This is a funny one. Initially, I saw it on pinterest (of course) and I didn’t repin. It rubbed me funny. I think that is because as a writer and academic I have to try and work for the audience. Is that not trying to impress? I teach this every day in the classroom to my students. Write for your readers and then write for yourself (of course I mean that in academic realm) That might not always be as noble as this beautiful pin up. We teach them to hook or to anticipate their audience’s reactions and as academics we try and say what hasn’t been said, isn’t that to get noticed?
I think that is the pull I feel and the struggle I am having in graduate school. I am not a horn tooter. I don’t try and get every single person to hear me to the extent I drown everyone else out. But I think that is my Achilles heel in this arena. Maybe I am not that wonderful at all. But because I don’t do those things I feel like I get lost in the mix sometimes. I rely on what I put out to speak for itself and I am not sure that gets you places in graduate school. The old saying, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease” rings true here. I am not a squeaky wheel. I am not sure I even want to be. Most of the time I am just happy to be working with people who get it, happy to work with students who want to be there and happy to work in an environment that respects learning. (Side note: I feel like I have written on this before so excuse some of the repeated thoughts)
But today as I sat talking with my students about their writing and I really heard what they had to say I felt like I got it. I do love teaching because most of the time it is me doing the learning. I do love to listen to them talk about their writing and what brought them here. I liked to share that I, too, struggle with the same problems they do. And I like when I share that they nod and feel connected to me. The conversation was deep and meaningful in ways that I cannot place into research papers or tell my uppers to prove my worthiness. I can try the best I can but most of the time it is just the parts of being a teacher that no one really understands unless you are doing it. It is why we accept little pay and few rewards. But these moments just confirm for me that I would be wasting myself not teaching. Maybe it isn’t at my university or even in that type of setting at all. I don’t know where it will be but I have been thinking hard how I can transform what I am doing into something I can see myself doing that will be the change I want to see in the world. I just continue to struggle being a part of the machine.
Please tell me I am not the only one who feels this way? Maybe it is because my passion is broad right now. I need that passion honed in. I need to apply it somewhere to something and I am just not there yet. I need to seek out that cause and express it. I know where it is; I guess I just need to be honest with myself and identify it. It is one of those tip of my tongue moments. In my head it makes complete sense. But verbally it won’t come out yet. Soon. Soon.