On my wedding day

I have always had this idea about getting married at the ocean, and more recently in the ocean. Standing there at sunset with my beloved under God at the meeting of air and water, earth and fire it felt so perfect in my head. I got a taste of it this summer in Bali as we took a sunrise snorkeling trip and there we were at the meeting of the elements. I’ve never felt so free. If I could bottle that moment up…

So I found myself looking at wedding dresses. I wasn’t sure what style best suited the occasion. I knew I wanted to feel light. Free. Divine. I started pinning the dresses I liked and repeatedly came across the adjective “ethereal”. I’d seen it before and assumed it meant something close to Bohemian. I wasn’t one to put a flower in my hair but I’ll be damned if I didn’t appreciate the choice should the mood ever strike.

I never wanted anyone there, just him and I. I’d bend a little but not much on that. Twenty-five max. But none of the location wedding details were negotiable. I needed the sea, the sunset and this ethereal dress floating behind me in the water as we made our vows before God.

Some people fantasize about the details. The dress. The shoes. The colors, the cake, the food…I fantasize about the feeling. It is what every piece of my stubbornness is working to protect. The authenticity of the moment. The beauty of the moment. The divinity of the moment. I don’t want anything to get on the way of the spiritual meaning of this day.

On that day, I don’t want to have to pretend. On that day, I want to only be with those that love and support me and our union. On that day I want to be my most present. I want to take in every morsel of my wedded bliss or my ache from pinchy heels; however I feel I want to BE that on that day. I want to be fully myself. I do not want overdone make up. To go on a crazy diet that makes me hate myself or food. To have hair down my back or in a fro, neither of which are me–at least not right now. I want to feel like I am fully at home in my existence prior to asking this man, my him, to bring me into existence forever and always a long as we both shall live. That is not the vision for everybody, but it is mine.

I don’t want to get caught up in the production so that I miss the plot. It is why I am so ardent about the intentionality around guests. On that day it goes beyond taking responsibility for the energy you bring into the space. It becomes taking responsibility for the energy you send into my Union. Our union. On that day I do not wish to operate out of obligation to anyone but the souls of him and I.

And I suppose any him for me will understand that. My sensitivities. My beliefs. My spiritual practice. He would have to, wouldn’t he? If I were ready to share my life with him, he would. It might not have been exactly what he pictured, and maybe he will have some revisions, but he will protect the feeling. Because he will want that too.

So this idea, this feeling was all wrapped up in the word that described the dress: ethereal. Delicate. Light. Not of this world. It is how I felt about myself. It is how I feel about him. It would be what he and I felt about us. It is exactly what I want on that day.

Wining and Dining Quitting

If, at some point during your doctoral studies, you do not think solidly about quitting…I mean plan out your life for the next year, finances and all, as though you were to walk into your department chair’s office the following morning with a typed letter on your best stationary (or a hand written note on a post-it depending how busted your give-a-damn is) and explain to him or her why you are taking a permanent leave…then I might not trust you.

IMG_0043Over the past month I have thought considerably about why I am still here.  Now, here is the part where I spoil the ending because so many of my professors and colleagues read my blogs and are probably thinking they need to check on me, don’t worry folks I’m staying.  But I was seriously thinking about it.  I looked at jobs I could do given my educational background and experience and I wrote out a 6-month plan for having my first book done.  The idea was so appetizing I could all but taste it on my lips.  I do not consider myself the type of person who needs to finish just to say she did.  In fact, I take great pride in not being afraid to leave nouns (people, places, or things) that no longer serve me.  So I had to figure out did this work still serve me? What did I stand to gain besides three small but powerful letters at the end of my name?

I was seriously entertaining quitting. I was wearing my best outfit, I had my best bottle of aged red aerating and the most decadent meal was being prepared.  I was being a most gracious host and thought, well you’ve learned some great things the past three years you can walk away knowing it was not a total waste. And then…

I stopped.

