If I ever have to describe myself, I usually use the term “free spirit”. It is this part of my character that has brought me to live on four continents, seek adventure, and meet some incredible people along the way. I’ve been touched by the world and will never be the same. I am interested in people, their cultures, and their stories. I believe everyone has a story, and that we can all learn a lot from listening.
In 2005 I graduated from Queen’s with my B.Ed., and the free spirit inside of me couldn’t be ignored. I was able to combine my love of travel and my career as a teacher for six years, from England to New Zealand, and most recently Mongolia. My reason to go back to school was simple. I wanted to ‘feed my brain,’ so to speak. However, returning to university has not been simple at all. Adjusting to grad student life hasn’t been easy. My lifestyle has had a complete turnaround. As an avid runner and active teacher, I have struggled with my new sedentary life and all the hours of sitting, alone, and working at my computer. One might think that moving back to a developed country would make life easier and more enjoyable. Not the case. The cultural dissonance I have experienced since my return to Canada has come to influence much of what I do, but it is also what has driven me to my area of research. As Imogen Heap sings, “There’s beauty in the breakdown.”
Needless to say this has been a challenging year, but with challenge comes the opportunity for growth and new understandings. Much like life, grad school is a process. Coming into my second year as a M.Ed. candidate, I can’t believe how much I have learned about myself in this world of academia. For more on this, stay tuned.