grateful list: opportunities

Sometimes when I look back at my life I wonder how the heck I wound up where I am now. Things could have gone very differently for me if I hadn't had particular opportunities in life to get it together. I look back on some of the experiences I've been fortunate enough to have like being a camp counselor during high school and college; having a really great part-time job in high school where not only was I able to make my own money but was also able to learn from my co-workers some very wise lessons about life. I am thankful for the teachers I had in high school who helped me discover the joy in writing creatively again. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to go to college where I was able to meet amazing people, to live with my grandparents and to learn. I know that some people cannot afford education or that it is not privileged in the environments in which they grow up. Thankfully, my parents embrace intellectual processes. There was never a question of whether or not I would go to college, only where. I was good at academics. It was one thing I knew how to do. I joke that I was born to be an academic but it's kinda true.

In order to come to terms with academia as a career, however, I needed some time to figure things out. I'm lucky that I was able to travel to Paris and London and spend some time trying to find myself. I guess it is a bit anti-climactic that I ended up back in Alabama for my Master's but it made sense at the time and it was a time I needed.

When I decided to pursue my Ph.D. I had no idea what was in store. I'm grateful for the opportunities to study with some excellent, supportive professors. I think the acknowledgments to my dissertation reflect the diverse professors with whom I was able to work. I feel like my Ph.D. experience, while strange and wonderful and chaotic, was full of amazing opportunities that still serve me well. There are times I miss it tremendously. Just to have the opportunity to participate in higher education makes me truly lucky, indeed.

But I've a lot of opportunities along the way for which I'm grateful. I also appreciate that I have a job I love and that I'm able (sometimes) to make a difference in my students' lives. I'm grateful for the opportunities to go to conferences, to visit with old friends and colleagues and to geek out with other people who love the same stuff I do. I always feel refreshed and energized after conferences, like having great conversations with friends.