I'm not even going to acknowledge how long it's been since I last posted. I have no excuse.
The last time I posted, I was on the verge of defending my dissertation proposal, which was an incredible experience thank to the three brilliant committee members who have agreed to stick with me during this process. I had compared that period of time to being engaged. I had already made a symbolic commitment to the school and the degree, too much so to back out, but the prospect of entering new territory, running my own research study, was daunting. Now THAT was commitment of marriage caliber.
You guys. Marriage is AWESOME! I'm not referring to my husband in this case, although that marriage is awesome too. I'm talking about the deep commitment I made as soon as my committee accepted my proposal and said "go get 'em". My research and more importantly, my participants, have been constantly inspiring, challenging, and teaching me. There are many things I learned the hard way. My first recruitment session was, well, underwhelming. I bounced into a classroom, went on my spiel, passed out my consent forms, said all the right things, then sat back in my chair and waited for the students to come flocking in. Yeah, no.
The next time around, I got savvy to the most powerful tool on the face of the planet: texting. Anyone who was interested could give me a contact number or address,and then they wouldn't have to worry about contacting me, because I could do all of the work for them and they could just respond. And one day and a case of thumb arthritis later, I had more interviews scheduled than I had in the past month of recruiting. Basically, the students from my first round of recruiting had forgotten all about me. And why shouldn't they? They are balancing life, school, family, work, and a social life, so this yahoo coming in talking about "having their voices heard" and confidential conversations, and informed consent wasn't going to be a more than a blip on the radar. Why didn't I think of this sooner??
Recruitment aside, the stories that they tell are so compelling. I am constantly in awe of the resiliency, capacity, and sophistication of how these students make sense of their experience. It is such a joy and a privilege to be able to hear, and write about, their stories.
In a little over a week, my classmates and I will be official ABD's. It feels a little strange, liberating, and exciting. Now my classroom is entirely the students whose stories I will be writing.
Today I am grateful for students and whoever invented texting.