an academic, etc. I have development and decisions and students and community…and maybe something will come to me. I don’t want it to be about publish or perish. I’ll perish. Vision….my vision–other people see it? Of course they do. I live it, right? I’ve worked hard to wear my heart on the outside, why should it be any different in my career than it is in my “off the clock” hours?
Well…it is hard to argue with BFFK’s logic. I talked with a friend, Rox, the other night about our doctoral work. We gushed over the need for collectivism and more group dialogue especially around identity. I thought about this idea of ubuntu–I am who I am because of who we are. This has to mean something…I mean of course it means something but I mean it has to mean something in the course of my work.
Maybe, I figure, there is a reason that I cannot seem to fully commit to this idea of faculty. Carrie said “when it comes to the trials of love, you have to listen to your heart.” And so my heart right now says that I don’t have to know everything right now. I will do the work that pulls me, I will go where I am called. I will truly have a vocation. For now, that’s the road I choose.