It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.
~Attributed to Harry S Truman
I'm in graduate school. For the second time, in fact. I earned my MA in 2006 and now, I'm back for another degree.
So far, my graduate experience has been challenging, invigorating, exhilarating, and inspiring. As a teacher, I am experiencing the classroom in ways I haven't for over a decade. As a student, I'm feeling confident and purposeful -- adjectives which did NOT describe my first experiences in graduate school almost a decade ago. I'm a nerdy, dorky, easily-excited learner, and that personality (I am finding) works well in school, whether you're at the front of the class or one of its members.
I think the main reason I'm enjoying graduate school is this:
I no longer harbor any delusions about my own brilliance. I know I'm smart enough to be there, but I'm not the smartest in the room; I'm not even ONE of the smartest in the room. So I don't worry about sounding impressive, or trying to seem as though I understand everything being said; I'm not there to try to astound the wanna-be-PhD-intelligentsia or to make sure I say the smartest things in class. I'm there to learn, engage and grow. I love it when a fellow student makes a good point. I may-or-may-not have clapped for someone today when they announced they were presenting at a conference this weekend. Excited-teacher has morphed into excited-student, and I'm allowing myself the freedom to enjoy this oh-so-expensive experience of being a full-time student in my thirties -- because who gets to do that!?! I'm more confident now in who I am and what I'm capable of learning. It's freeing. It's exciting. I'm loving it.
This time around, I've discovered that the classroom is full of my people -- learners and thinkers and pontificate-rs and theorists and humorists and entertainers and book-loving nerds. We over analyze anything that's not nailed down and we think of ridiculous suppositions and we make mistakes regularly and we quote dead people and we quote living people and sometimes, we even quote them correctly. It's like an English Major Fiesta of Greatness
I've found my tribe, ya'll.