So I know I didn’t post much this year (as my annual report will tell you) but it’s been one hell of a year! I’m gonna try to keep this recap to 12 (main) bullet points, though…

  • January brought my first official conference as a PhD student. I was only able to go because I served as a Deputy Volunteer Coordinator: free conference registration + small stipend that covered my flight & hostel. I learned that the research ideas I had at the time were being used by other social workers and yay, awesomesauce! \0/ I also confirmed my second year advisor and made some major academic progress.
  • In February I got to meet the woman whose work inspired me to think about pursuing the PhD. We talked about being woman Blackademics and she even provided me with some feedback on my research ideas.
  • March saw the announcement that I needed another surgery for endometriosis. It was a pretty full month, as I spent most of my time wrapping up the academic quarter and preparing for the fundraiser. I also stumbled into some drama with my department. Yay, PhD politics.
  • I launched the fundraiser in April and right around that time, I also stopped hiding from my ex boyfriend. On the one hand, I knew that there would be lots of questions about who I am, what with the fundraiser. But really? the main impetus was that I was tired of looking over my shoulder.
  • In May, I wrapped up my fundraiser, chewed on my research ideas some more, congratulated my play sis on successfully defending her dissertation, TA’d my first class, and basically did WAY too much at once. But I emerged from it feeling better, with all my goals in tact, and with awesome grades!
  • June was a very big month! I finished up the school year, started packing for my upcoming move, and had my surgery. I realized that I learned a lot that quarter, including some clinical perspectives that proved beneficial to both my professional and personal lives.
    • Sadly, my surgery did not go as well as we hoped. I almost bled out on the operating table, so the doctor decided to cut the operation short. I will have to return for more surgery – stay tuned.
  • July was a hot ass mess – but only figuratively so. I didn’t even blog that month because I was so affected by everything that happened to me. I can’t really discuss it all, although several people know what went on. Suffice it to say the events nearly led me to leave my program.
  • August wasn’t much better, as I felt like I was under water with no hopes of catching a breath.  Fortunately, I was able to find inspiration in people I learned about through twitter: (#LoveForLondyn, Temar Boggs, & @FrancisinMD)
  • I still hadn’t gotten the Universe’s message by September, so I was forced to slow down by way of (what should only be a temporarily debilitating) car accident. As of this writing, I’m still using a cane to get around BUT I have learned what I needed to learn: I am but human. Not only am I merely human but I also happen to have added limitations within that humanity. The only way I will make it is to be #patientandgentle with myself. This academic journey is quite possibly going to take longer than I’d planned and is certainly not going in the direction that I wanted. Rather than rage against everything and everyone, I am learning to chill. I say learning because it’s still a process.
  • Furthermore, in September, I got word that a roundtable I’m participating in was accepted to that very conference I attended for the first time in January!
  • Having got the message and wanting a new beginning by October, I decided to consider starting over – with my blog, my life, and much of my academics. I haven’t been successful with all parts but that’s okay! (See what I did there?) And also a rather fantastic development happened in my personal life. But we’ll save that for later. *giggle*
  • November was full of midterms and finals prep on the surface, plus secret exploration of things on the underside. There was more academic drama but I stood up for myself in a much-needed way so things have been pretty quiet since. I think that’s a great thing. I hope… I don’t do holidays, so “Thanksgiving” was a remembrance of those who died during the colonization of this country and a day for getting work done. But also this homeless guy got a great surprise for being a decent human.
  • And here we are, on the last day of the last month, December. I wrapped up the quarter with a little flair. So far, I’ve got As in two of my three classes, but my 3rd professor won’t be done grading for another week. In the meantime, I shared some advice and resources for nontraditional college students and scored classes with two amazing profs for next quarter. I also scored my first solo conference presentation!

With a very full, very unpleasant 2013, I have a few GOALS for 2014:

  • Professional/Academic
    • Finish my required academic coursework. I still have a few classes that I’d like to take to support my professional development, but by June, I will have my MA and be done with PhD classes.
    • Become a PhD Candidate. In my department (and most others, I believe), a student does not achieve candidacy until they have passed exams and defended their proposal. I have the additional task of submitting a paper to a peer-reviewed journal. Fortunately, this last part is taken care of via the conference I’m presenting at
      • Pass my qualifying exams. Once I get past this hurdle, I can really focus on redirecting my research goals.
      • Defend my dissertation proposal. Even though I’ve had to start over with my research plans, I don’t see any reason why I couldn’t have a proposal finished by a year from now. I already have entrée at a site, so defending by December 2014 leaves me all of 2015 to conduct research. That means I could actually be done writing up and defend in time to graduate by June 2016 – on schedule. If I end up doing a secondary analysis, I just might even graduate by December 2015.
  • Personal
    • Finally master meditation. I’ve known for a few years that I need to get comfortable with being intentionally still. Now that I have #patientandgentle on my mind, I think I can not only get comfortable with it but also learn to use that time.
    • Get off my cane. While I am incredibly grateful for the compassion I’ve gained through firsthand experience with a disability I would really like the healthcare and auto insurance systems to function properly and support my healing.
    • Organize my health. This sounds weird but I get it and that’s what matters. I know it is a LOT to ask of myself, considering my chronic illness. At the same time, I want to be doing as much as I can to limit surprise sickness, pain, and all the rest. I still feel like my medical teams are all over the place and that’s not okay with me.
    • Travel. I’m already going to San Antonio and Las Vegas for conferences and back to The Bay Area for surgery, but I’d like to get out of the country at least once, even if just across either border for a weekend or so. Ideally, I’ll be somewhere in the Caribbean/Latin America for Spring Break (sponsorships accepted).
    • Learn to use my spiritual abilities. I don’t talk about it much, but I need to work on this aspect of my life in a major way. I do believe that undeveloped gifts can turn into weights or barriers to one’s growth and I’m starting to sense that this is happening.
  • ENJOY MYSELF. No more misery in 2014. I think that explains itself.

I almost fell into the trap of making this a longer list but, #patientandgentle. There will always be room for adjustment as the year goes on, so I will leave the list as is for now. In the meantime, ring in the new year with my favorite new Beyoncé song:

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