Getting out of your own way

Getting a doctorate was to date one of the most stressful projects that I have done. I balanced school with multiple jobs, moving across the country, and also trying to have somewhat of a social life. My dissertation class was a Pass/Fail format and there were a few times where I didn’t know if I would pass the class for the quarter. I would plan to get a lot of things accomplished every quarter and it would be so difficult to stay focused and write in the fact of competing priorities. It was the end of year four and and I hit a wall. I was tired of looking at a computer screen, reading articles, trying to sound intelligent, and keeping up with discussion posts. I don’t know what the final straw was but I was done. I wanted to quit so badly because it was just too hard. But one thing that I remember was the fact that I had spent so much time, energy and money that not completing would be a complete waste. Not to mention the fact that I would still owe money in student loans. I realized that I was getting in my own way because I wasn’t sure of what I wanted to do next after I finished. I knew that I wanted to teach but I had no idea about what the next steps would be. I was sabotaging my own progress because I had a fear of the unknown. Once I figured it out everything made a lot more sense. I gave myself permission to finish without knowing for sure what I would do afterwards. After this realization the road got a lot smoother. I finally started to get the approvals that I needed and things started coming together. Within a year and some change I successfully defended my dissertation. I say all this to say that a fear of the unknown keeps a lot of people from their potential. It paralyzes them from taking the next step because there are no guarantees. But in life there aren’t any do-overs. We have one shot to get it right and it only makes sense to give our dreams 110%. Go hard or go home.

Turning it Off

I’m a little obsessive with ensuring my phone is charged as much as possible at all times. At any point I’m usually within ten feet of one of my phone chargers. I feel anxious if my batter percentage drops below 50% and immediately begin planning how much time I have to find an outlet and charge the phone again. I’ve met people who don’t care about that stuff and as a result let their phones die. While there’s nothing wrong with that, it can be very inconvenient for people trying to get in contact with them. Let’s not forget that a phone can be helpful if you’re ever stranded. A few years ago I had my phone stolen by a homeless lady.  Needless to say, I was very upset. Not just because I had gone against my better judgment and given her money, but because I had a 16g memory card in my phone that contained pictures and videos from about three years of my college experience. All gone. Needless to say, it wasn’t backed up in a computer and I lost it all. I was devastated. There’s a picture that circulated a while back of a man busy in his phone while he missed the opportunity to see a whale. I wonder how many real life moments I’ve missed because of that same thing. No, I don’t intend to give up my cell phone or downgrade to a non-smart phone, but I do need to be more mindful of what’s around me. And maybe it’s ok to let my phone die or even turn it off once in a while so that I can be 100% tuned into something a bit more meaningful than social media.