When I look back over this year of blogging for Grad Life, I am struck by the incredible challenges and changes that you, my readership, have witnessed. Perhaps some of my journey over the past year has rang true for you on your journey, and perhaps you have been inspired by some of my experiences. I hope that is the case.
When I was caught in the flow of the past year, I must say that I was mainly frustrated, discouraged, and impatient. I did not recognize the experiences that I was having – the travel, the missed flights, the rejections, the hopeful time between the audition and the results, the learning of new repertoire and the learning of a matured voice – as learning experiences. As much as I tried, I could not always see the value of these experiences immediately. What I have realized this summer is that, even though my experiences surely did have immediate educational value, the greater value is in these experiences as a whole and their effect on me as a human being. What I have learned is how I respond to difficulty, and how to recognize signs of stress or of grief in myself. What I have learned is how I can bounce back from some difficult emotional experiences with joy and renewed passion.
Most of all, what I have learned is that nothing is certain – and this has been reflected in my colleagues’ blog posts as well. Grad school, for better or for worse, gives students the idea that success actually does come to people who work hard, with great commitment to their field. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if that was the case? For some it is, but for so many others, it is not at all an accurate representation of life after university. The only opportunity I can count on is the opportunity I make for myself. I am not as cynical as I sound. Making my own opportunities has given me incredible freedom and fulfillment this summer, and I intend to continue to do this in whatever city I end up.
Thank-you for your support this year, in comments and in thoughts sent my way. All the very best, whether you are long past grad school, or just beginning. And may we never stop learning!