Little disclaimer, I wrote this a week ago, but I forgot to post it. Since it is a #TransformationTuesday and not a #WisdomWednesday, I decided to delay for a week rather than posting late. Forgive me!
Today is a very special Transformation Tuesday because it is a professional transformation for me. When I return from the Thanksgiving break I will be learning what comes for me in my new life in a new lab. I am very excited for this transformation because I feel as if there is nothing better for me right now. I know that only great things will come from this and I could not be more excited!
So, what happened in my life that rang the transformation bell? What happened started with my advisor moving to a new university. Since she has left, I have learned so much about her and her reasons for leaving that it makes me wonder how anybody survives in this world as we know it. But on top of that, it made me really think about what I wanted and needed for myself. It was she who first pointed out to me that I was unhappy. It was she who suggested that I go talk to other people and figure out what I needed. It was she who pushed my kayak away from the shore, handed me the paddle and said, “come back when you figure it out.”
Now that I have figured it out, I feel a greater sense of acceptance already than I did in the two years I spent in the lab that I left. I loved my advisor and my group members, but there was always something missing. It still shocks me when people cannot believe the decision that I made. I don’t know how I could have passed it up. I had an opportunity to join a larger lab under a professor who has more experience and really cares about making sure that I do what I want to do. And not just what I want to do now, but the things that help me do what I want to in my future. This is probably the biggest void I had felt in the previous lab.
I already said that I loved my advisor and group members, and yet I have gotten angry with something that she did probably every day since I made the decision to leave. It isn’t her fault, and it is mostly pent up anger and passive aggressions that I did not know existed until now. For example, I recently presented my research at a conference and the most distinguished person in the room told me, in not so many words, that my project had no future. How do you take that when you have to maintain your professional composure? It was not the platform to mention that I had already figured that out and therefore was switching laboratories. I could not defend myself in that way, I smiled and said, “thank you. Everything you have said is already being taken under consideration.” It hurt. I could not focus on any of the other presentations in my session, which was really unfortunate because it was the session I was most looking forward to before the conference.
In this transition, and my personal acceptance of the situation I have brought to be, I have talked to many many people who I have all kinds of relationships with. I have gotten the friend, also in graduate school, who very bluntly says, “well screw them,” whenever I need to hear it. I have talked to other faculty members both at my university and at my previous institution, and they have all said it sounds like I am putting myself in a great situation and made the right choice. The first person on the outside who I told shook my hand and told me congratulations. It was what I needed that day. It was after 4:30 PM on a Friday afternoon, and it was what I needed. Hearing that made a world of difference for my weekend.
At the end of the day, this is going to be difficult for me to accept for a while. I will be submitting a master’s thesis to close out the work I have already done and I will begin on a project that I think has a lot of potential and will continue when I leave here. Neither of these things would have happened if I had stayed. The most frequent question that I get is if this will delay graduation, and I am so thankful that somebody finally put it into words and truth for me yesterday. He said, “you know, you would be delayed more if you stayed than you will be leaving.” Oh! It is the honest truth. I have been saying that far less politely for some time now. I know that I just need to move on and do my best and rewards will come, especially now that the people in my corner has grown exponentially in size. I will be great and I will do great things.