Dear Sista Friend,
As my first year in my doctoral program comes to an end I’ve been reflecting on everything that has happened. I have experienced so much change! I graduated with my masters, quit my full-time salaried job (I miss my coins), moved across the country, started a doctoral program where I didn’t know a soul, and fell in love (heeyy hunny!).
I was so undecided on whether or not to even apply to this PhD program. I overthink everyyytthhinngg! After talking things over with friends and my masters advisor, I decided to “just do it” and see what happens. If God presented me with the opportunity then I was supposed to go. I initially moved here with no funding but I knew He wouldn’t bring me this far and not provide. Of course, as the summer progressed things – slowly – fell in place. As I’ve grown over the past year I’m learning – sometimes the hard way because I can be pretty impatient – that letting go and taking risks often results in rewards you could never even imagine.
The blessings that have your name on them are only for you. My doctoral advisor said to me the other day, “Devean, you’ve done a lot in your first year!” I’m like, “who me?!” Lol Five years ago – two years even – I would have never dreamed I would be where I am today and at the same time it feels like – and I know – this is exactly where I am supposed to be.
I am surrounded by amazing, magical Black women who are doing transformative work. They often push me to be more social, submit conference proposals (argh!) and write what’s really in my heart. Their support and friendship has been crucial in my development over the past year because I am certainly not the same person.
Change is hard. Growth is hard. And it’s certainly uncomfortable. But most of all it’s a process. So how do you overcome big life transitions?
- Time. Be nice to yourself. You won’t have it all figured out at once. It takes time to learn your surroundings. Learn the ends and outs of the system – whether it’s grad school policies or work policies and procedures. I was starting all over my first semester. Meeting new people, learning new routines, adjusting to a new environment; it was A LOT. I was homesick (I still miss Dallas so much!). But it honestly gets better over time. You eventually find your groove.
- Have fun. Who says change and transition have to suck?! Enjoy it! Take advantage of learning new things and learning from new people. You never really know what an experience has to offer until after you’ve gone through it. And even then you may not realize the benefit of it until much later. I’m a home body and some might say anti-social lol (I really just love my couch and peace & quiet!) But every now and then I’m like okay let me go be social. Let me go get those drinks with friends. Community is important! My girl time with my #sistascholars is always refreshing. We can vent to one another, empathize and most of all encourage each other to keep pushing.
Don’t be afraid to embrace change and transition. Believe me, I know it’s scary but you will come out the other side a better version of yourself.
Your Sista Friend,