As the Semester Ends, the Work Begins

It’s hard to believe that I have all but finished my first semester of graduate school. I have no more face-to-face class sessions and must now spend the next two-three weeks writing papers and book chapters. As I’m writing all these papers (more like brainstorming and trying to fight writers block) I get to look back on everything I have learned this semester.


It’s funny because upon entering grad school I really had no expectations for what it would be like. I had hear things like you’ll never get less than a B. The structure of the classes are a lot different because the professors like teaching and everyone who is there wants to be there. Also I wasn’t sure how to feel about being in such a small program and cohort. My cohort has about 24 students and we will all traverse this grad school experience together all the way through until graduation. Everything you learn is important. And everything you learn needs to be retained for Comps next fall.


It’s interesting to see how far things have come from several months ago when I was not in a very good place upon starting this program. But I have sense found myself again and I feel invigorated and even more ambitious then ever before. The possibilities are endless! When one door closes, another opens. And so far, I am enjoying everything God is showing me.





And So It Begins…

So after much anticipation and eagerness, I have begun my grad school journey. All day today I was pacing and trying to pass the time until my very first class. It didn’t help that the class doesn’t start until 6p so I had a lot of time on my hands.


It felt like my very first day of high school. I don’t think my first day of college was as nerve-racking. But I could not keep from wondering what it would be like. Would the professor lecture the entire time? Would my classmates be a bunch of scholarly professionals? Would the professor lay down the law at the beginning of class setting the tone for the semester? What should I wear? Instead I walked into the classroom and felt like I was back in undergrad. Not back in freshman year undergrad, but upper division undergrad where many of the people in my class were in their mid to late 20s and there were even a few grandmothers, literally! But Instead I felt like I was in another upper division Communications course.


It was a relief to see that not much is different, but I’m sure I will be eating my words tomorrow when I embark on my History course.


In Retrospect

Today it was supposed to storm. So I did what I normally do when it rains, got some food, got into bed, and tuned into the weather channel. While listening to the thunder I started to think about what the plan for graduation was if it rained. I meant to go to the UT website and look it up but instead I got lost in my own thoughts. Graduation. At this time next year I would be a UT alum. Huh? When did this happen?

Last night, while out at a friends house chatting with one of the girls, she asked me what I was going to do when I graduated. This question has slowly become one of my pet peeves over the years. My reply was always the same. “I don’t know, I have some time to think about it.” But last night was different. Instead of being annoyed by the question, I began to ask myself the same thing. “What are you planning on doing, Tava.”

I’ve never been one to really like to plan things far in advance simply because things come up that can alter plans. Instead I prefer to play it by ear. But can you really play your future by ear? I began to think of all of my friends. Each of them have a life or career goal post college ranging from non-profit social justice work to medical school. And they are all extremely driven. I began to ask myself, where’s my drive? Where’s my passion?

These two questions have been on my mind for quite some time now. But it’s not that I lack the drive or the passion. I lack the courage.

While at school, I’ve had the opportunity to be involved in a variety of things. Black organizations, women’s organizations, religious organizations, progressive organizations, and LGBTQ organizations. Each very much important to me, but very different from each other. One of my friends asked me why I never had parties or invite all of my friends over. I told him that it was because each of my friends were very different and to have them all over would seem more like an awkward social experiment than a party.

After I made this comment, I started to wonder why I was so reluctant to have a gathering where all of my friends interacted? It was fear. The fear of having do defend and own up to all of my identities. The fear of losing some of my friends because of it. And then I came across a quote by bell hooks, “I will not have my life narrowed down. I will not bow down to somebody else’s whim or to someone else’s ignorance.”

Everything I’m involved in, I do because I’m passionate about it. And while I don’t know what I plan to do in the future or even tomorrow for that matter, I do know who I am. I’m black, I’m a woman, a feminist, an ally, and an activist. And I know with God’s guiding hand I will find my purpose.