I know in my last post, I said I was going to talk about how to find your why.
But a post I saw on Twitter this morning changed that.
The OP wrote.
“I am a first-generation scholar, and I am due to start a Ph.D. in 2 days. I have no community in the city I live in, and no idea what I’m supposed to be doing. Any and all
advice for students from working-class backgrounds who feel overwhelmed and out of place at the start of this process?”
I get it.
You see, I am a first-generation college student from a working-class family. When I started my Ph.D., I was in my mid 40’s and had been out of school since 1996 when I graduated from law school. On paper, I was good enough to pursue a Ph.D., but I was overwhelmed and scared in my head.
What if I can’t do this? I don’t know anyone. And maybe I don’t belong here.
Then I remembered something.
I had survived every new adventure; my roots and experience were what kept me going.
I decided to be vulnerable and see my new journey as an opportunity.
So, on the first day of classes, my professors did some great icebreaker exercises to help us get to know each other. Some students may have come from different backgrounds but were here for the same thing.
And they were scared and overwhelmed, just like me.
When we find ourselves in a new environment where everyone is similar in some way, there is a natural tendency to gravitate toward each other. However, my research with postsecondary adult learners found that despite adult learners coming from different backgrounds and beliefs, they were connected by one thing. They were pursuing their degree.
In my response to the Twitter post, I reminded the OP that they have survived and thrived on getting to this place. Those skills will kick in, and you will succeed. Be vulnerable and open to meeting people and finding your crew. They feel just as you are. While it can be difficult to navigate alone, together, you are unstoppable.