It is hard to imagine what my life would be like if I had not come to Ohio University. Then again, it is hard to imagine what my life would be like if I had stayed in Buffalo. As I reflect on my life experience and journey as a graduate student, I am reminded of the bends and obstacles that have complicated my path toward graduation. While these obstacles once seemed insurmountable, I now realize that with great effort comes great accomplishment. With only days left until the end of my graduate experience, I eagerly await my life in Pittsburgh and beginning a professional career in Higher Education. This move will mark my final transition into adulthood and conclude my 19 year career as a fulltime student.
I ended my previous post with a conversation. This conversation took place during an emotionally challenging period in my life where I was uncertain of my academic and professional career. Despite my wife’s logical and somewhat comedic remarks, this conversation represents a sub-text that has existed throughout my academic career: Lack of self-confidence. Though attending graduate school has yielded a significant boost in my confidence, I have never been fully accepting of my skills or abilities. Undoubtedly, this incessant drive toward self-betterment has aided in my academic success and personal accomplishments, but it has also caused a nagging false-perception that has roamed ever-present in the dark spaces of my mind.
Today, I can honestly say that I have learned to let go of this negative perception and believe in myself. This transformation occurred throughout my time at Ohio University, but specifically over the past quarter. Months ago I decided to discontinue my thesis research. While this decision was not an easy one to make, I realized that the priorities in my life no long matched my desire to finish a thesis. Despite not finishing, the experience of writing a thesis has proven invaluable as I have gained a better understanding of my academic abilities as well
as my emotional intelligence. Looking back, I am most proud of the hard work and effort I demonstrated over many hours of reading, writing, and researching.
Though the story of my graduate career is highlighted with ups and downs, I cannot imagine what my life would be like if I had not come to Ohio University. Here, I learned how to work hard, manage a staff, develop relationships, act professionally, think critically, and be assertive in my skills and abilities. Someday, I will pursue a PhD and I am confident that I will finish a dissertation. I am confident, because I understand just how hard a person must work to produce true academic work. Though the path of life offers great obstacles, we must embrace each challenge with confidence, effort, and energy if we are to realize our full potential. I have learned this lesson over a lifetime of challenging experiences and I am now ready to take on the next stage of my life with pride and determination.
For my personal and professional growth during this experience, I would like to thank: Judy Millesen, Holly Raffle, Valerie Conley, Jay Ryu, Marsha Lewis, Mark Weinberg, Brian Roberson, Kelly Hatas, Brent Householder, Chris Quolke, Shirley Acquah, Scott Gill-Jacobson, Kara Kauffman, and my wife Ashley.
“Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.” -Oliver Wendell Holmes