I had to remember why I started.  In my personal statement for admission into my program I wrote:

Though my career path has changed many times, my goal has remained static: I want to inspire people…USD’s PhD in Leadership Studies’ international study requirement shows the dedication for grooming new world leaders.  We must reach beyond our own frame of reference and stretch into the unknown, and the unfamiliar to find growth as leaders.  We must do it as leaders before we can expect those who follow to accept change.  I strongly believe that embracing the idea of a collaborative global community, especially in helping professions, only aids in the building of an effective and inventive leader.  Lastly, one of the four types of knowledge USD instills in its Doctoral candidates is somatic knowledge.  In my growth as a leader, I have come to rely more on my intuition, and essentially faith in my decision making. It is faith that guides my work as I counsel college students through anxiety, depression, grief, and loss; faith that I am a capable practitioner, faith that my knowledge and training will prevail over personal bias or limitations, and faith that I can make a difference in the life of a student. In a profession that is often heavily reliant on empirical proof, research, and reliability, it is refreshing to find adherence to something as powerful, yet unintelligible as faith.

That is why I am here. It is much less about the PhD and what that means and more about learning and receiving training from people within an institution who share my vision of leadership and change.  I was reminded of conversations particularly with my Org Theory professor and I told him how I understood leadership and relate it often to biological metaphors.  I often use the sciences (biology and physics mostly) to make sense of my experiences and here was a place, and a person in a place, a person in a place in a space that not only understood me but supported my thinking and pushed me to consider even more.  So, it’s changed a bit. I came for the degree and am staying for the community.

Dr. Avery (sidebar, she is such a gem…she does not know it yet –or maybe she will shortly–but I am going to make time to talk to her at least once a month because she anchors me. Not just academically but in a lot of the very important ways.) Anyway, Dr. Avery asked me “When your dissertation is done, printed and bound, what do you want it to say about you?” I did not have an answer for her, but as I was talking it through with Nicki last night in a chat about Kegan I realized this dissertation is my work.  Not just my research but my work.  It will be evidence of my own desire to balance the both and; embededness and differentiation. To be both I and We and the same time over and over again in new ways.  So what it will say about it me is that I and We existed in that way at that time never to be replicated again. And more so that through my own work (and work) people came to understand their own embedded|differentiated selves.  That perhaps we push a little harder for connection.  What that says about me? Well perhaps that I was simply the medium for which something greater was uncovered.  It will be a hallmark, and that I find great peace in.

White Picket Dreams

I had a dream…I had a beautiful home with french doors separating rooms, a pinterestable living room and a master suite complete with his and her closets. The entire house was dark hardwood floors, and the home was older. The wood had lived long before my family was a thought.

I had a husband. He was handsome and helpful, trying to cater to me, the home, and our daughter. I also had pets….and family visiting. I was trying to kick everyone out of the house, kid and pets included for some quality time with my husband. The pleading look in my eyes made him get on board. “I need this” I told him wordlessly. It was as if our communication had long since abandoned language. He understood the sound of my silences. So there we were hoarding cats, dogs, a turtle, and fish outside to the deck. There were cousins screaming and playing, childrens laughter filled the air, but not my child. She was very serious, stoic even. Curly haired and only a child in body, she had been here long before. Much like the wood. “Daddy, the fish needs new water…” she said matter of factly. A command, not a question, she challenged me;whether she knew it or not was unknown. This time it was his eyes that pleaded. I allowed it. As I held the fish he cleaned the tank, yet my annoyance and frustration lead to negligence as the next thing I knew, the cats were eating the fish.

I open my mouth to proclaim…something, anything to my daughter and she glared at me cooly. Bad mommy. I thought quickly should I say something about death. Did she understand? Would she? But with her cheeks reddening, and tears soon streaming down her face, she buried her face into her fathers chest and he held her. He and I exchanged glances and I knew, she had won. I sat defeated and cried my own tears, sad that the life anyone else might consider full was suffocating me.

I woke up clinging to that sadness wondering if the dream was a lesson. That maybe the things we think we need I think I need are not really the things that will bring joy into my life. How much of my own perfect ending was sold to me and how much is from my soul to me?

I know well enough what happens when you try to force fate.
Being aware does not save you from the discomfort of feeling helpless. Knowing what’s coming and what will never come again; and feeling like nothing you do can bring back stability.

