End of the Year Reflection

It is easy to reflect on the things that did not work out this year. That one paper that didn’t get published or that exam you thought you would do better in. What about the results were not what you hoped for? We so easily slip into the mindset of “I didn’t” or “I couldn’t” before we think about the accomplishments with the things that we did! Before the end of the year, take a moment to reflect. Reflect on the steps you have taken to succeed this year. Day by day, you worked and with that commitment, you have ended up on the other side of the semester and the year. If it were easy, anybody would do it. If it were easy then graduate school would be a piece of cake. Think about your mindset going into the beginning of the semester and the questions you asked. How am I going to get this all done? How am I going to get through this? What if I fail? But here we are, you got it all done, you got through it and you succeeded. Even if there were small failures along the way, they are lessons learned for the bigger successes.

As you take the time to reflect, also think about not what you would have changed, but how your approach in 2018 can help improve some key setbacks you may have encountered. What are you going to do differently? Are you going to be a better planner? Are you going to take more time for yourself? Are you going to join a study group? Answers from your reflection session should help improve your experience in the following year. Look at these as pre-meditated goals. So before you put the books, research and all tasks down for 2017, set a few goals for next semester. These can be simple goals like the answers to your self-reflection questions, because setting even the simplest goals so soon, allows you to challenge yourself on having the mindset of how you are going to crush 2018!!

In 2017, you:

Rose Up,

Rose Above, 

And Rose Beyond the doubters.

Kudos on a successful year!

Rediscovering Your Motivation

Sometimes for reasons unknown to us, we lose our motivation to continue the clock work grind that we have been doing day in and day out. When was the moment I realized I did not want to go into the lab or write another paper? I asked myself this question so many times, and there is going to be a time (if you have not already done so) that you ask yourself the same thing. All this means, is that you are human and some days are going to be harder to find the meaning of it all; more than the other days. Most times, we choose our research topics and questions based on key moments that take place in our lives or we form them based on our passion or a derivative of our passions. This does not mean that in some instances we would not rather learn or discover something else, even if just for a brief moment. When you eat, breathe and sleep the same topic, an underlying feeling of frustration develops, especially when it is not always smooth sailing. So how do we step back and regroup in order to prevent our frustration from evolving to disdain?

The first thing to ask yourself is why did you sign up for this program? At some point, there was a belief that the world can be changed by a novel idea or expanded knowledge. Something someone missed before that you have now uncovered. If that reason is not groundbreaking enough for you then think about the opportunity you have. You are in the minority. More clearly, you are in the very small percentage of folks who have taken the step to get an advanced degree.

Let’s be clear, yes you are doing this for yourself, but you are also doing this for the young black girl who has been observing your journey. You may not know who she is and she may be the most unlikely person you had in mind. But because of your courage, she is now hoping to become you when she grows up.

Never forget about your tribe your tribe will keep you going so let them. When you misstep, they are there to encourage and let you know that you got this. When you succeed in even the small things, they will be there to say they told you that you were magic! Just by their presence, you are going to realize, these people have been on the journey with you and you owe it to them to see it through.

Lastly, it may sound cliché and many of us are afraid to admit it. But God can do anything, and he will do it! I have a praying family and I am not ashamed to say that they prayed for me every single day. In the same breath the question of why am I feeling this way is asked, self-reflect and ask for the guidance and motivation that is needed. Ask for the extra push. It will be provided.