I am not my____________


I’d like to think of myself as an academic superstar. Shoot, I think my family would tell you that they think I will never stop. I have been in school all but 5 years of my life and I am in my early thirties. My brother thinks I go to school for a living…lol But I have always loved learning and think of school as a vehicle to open new opportunities and in this case a new career. My second foray into Grad school wasn’t supposed to be about grades or obtaining a degree–but about obtaining knowledge to reinvent myself from a pipette wielding, lab rat Microbiologist to an Epidemiologist protecting this nation’s health.

Coming out of my Biostatistics final yesterday, I was kinda devastated. I don’t know how I did, but I felt awful. All kinds of craziness was running through my head–what if I fail? What if they kick me out? An occasional song would pop up as well. But then over lunch with two of my classmates, Susan and Estefania. Estefania reminded me that in the grand scheme of things, are grades really that serious? Will they matter in the long run? The funny thing is I used to tell my undergraduates this all the time in my previous job. I have had that told to me numerous times by the women that I call my “sex in the city girls”. But, it is so easy to get caught up in the culture that is Hopkins.

When you hear your classmates bragging about how easy an exam was or how they don’t need to come to class to understand the material, it can make you feel stupid. Like there must be something wrong with my intelligence. I can see now why they say school is harder as you get older…lol But I didn’t come back to school for the grades-I came back for the knowledge. Unfortunately, grades do not always reflect your mastery of the knowledge.

So why did I come here?  I came here to change my career and to learn from some of the great public health giants. To network  with my classmates who will run organizations and do cool things and to experience a new city. I reminded myself of that again. I realize that if I want to get everything out of what Hopkins has to offer I need to remind myself this constantly so I won’t let great opportunities pass me by. So I won’t leave here with regrets. I only have 7 more months as a student here and I need to make the most of this opportunity.

So,  I vow to cut out stressing, take better care of myself, and enjoy this moment in time. I am not planning to be a student ever again, so I need to reorganize my priorities and breathe.



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8 Responses to I am not my____________

  1. Estefania says:

    Love it! thanks for the shout out, and lets make every minute count! 🙂

  2. lisae31 says:

    Awesome read & even greater realization. Very proud of you, Soror, and I know those of you who know you better than I are exceedingly proud as well. Viva la Hopkins!! (Or something like that. Sounded clever in my head…lol)

    Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone with SprintSpeed

  3. Javier says:

    Great post Shanta… many of us have the same feelings. Thanks for share it.

  4. cindylumpkin says:

    As a special education teacher, I would tell my students all the time, “You are not defined by a letter.” Shoot, it took me a long time to realize that myself. I still think we, society, place too much emphasis on grades and not enough on learning. You have the right ideal, knowledge is the key. Doing my time in the classroom and any other job I had, no one asked about my grades…they just wanted to see that I had the skills to do the job!

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