If there was something to perfectly encapsulate what I have discovered this semester, it is the words of Emily McDowell found above. When I arrived in at OSU on Aug the 20th, I did the whole, “I know what I’m doing” act, but on the inside was saying “I’m here to find myself.”
In a rough sixteen weeks, my mind and body feel as if they have been subject to a Tilt-a-Whirl at the fair, continually orbiting, hoping for grounding, but never being rewarded such a privilege: I think I just need to make a home here. I have found myself in a tug-of-war with my belonging as an educator and insufficiency in my choreographic voice, battling to understand if and how the two intersect. I’m happy to say that in the last week a peer from Seattle helped me realize they do. Therefore, in the present tense, I am rooting myself in the Decolonization of Education, specifically the Dance Curriculum and on an interpersonal level the Queer Body regarding sexuality and spirituality. If there is one thing I have learned this semester, this inspiration may stay, but it also may flee, so in the meantime, I am compiling a few pieces of literature to accompany me during the break, among a few more if the Library requests pull through (fingers crossed).
Past this bodily shedding of conditional residue, I have learned gratitude thanks to my cohort. Ironically, I usually bring to the table the saying of “Start each day with a positive thought,” but I realize I have been anything but that this semester and I humbled by my cohort for being the voice of reason I needed. I’ll work on unburying this part of me for sure!
In a one-on-one with Dr. Kosstrin, I discussed my inept feeling during discussions in her Analysis course, but also in my Educational Psychology class, for different reasons. She offered me a crucial reflection piece when she said, “Somedays the material will set immediately, and other days it will take a few classes for it to click and that’s okay.” I remember just last week having one of these “clicking” moments. I was speaking to a peer, Tara about “aboutness” (it’s our favorite topic!). I was trying to remind her about an article we read about scopic regimes (from Vicky Watts no less!) that compiled an individual’s perception of a piece or score via their cultural background and conditioned navigation of the world. At the moment I remember speaking from my “being” to a peer, rather than as a student trying to meet the definition of a “scholar.” I carry this feeling with me often to remind myself, I am capable.
Lastly, I reflect on my Educational Psychology class. (YIKES!) While it was in itself a tilt-a-whirl, it allowed me to construct and gain evidential support for my pedagogical practices. I acquired fancy Bloom Taxonomy words like analyze, construct, excavate, and synthesize, all referring to the epistemic development of my hypothetical students and aligned my teaching philosophy within structures of empirical evidence. Additionally, I gained the perspective of “learning to understand” regarding learning as a process; rather than, to gain knowledge as a product like I had previously learned.
In a further rambled, I learned that its okay to be vulnerable, there is no shame in it. It’s okay to take it seriously and to not other days. Its okay to take space for myself and for my partner and that the secret recipe for balance lies in myself, not hidden in my peers. I make this life what I put into it, and it’s okay that somedays I don’t put in 100%. Its okay to be homesick, but this feeling of belonging I seek needs to be found in my voice and that of my research: I can’t be in a forever search of belonging. Initially, at the end of this semester, I was seeking a re-set, but now I wish to deepen an already rooted foundation. As my brother reminds me and my childhood bedroom at that, “Life is about waiting for the storm to pass it about learning to dance in the rain.” This used to be the cheesy quote that surrounded my life, but I finally get it.