Back to School Pt 3: 10 things I’m grateful for

Gratitude is a daily practice that shouldn’t be reserved for the holiday season–and I failed at keeping a gratitude journal.  Here are 10 things I’m grateful for at the start of this school year…..

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  1. I have my own office with mood lighting that I can use to do work. In NYC, space is a premium, so as a perk of being a co-chair for a student organization, I get access to this very special space that serves as a closet, pantry, mini-yoga studio and of course a work space.
  2. I’ve never had to pay for school.  The fact that I’ve never had to pay for school is a very clear sign to me that there is a calling on my life and that there is some higher power guiding my steps.  I feel like there’s something that I’m being asked to do.  So many of my colleagues and friends have the burden of student loans, and I can’t imagine having to go through school making so little and owing so much more.
  3. My friends and close colleagues. In all honestly, I feel a bit socially estranged from the people in my cohort; however, over the years I’ve been able to cultivate relationships with people not in my department.  Thanks to my scholarship society, my student organization and a spirit of bravery to take classes in different disciplines, I’ve met people I actually really like. We’re not besties, but it helps to not feel so alone.
  4. I live in NYC! Never in my life would I have thought that I would live in New York nonetheless with little financial burden (reference #2).  The fact that there are so many resources here like the Arturo Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and the King Juan Carlos Center at NYU means that I get to interact with a plethora of different people and to attend lots of different events.  The city is my campus, and it’s pretty dope.
  5. I’ve learned just as much academically as I have personally in the last 5 years. When I tell people that my program is on average 7 years, they usually balk, and I respond that had I better guidance, I wouldn’t be in this situation.  At the same time; however, I’m really glad that this time has allowed me to, in short, figure shit out.  I really feel like I have a far better understanding of who I am as a person, and this wouldn’t be possible without the stability that I’ve gotten from having to be in the same place for so long.
  6. I have an amazing roommate. In undergrad, there was a verifiable uptick in my grades when I decided to live in a single room and stop trying to ‘make friends’ with the random strangers who I got paired with in the housing lottery.  All of my housing situations since then have involved roommates.  This is the first time, that I really feel like I got it right.  She is friendly, clean and pays her rent on time.  It really is a game changer to come home to a house that can be a refuge from the stress of everyday life.
  7. I have professors and mentors who will really go to bat for me.  My squad. I would never tell them this, but there is one professor who I consider my academic mom, and my mentors are my play aunties. They are already at the top of the “people to thank in my dissertation introduction” document I keep on my computer. #fictivekin
  8. Teaching is a choice.    It is no secret that most institutions of higher education run on part time labor thereby leaving a huge pool of people without any real job security.  Because of my fellowship, I actually don’t have to teach at all.  Now that teaching is a choice, I feel like I can enjoy it rather than it being something that is forced upon me. It’s honestly a huge privilege (and responsibility) to be a black female anthropology lecturer–that’s rare.   I had one Black anthropology professor during undergrad in my senior year.  I remember the first time I came across Black Feminist Anthropology, and how my love for Johnetta B. Cole started.   Now, I get to be the face of what anthropology can be for people, and that’s powerful.
  9. Insurance. I absolutely love my dentist and getting my teeth cleaned.  My therapist is the goat.  My dermatologist looks like me.  My insurance isn’t great, but I’ve found some really great people.
  10. I’m breaking generational curses. As hard as this journey has been and continues to be, I know that I’m setting my future family up to have a fulfilling and thriving life–you’re welcome.

Your turn. What are you grateful for these days?  How are you keeping these things in the forefront of your mind–morning routine, gratitude journal, some fancy app?

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