Ends, goals, objectives; we are often so focused towards the success that comes after a journey or an ordeal, the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’, that we often forget the thrill, the heart beat and the excitement that come with’Beginnings’. The disappointments and the hardship we inevitably do experience in the middle are, alas, plenty sufficient to make us forget about said Beginnings. It is indeed sad that such Beginnings are often left within the deep closets of our memories, things we only recollect to sigh at or to remind us of our initial innocence and naiveté.
So here I am, eager to make the most of my first year in this PhD program in Political Science, excited at the thought of reading papers (although I am already getting sick and tired of Morgenthau, Waltz, and such), and hopeful that time will only bring challenges and achievements worthy to be taken.
Yes, here I am, ready to be pleasantly surprised at the simplest things, and ready to emit purrs of joy at every single ‘new thing’ of the day.
I am pleasantly surprised to see so many female professors in the faculty. Not to discredit my two favorite male professors at GSIS, but still, it is only that I am here and now that I realize the utter lack of female presence in the faculty at GSIS or in the IR department in my undergrad (I only had one female professor in undergrad, who wasn’t even there until I was a sophomore or a junior.)
I am excited to have bought my lunch box+bag and to have made my very first bagel sandwich. I know, making a bagel sandwich doesn’t constitute as ‘cooking’ per se, but if you knew my absolute lack of interest or enjoyment at any form of cooking, you would surely rejoice and celebrate with me. Plus, who wouldn’t be excited to bring a lunch bag bigger than an iPad to school?
I’ve been told of the 8-hour Comprehensive exam I have to take (three of them) at the end of my coursework, I’ve listened to the ‘real’ struggles of current PhD students with their thesis and further on with their future career plan, and I’ve been advised to wisely distinguish between ‘what I like’ and ‘what I’m good at’ (I’m suddenly reminded of the ‘What is desirable’ and ‘What is possible’ emulated by Morgenthau himself in the realm of International Politics…). And yes, surely, soon enough, I will be pulling my hair off (figuratively of course, I do cherish my hair, and would like to maintain it) going through the reading and work load for each course, wishing I had listened to the many warnings against going for a PhD.
But just for now, I feel I owe it to myself and to the world to enjoy every moment I have been given.
Just because there is not enough appreciation for the little things in this world.
Just because ends and goals are often overrated and beginnings are overlooked.
Just because “I wake expectant, hoping to see a new thing.” (Annie Dillard)