Show And Tell – 10 Years Later

The last few weeks have been challenging and unique (at best). And in this weird topsy-turvy strange new world in which we find ourselves, I think it’s important to take some time to celebrate the small things.

Yesterday, while I was rage baking between meetings, a calendar prompt reminded me that today is the anniversary of my (spoiler alert: successful) PhD defence. Today marks 10 years from the moment I stood before an audience of 60+ people for the greatest and most stressful round of show-and-tell in which I’ve ever been involved.

Much has changed since then for me, and it’s honestly hard to believe these last 10 years have been so packed. Academically speaking, there have been numerous papers written, presentations given, grant proposals submitted (some lost, some won), courses taught, and committees chaired since then. There have been countless hours of grading, frustrating hours of research and this code just isn’t working, and moments where I felt completely useless and stupid and wondering to myself that surely today will be the day that they ask for the PhD back. And there have been moments where I’ve worried that I was screwing up everything, particularly the lives and education of the students with whom I teach.

But mostly, there have been so many excellent memories and experiences that have taught me, and shaped and reshaped my world view. And in almost all of these cases, the things that have affected me the most have been a direct result of the influence of the students that have passed through the doors of my classes, or have opted to work with me on research or community-engaged projects. They have challenged me and made me reconsider how I understand the world around me, and they have helped me unlearn some of the things that I once considered gospel. For better or worse, the students have and continue to shape the person I am, and I am incredibly grateful for that.

There have, of course, been many other incredible experiences that have been stuffed into the space between that round of show-and-tell 10 years ago and now. So many memories that tell a story that a younger version of me would never imagined possible.

The list of things for which I am grateful is long, and I think that’s worth celebrating, especially today.

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