Greetings to all eyes that have fell upon this blog. I wanted to take a little bit of time to offer each of you some advice. I know, advice is like opinions and everyone has one. There is another saying, but it’s language is inappropriate for the intended purpose.
I ask that you please be patient and hear me out. Maybe something I have to say will stick with you and help you in your future coursework. The past year has been a fast rollercoaster ride for me. Upon completing my undergraduate studies at Kean in the Fall 2020 term, I was fortunate enough to transition right into this magnificent M.A. program.
This ride has not been an easy one, by any means. It started off as one would in the first cart of that coaster, climbing the hill before the first big drop down the rapid rails. I started with my hands in the air anticipating what was going to come, a series of ups and downs. When spring break started, I felt the ride come to an abrupt reduction of speed.
COVID caused a new way of life for each and everyone of us. It challenged us to adapt to a new way of learning and interacting with one another. For me, I was against the whole idea of continuing my educational journey because of multiple reasons. With my military back ground, I am accustomed to having structure. Having accountability for actions, and with the online education environment, I felt as many of those things were missing. When in person, I knew that I had to be somewhere at a certain time. In an online environment, I have been surrounded by distractions that keep me from focusing. I could go on and on about the different things that occurred that made me make certain choices. Which I have to live with.
With this being my final semester in the program, one year after starting, I have to say that I am envious of the University’s stance on returning to campus in Fall of 2021. I hope that each of you will find your passion for writing, and use it to complete your thesis work. You have a journey ahead of you that is exciting and can also be nerve wrecking.
For my thesis, I wanted to help my community of fellow veterans that also suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. Many of you may not know, and you could never tell by looking at me, at times, but I’m considered to be one-hundred percent disabled for my mental illness of P.T.S.D.. Writing has been the most effective tool that I’ve used to combat my negative thoughts and recollecting memories to help me push through them.
In doing my own autoethnography, I often would subject myself to many dark places that I want to put behind me. I let my research and work bring me back to a very toxic mind set. For those reasons, I have had to step away from the work, for now.
So what is this advice I have for you? Plain and simple, find what it is you care about. What drives you, and what inspires you to be in this program. If you use that, your thesis work will come very naturally to you. But beware, when you take on certain ideas and make yourself vulnerable, you are subjecting yourself to adding more scars and pain. Be self aware. Know what your limits are and respect your own boundaries. If your intentions are to help others, how will you be able to do so when you cannot help yourself?
It is okay to struggle and experience emotions related to your work. What ever you do, promise to take care of yourself. “Emotional pain is not something that should be hidden away and never spoken about. There is truth in your pain, there is growth in your pain, but only if it’s brought out into the open.”(Steven Aitchison)
You will have the benefit of being in person, with your peers. If you ever feel like you are alone or need some one to talk with, we have an outstanding advisor, and commandant, Dr. Zamora. She really is passionate and cares for each and everyone of her pupils. Talk to her, talk to anyone. Never bury your inner struggles to the point of finding yourself struggling to dig your way out.