Next week I start year 2 of my PhD…yeah, I’m still trying to let that sink in too!
To say that this last year has been a challenging blur would be to ignore the last 10 years I spent getting to this point. In fact, at this time 10 years ago I wasn’t even in the country, I was overseas and totally oblivious to the life defining truths and struggles I was about to encounter.
I don’t want to revisit those times, because to do so would return me to a time before; it would be to retrace a path that is dead, dense, and uninteresting. Indeed, a Kafkaesque transformation required me to see beyond, into a multitude of possibilities. But I also had to be willing to grab onto an opportunity, though not for myself or by myself. As I sprint forward along this much clearer and brighter path, I’m never by myself.
I’m learning how much I’m in good company as I work through my comprehensive exams. It fills me with more joy than I can express to find scholars who “feel” the world as I do. It is even more joyful to share what I’m learning with my colleagues, students, and family, even if I sometimes trip off the path and get lost in the weeds. I still find my way back, and thankfully everyone is patient with my clumsiness.
I didn’t post much last year because with all of the noise in the world it was hard to confine myself into writing. I suspect that this year may be a bit quieter, and I want to push myself and find time to write again. When I write, my real soul speaks louder than when I try to talk. Writing allows me to convey how I see the world, how I make sense of all I come across.
So while I plan to be doing my comprehensive exam later this fall, I want to use this blog to work through some of what I’m learning. It’s a lot of complex theories about treaties, law, and cross-cultural legal tensions. Considering I’ve actively avoided studying law most of my life, I’ve learned these last 10 years that we often avoid things that are good for us, even areas of study. I was trying to fit myself into roles that I wasn’t quite comfortable with, though I never knew why. Even at this level of education, at this point in my work, I’m still learning what is best for me…and it’s all because others have led me to it, though I should note that I never made it easy on them.