Three years ago, I took a leap of faith and returned to the east coast one year after earning a PhD in pursuit of academic career advancement. I knew this opportunity would open doors for me. But I was not at all prepared for the emotional rollercoaster I would experience. Leaving my family, once again, was hard. Being separated from the man I feel in love with was unbearable. We did our best to make the long-distance relationship work. Despite our deep love for one another, the separation took a toll on our relationship, and we ended it. I was racked with guilt, anger, sadness, and grief. At one point, I even felt like I hit rock bottom. I knew I had to be resilient if I wanted to make the most of my post-doctorate training. Otherwise, what was the point?
My journey these past three years has been nothing short of amazing. In the pursuit of career advancement, I have also grown and evolved in ways that are invaluable. I have evolved spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually. Having a strong foundation has allowed me to rise above failure and rejections. There is the illusion that all PhDs in academia are treated equally and fairly and come from privileged backgrounds. Merit and value are measured differently for black women PhDs, particularly for black women who come from first-generation, non-traditional and working-class backgrounds. We continue to move forward in pursuit of our calling, purpose, and mission.
As my current post-doctorate training comes to an end, I will be transitioning into a different academic role. I will be joining a group of gifted researchers as an independent scholar. I have received a one-year research fellowship from the American Association of University Women to continue my work on the advocacy and activism of incarcerated women and the California Coalition for Women Prisoners. The vision was to use the post-doctorate training as leverage to get hired as an assistant professor at a public research university, preferably back home. While the post-doctorate training did not land me my dream job, it did open many doors and opportunities that enriched my life to a degree I could not have imagined.
When I was informed about the grant, I decided that I would move back home. I do my best work when I am near a beach. At the end of the day, I am a Cali girl at heart! I have been living in a small university community for the past three years. While this has been convenient and practical, it has also been flat out boring. So, I have spent the last two months getting my affairs in order with laser focus, but there is nothing fun about all the stuff that goes into preparing for a move. Plus, your physically in one place while your mind has already left for its destination. Nevertheless, I am moving forward and ready for new adventures and opportunities.
I'm L.A. Bound.