Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A reflective thought for the morning - life's path and a PhD

"Wonder" - flickr user Jeremy Isaacson
Fifteen years ago, 10 years ago, 5 years ago, I would see PhD opportunities come through my email stream almost daily and I'd gaze at them, wondering if I could do it, longing to try, to test my mettle, yearning for more learning.

A little less than five years ago, at the encouragement of my partner​, we decided the timing was right to at least see if this path was one we wanted to take. After lots of discussion, even more prayer, and so. much. time listening for answers - the answers came in. And they came in by the shipload. It was clear that I was being called to teaching and education. In what capacity, I didn't know (still don't). But a PhD was THE next step to take.

Trusting in those assurances we were heading in the right direction, but not seeing/knowing the outcome - where would it lead me, what sort of job would I eventually be in, where would we be living, etc. - was incredibly difficult for me...because I'm a planner and like the control of my own destiny. But I soon came to realize I was focusing too much on the exact path and where it took me rather than lifting my head and looking around, appreciating the moment and everything around me. And it's glorious! I'm still working on honing this new perspective for me, but it's lovely, this horizon line.

After swallowing the collective lumps in our throats, steadying our nerves, and trusting in the ways that are right and just, we stepped off into the the great unknown. And what a journey it's been. It's not always easy - in fact, many times the path is fraught with troubles. But I'm so grateful to be in this PhD program, in this moment in my life, with such remarkable support from friends, family, and my partner and children.

All this, and so much more, came immediately bubbling up when I saw an email in my inbox this morning for a PhD opportunity at Iowa State University. While I have taken to passing over these PhD opportunity emails (at least for the time being), for whatever reason seeing the email this morning struck me quick. And helped me realize just how grateful I am to be here. If I wouldn't have listened to my heart, listened to trusted friends and family around me, nor had my head up and eyes and ears open to all the signs pointing me here, I may still be sailing troubled waters.

Funny how these things happen.

If YOU have ever been curious about graduate school and want to chat, I'm happy to - leave a comment here and we'll connect. If you're looking for a listing of federal jobs, check out USA Jobs. If you're looking for graduate school jobs, check out NatureJobs and ScienceCareers. If you're a recent graduate of college, or a current student, check out this job board. Looking for a fisheries career, check out the AFS jobs board (THE most visited page on their website). Looking for a wildlife career, check out TWS jobs board. Looking for academic jobs, check out Chronicles of Higher Education's job postings. Looking for non-academic jobs, check out VersatilePhD.

Thank you for sharing this reflective moment with me. Now go follow your heart.