Okay really, does the world need another blog from a crazy 30-something with three letters after her last name that have somehow magically given her the self-importance to share her musings as if it is manna from heaven? Heck no! While I may be crazy, 30-something, and have several acronyms and titles I like to use in different professional situations, this blog isn’t that kind of endeavor. As I sit here writing this inaugural post at 9:00 pm (EST), an hour after the baby has been put to bed, and looking over at my sweet, dork of a husband who has embraced our new-parent-ritual of post-lullaby writing/research time, I am completely fine with the fact that no eyes other than mine may ever read these words. After all, activities/hobbies/exercises like this one are almost always laced with a bit of narcissism and serve the role of self-care at some level, and that is OK!
It has taken a long time for me to finally commit to putting my ideas, lessons learned, and perspectives about my journey in academia out in this manner. However, recent events in my life have put into perspective that there are far too many of us (and I’m especially talking about those of us identifying as non-male) who accomplish pretty amazing things, have exceptional failures, and hack together fairly cool approaches for getting any series of jobs done and never talk about it. (And speaking of those hacking activities, if it weren’t for other crazies like us putting their ideas out into the webiverse, we wouldn’t have been inspired in the first place.)
After all, it is scary being an academic who pushes boundaries and lives on the vanguard, and it is risky to ascribe to the practice of failing early and often when you are committed to a highly traditional field defined by ivory tower perfection.
But, I’m a crazy ENTJ who loves to prototype, doesn’t mind being on the front lines, and ascribes to the idea that if they won’t let me in through the door, I’ll just take the pins out of the hinges.
Most of my friends and colleagues will tell you that I’m a different breed of academic who can’t help but be a disruptive innovator and force of change–an identity that I have been reluctant to embrace until recently. Let’s be real, though, making this aspect of my personality public and tethering it to my professional identity is something that has terrified me for a long time. However, the reality of life in the modern university has meant that my digital silence for many years has led to me down an inauthentic path of not performing the ethos of sharing that I preach in the analog world.
They say becoming a parent changes you, and maybe my little Emersyn Rose is part of the reason why I want to be more open about sharing what I’ve learned as a woman and feral humanist in the university who has had a fairly non-traditional journey. But with the ushering in of a new year, I have made the decision to begin capturing my daily experiences (the highs and the lows) of being the quintessential odd fellow of the humanities–more about that in future posts. With this new series of Field Notes from Academia, it is my hope that a few things are accomplished:
- I attempt to stay a bit saner by giving myself a chance to decompress and reflect on each day in my crazy life in academia;
- I cultivate for my fellow “different” scholars out there a sense of community and camaraderie, should you ever encounter these musings;
- I create an environment for myself where I can practice what I preach about openness and transparency by sharing the lessons I’m learning so others can learn from my mistakes and be able to make even better mistakes faster; and
- I might, just might, empower the random individual who encounters these words to be courageous and self-aware, despite the fact they may be the square peg amongst a sea of round ones, to learn from experience, have empathy for the voices and perspectives of others, and above all else to harness their own creativity to strengthen their communities.
These hopes for my Field Notes are the initial prototype. I am sure they will change and evolve with time. After all, I do love iterating. However, here is to the beginning of a new year and a new commitment to a personal ethnography of sorts. Welcome to my Field Notes from Academia, and should you have any questions don’t be a stranger.