It has been a full month since I started my doctorate program. There are some lessons have learning for the first time, while others are simply re-visitations of things I have been made aware of time and time again. Here are some of my reflections from Month One:

  • This journey is definitely meant to be shared. From my classmates to family and friends to former professors, I see more and more just how much it truly “takes a village” to produce a successful  – and sane – doctorate graduate. There is no way that I can do this in isolation, so I continue to use all the resources at my discretion.
  • With so many competing options, I must prioritize … daily. There are SOOO many things I want to do: sessions and conferences to attend, speakers to hear, socials to partake in BUT I can’t do it all. I am making a concerted effort to conduct my life in this exact order: my spiritual, emotional and physical health and wellbeing are first, my family (including friends) next, school third, followed by work. All else – side hustles, extracurricular activities etc. – comes
  • What about your friends? Just as was the case with my last graduate program, I am constantly reminded of not only the value of true friends, but remembering exactly what a true friend means to me during this phase of my life. My friends know that my schedule is absolutely insane and appreciate the moments – however short – that we have. They don’t shut me out, while remembering that I can’t accommodate every invitation or request. They value my work, even if they don’t understand it.
  • My faith walk is vital. If nothing else – if I don’t get any of the aforementioned lessons – this journey reminds me of how important my spiritual care is. Rituals like prayer, journaling and meditation have served as enormous sources of calm and reassurance during tough moments, even in these first few weeks. I am reminded of what it means to me to have faith that things will come together, even when I can’t see all the workings behind the scenes. I am reminded that this journey has a greater purpose and that I am not in complete control. And perhaps, most importantly, I am reminded to breathe – there is an orchestra of guardian angels, ancestors and a Divine Being working this thing out for me. I continue to recite to myself “I believe. I believe. I believe.