So do you resign to spin haplessly across black ice hoping at some point you will get your bearings before you lose anything else? Or do you exhaust yourself whittling your square peg into enough of an ellipse to pass?

I am not very good with loss. And I yet, so much of life’s work is grieving. I feel myself at a crossroads…one road faith the other good intentions. And I’m on my knees crying please don’t make me take faith. It is not always (or ever) a facile decision.

I will move eventually. But for right now, I just want the time and space to mourn the loss of clarity. Of sure-footedness. Of competency. Of knowledge. Of everything I ever knew about myself. I just need that much.

Screen Shot 2013-12-04 at 9.05.46 AMPart II

It happened kind of like this

“…but I need freedom”
“What if you are free?”
“How can you feel free behind bars when you’re literally trapped in a place, a position, a life?”
“You are always as free as you think you are…what if you abandon whatever idea of what freedom looks like and decide against all ‘common’ sense that freedom is not in places, in positions, or even a time in one’s life. Freedom is a state of being and one you can choose at any moment in time. How many times have you run away to chase freedom?”
“Too many.”
“Have you ever caught it?”
“Sometimes. Usually after I get to a place and stop and catch my breath…then it escapes again and the binds come as if when I am too still the vines grow up around me holding me captive.”
“What happens when, for that brief moment you exist in freedom?”
“I am whole. I feel whole. Then almost immediately I feel terrified of its tendency to flee and I grip it so tightly my hands ache.”
“And it goes?”
“And it goes…maybe that’s the trick. I love it too much.”
“What do you mean?”
“I’ll eat you up I love you so…that type of love. The consuming kind. Because I crave it so much, I do not know how to co-exist with it. So it runs…and I chase it and it lets me catch it for a moment to see if I’ve changed, and I never have.”
“So…maybe you’re right. Maybe I am always only as free as I decide to be, and..you know that saying, ‘don’t chase, attract’?”
“Maybe it’s like that. Maybe I need to be free to attract freedom.”
“Maybe, how do you plan to do that?”
“I guess I’ll start by sitting here a moment.”
“And the vines?”
“Let them come.”
“Could freedom come to you?”
“Actually it has before.”
“Could it again?”
“I suppose it could.”
“What if it’s not a thing to be chased but a thing to be realized?”
“..and the only way to see it is in those times when we are pausing and catching our breath?”

Timing and Acknowledgement

Did you know when you started out on your [journey] what your [story] would soon become? Someone asked Liz Gilbert this question of her famous adventure-in-soul-searching book, Eat Pray Love, to which she said, “what sane person could have ever imagined such a thing?!”

It got me to thinking about beginnings. When was it, exactly, that I started on my journey? Was it when I left Nashville? Arguably the decision to move home instead of drink myself into an oblivion was definitely a turning point and a new start. Or was it when I moved to San Diego? Life has been a roller-coaster ride of surprises since I’ve been here. I’ve grown–both upwards into the light and also down into the earth. But perhaps neither of these is the beginning and my great work has yet to begin.

Of course, that’s simply not true. Even EPL began before it began. In a sense, we are always living our stories. Sometimes the past is the only way we can contextually make sense of the present…which as we make meaning of it, is passed.

Sometimes when a moment is happening, you get a sense that it means something much larger than the right now. I felt that way the first time I met E, or RKB. Or even the minor players and some friends. Standing in the “now” it feels as if past present and future have all aligned and these people fit into your life in a way that seems space was carved for them; and it was.

I feel as though when I make sincere requests to God, my prayers are answered. Often tenfold. Lately, I’ve found myself praying for presence. For the ability to, when faced with an inconvenient truth, not bolt and dive head-first into numbing activities. Give me the ability to stay and endure. Meredith said last night, “the only way out is through.” How absolutely astute, and sure I’ve heard it before but something about hearing it at that moment on that day made it a little more true than previously.

Ash once told me the greatest advice she ever got was, ” Right guy, wrong time; wrong guy.” It a greater scope I take it to mean that, the universe–in all of its infinity and wonder–does not nor will it ever do “almost”. Natures timing is perfect. Things bloom when they are supposed to, die when it’s time, and are nourished all the days of their life, all things considered. Why should we be different?

Are we?

imageThat’s the thing about timing, though. We sometimes get on our ownand forget that we are not separate from nature, but very much a part of it. We bloom when we are supposed to, die when it’s time and are nourished all the days of our life, all things considered. Right now, when I asked myself where I was in that I quickly heard myself say, you are opening. If I close my eyes I can see it, myself. A little bud still green at the base but whose petals are ready to bask in warm sunshine and be wet with falling rain.

And who knows whether my great story will be about the beginning, the middle, or the end? I certainly do not. I know that it will arrive when it’s time. And I will not ignore it, I will sit down and give it proper attention. I will write until the ending arrives. But for now, I suppose, I am just living the prologue.

Dream come true

Girl, that’s called “visualization”!

I’ve had an amazing weekend. Where to even begin? I met with a healer. We shared stories about how we came to know our gifts. It was interesting how the whole meeting came about, really because it was the result of a simple request. Maybe a year ago I was talking to Terri about how energetically, and spiritually difficult it has been for me during certain times and classes. She insisted that I find a community. I heard her, but as much as I needed it, I was not sure I was ready to be in a community of people who knew me in that way. In other words, I was not sure I was really ready to be seen.

Well, that has since changed and two weeks ago I made a very intentional request for connection and community. So it was beautiful that after making the request, I was having this amazing breakfast with someone who was offering me connection and community. After the breakfast I was enthused to really spend time creating my vision board. So I gathered magazines and pictures, markers, glue, and all sorts of supplies to create. One of the things that I put on there was a picture of Oprah and Brené Brown and I wrote the words “MUST MEET” in gold marker. That was Saturday.

Today I get home ready to work on some stuff for a class I am a TA for, and I get a phone call. Now three weeks ago I saw a tweet from Brené Brown mentioning her going to tape a Lifeclass session with Oprah. I followed the link and wrote a short essay about how much Brené’s work has influenced my own and said a few words about Oprah as well and honestly hadn’t thought much about it since. Until today when on the other end of my phone was Oprah’s audience coordinator asking if I was available for the show. What?! Did I not just speak this into my FUTURE? Oh wow that’s now.

So I racked my brain for how I was going to get to Chicago, who I knew in the area, where I would stay, when I would have to leave, my mind was spinning with all the reality and I just took a moment to breathe and I looked down on my arms to see goosebumps and I cried. I cried and I laughed and I thought about Steel Magnolias… “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.” I thought about how awesome this moment was, is, was. I thought about how much I just wanted to thank GOD for my good fortune, no, for my good favor.

During breakfast I told Melissa that I have been trying to get comfortable with being who I am. Because I am a huge presence and I want to own that, I can fill a room. I told her of having to learn my worth, my value, and being able to assure my self that I was deserving of grace not because of incidence or luck but because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I truly believe that. People listen to me, I quit trying to figure out why and I just accept that they do. And it used to make me want to speak less, because I didn’t want to be responsible for anyone’s misery. But now I want to speak UP and say, God order my tongue so that my words are the message you wish to deliver. I want to get my ego out of the way and be a vessel. Truly. And here we are.

So as I have told all my friends this weekend, be careful what you ask for! Prayers are definitely being answered in my life, scarily fast and it is exciting and terrifying and…wonderful. It’s wonderful. And a blessing and I am filled to the brim with joy. So full.

imageAnd just a quick word about my vision board…it is funny that most of it is full of places I want to see. Africa, the Bahamas, Paris, Joshua Tree, and of course Jamaica. There’s lots of quotes and beautiful reminders like “never hide”. There are four people you’d recognize, Sean Carter (Jay-Z), President Barack Obama, Oprah and Brene Brown as they are the four people I want to meet (really…I want to know them. There is a difference). And I haven’t finished yet but I will post a picture when its done. The process has been interesting because it really makes you focus your attention on the question, “What do you want?” It’s a great process. And one that, apparently, yields results.


In a mere 7 weeks I leave for Jamaica where I will be for exactly 20 days.  Curb your jealous, I know. I know. But I have issued a challenge for myself. In the days between right now and June 8th I want to lose 20lbs.

First, a story. So a while back I mentioned talking to an old friend about her amazingly spectacular  100+ pound weight loss and I set the same goal for myself. Since that time I never stopped wanting it, but I was never truly committed to the goal. I would start something then quit, start then quit, start then…you get the picture. I do not really diet but I do try to eat well, but if I ate as well as I often allude to eat then I highly doubt I’d have some of these issues. But I digress. I can woman up and speak to it, I love sweets. I do.  I have a thing for ice creams and gelatos, cakes and cookies…sweet stuff is my thing. I also snack at night.  These two things I stared at sternly in the corners of my conscious and said to them, You have to go.

Next, I recognized this irrational discomfort surrounding food preparation. Namely because my roommate is a SUPER healthy eater and sometimes I order pizza…so I would eat down in my room and only when she wasn’t in the kitchen would I venture into the kitchen. I realized one day when I let myself get so hungry that my stomach was beating me up as I waited for her to leave the kitchen that I had an issue.  I was ashamed of what I knew I was going to do. It sounds like a drug addict. I remember this one episode of Private Practice when Shepard had gotten hooked back on pills and in an intervention they made her use in front of everyone. The addictions counselor said, “Oh no you don’t, you do it out here for everyone to see.” It felt kind of like that. Only, I don’t want to shame myself, but I do want to be proud of what I’m putting into my body. I want to openly engage in public displays of affection with my own body.

I knew what needed to be done. I mean who doesn’t? Exercise, eat well, drink water…it’s the things you hear all the time only now I want to do them. I watched my birthday cake disappear piece by piece until I finally threw it out because I knew  I would finish it if it stayed. I bought veggies, quinoa, lean meats like salmon and talapia. I said “No” to salt and said “Hell yes” to a gallon of water a day.

And I ran.

IMG_1095I made up excuse after excuse at 6:00am, 7:00am, 8:00am about why I couldn’t go…it was cold…it was foggy…it was WORK was the true reason. I didn’t want to do it. I went to work and had the kind of day where everyone is annoying you just because they are there. I couldn’t pinpoint where my sour mood was coming from. On top of that, I kept being interrupted by bathroom breaks from this darn gallon of water challenge. So I got home, turned on the TV flopped down on the couch and went to my google reader where I saw this (Mama Laughlin). She wrote:

I was SO TIRED and PISSED that I had to get up so early.
That I had to make those kind of sacrifices to get in my workouts.
I was resentful that I didn’t have enough time in the day.
But you know what I did?
I sucked it up, got up, and got my ass to the gym at 5am.
And the craziest thing happened…. within 10 minutes of sweating I started to feel better.
I wasn’t pissed off anymore and my day instantly turned around.
Being that I was in a similar mood I decided…lets go. So I changed clothes, and went for a run (a very slow run) around my neighborhood. Yes I stopped for breaks. Yes I felt like I wanted to d.i.e. because the last mile was uphill. Yes my lungs ached, and my feet were heavy and sweat dripped, and I’m sure cars were passing me like, “She might as well be walking,” but I did not care. 45 minutes later I was home and I felt amazing. I snapped a picture and I decided that the only way to shed some light on all the truth I have been hiding is to do what I always do….invite love in, invite truth in, write.
So here I am. I want to commit to at least archiving the 7 week journey here…maybe later tonight I will create a separate tab just for my #20byTakeoff challenge. But I welcome new visitors, old familiars, supporters, encouragers, strangers, and loved ones to see the yucky underbelly of what it looks like to start from scratch for the bajillionth time.
For my twitter updates: @PhDubb
For my instagram photos: @PhDubb
It ain’t always gonna be pretty, but I promise it’ll always be the truth.




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.

Lovers Love Jazz

I’ve loved Chicago since Darius and Nina.
Never smoked a cigarette, but I would if love and poetry called for it. Crisp white shirt and a soft worn leather jacket, dressed in twists and intrigue. Spill my soul on a mic to perfect strangers, tell them about him and us.

I haven’t craved a man since the last time I listened to jazz music. The unfamiliar pattern of comfort and knowing, jazz and love just fit. So tonight when I heard Cassandra Wilson and the nostalgia took over me, and like Sanchez I remembered love…I gave in. I smelled the smoke, heard the strum of the bass, and white words sticky with red surfaced. Chicago.

Carrie liked a melody. But Big…Big liked jazz. Its a warm hand on the small of your back. Its merlot and wine glasses with lipstick stains. Its old oak tables you made love on that once. Its a twelve minute song with six words and a chorus. Its pocket squares and high heels, kisses on your neck and hands in hair. Lovers know.

And in the recollection I allowed myself to solicit the universe. Send me, I asked, a lover of jazz. Of love. Of smoke and sanctuary. Of bass lines and scat riffs. Of dancing. Of crisp collard shirts and public displays. Of rainy nights and urgent kisses. Of natural light and endless talks. Of Nancy Wilson and Charlie Parker. Send him to me and I will love him and we will love jazz.

PhD in Leadership? What does that even mean…

I freaked out. Admittedly. I had a small internal panic attack that here I am getting a PhD in Leadership Studies (whatever that means) and that somehow at the end of all this I would be unemployable, sad, and broke.  It was only a tiny panic. In my heart of hearts I know exactly what my degree will mean both to others and to myself. Most of all I know that I am already a better person having been in my degree program. But honestly, how many good people do you know that are un or underemployed? Plenty right. So I went to my advisor.

Now, normally when I see my advisor I like to tell her the situation get her advice and then resist and fight whatever wisdom she offers. Yesterday I went to her and said, “What am I going to do when I graduate?” I have mentioned before that she has a quiet way about her that is nothing if not intentional and kind of like a spider bite you don’t even know you’ve been bitten by anything until you’re laying on the floor dying. It’s not that bad, but it kind of is. So I asked her this very serious question and she said, “You don’t want to do faculty anymore?” “I mean yes,” I stammered, “but realistically what am I going to teach?”

Let me sidebar…since I have moved to San Diego my world as I know it has been completely turned on its head. Most of the time I try to just “go with it” but then there are times, like now, when I need desperately to find my footing.  My personal plans that I had when I moved here have been shot to shit a long time ago, but professionally, I never wanted to leave the world of counseling. Hence why I teach in it right now. That world that reveres silence and reflection and intention, that is my world. And I am not going to leave here any more qualified to teach counseling than when I came. Not to mention, I am completely out of practice. So when I asked her what am I going to teach, what I really said was…my world has changed too much and I don’t even recognize where I am anymore, which way is up?

She reminded me of some pieces of myself.

  • I do research in university diversity efforts
  • I do research in retention efforts
  • I teach in counseling
  • I teach in leadership
  • I have counseling experience and a counseling degree
  • I have worked in a center focused on diversity
  • I currently work in an office focused on outreach and admissions for our graduate programs

Oh yeah, and I am getting a terminal degree full of research experience, personal development, knowledge of organizations and leadership efficacy, and this is all stellar but does not even account for a network of colleagues and support from the faculty. Later reflecting she basically said to me, “Do you know who you are!? LOOK!” And I think perhaps the greatest of my pieces and the part that went unmentioned is my absolutely love for what I do. No matter where my life takes me professionally, I will always maintain a place with an institution of higher education.

College is the stuff that occupies your time so that you can become who you were meant to be. That time in your life is so precious and I just want to be a part of that for people. She also reminded me that many college student personnel programs have significant counseling influence so my work in that realm will not go wasted. It put me at ease. There is still much to do in the coming years…I have to publish work, present at conferences, start digging into my research area…but there is time and it will unfold as it should.

At the end of the talk I said to my advisor, “Do you like this new thing I’m trying where I don’t fight you, I just listen.”  She said, “I do actually,” and she remarked on her fondness of being right. I don’t mind when people are right, I just hate when their “right” comes at the “wrong” time. Of course that’s just total irony because it comes exactly when its supposed to. Damn spider bites.