2022-2023 another school has come and made its mark in the universe. You know I have to say it every time I write these reflections, I LOVE WHAT I DO!! However, this year is the beginning of what is going to be a continuous cycle of the floodgate of tears! This year’s class of 2023 is really special as this is the first class of students that I have seen since they were freshmen entering VCU!! Many of these students have been in at least two of my classes…I have watched them grow and mature…I have seen their struggles and their wins…I’ve met their parents, relatives and children…And seeing them walk across the stage and become graduates…It is truly a blessing to see the impact one can make in a matter of a few short years. Just take a look and see below….
Not only is this year been special because of the new graduates, but also because I made it through a major career milestone. I made it through the half-way point of my tenure-track process…the third-year review!! Gathering documents, writing professional statements, obtaining references from students, updating my CV, experiencing teaching evaluations, and so much more…talk about an intense process…But I made it!! I will admit not only was this an experience of strength and dedication, but one of reflection. Going back and looking at all the work that I have done in these three years just blows my mind. I know I’m a hard worker, but just looking back and seeing it all documented on paper (physically and digitally) takes it to another level. This review process also showed me how wide and vast my community of support is and the impact they make on me. Shout out to all those who looked over my essays, shared their past experiences with the process, gave insight, gave an encouraging word, served as cheerleaders, calmed my nerves, took me out for a drink, or were just a listening ear. I think some folks do not realize the role they have in either bringing someone down, or elevating them to the highest heights! All in all, and in all honesty I am thankful for both because I know who to continue to take with me on my journey and who to let go.
In addition to my own research endeavors, I was super excited to mentor and advise several of my Capstone students as they presented at the 2023 VCU Undergraduate Research Symposium!! I was thoroughly impressed with their research projects and super proud to see them share it with the VCU community!!
2022-2023 as noted in the title has definitely been one for the books! I had three chapters come out in edited collections, a solo article on the role of Black girl storytelling in comic books, served as a keynote for VCU Dentistry school and Culpeper, VA’s first “CulpeperCon”, and to culminate everything I received my universities inaugural “Faculty Champion Award”.
In addition, to witnessing the success of my VCU students and my own, I also got a chance to celebrate one of my mentees and BFF intern Jaya Robinson as she graduated from high school and is headed to Spelman College (AUC Love!!)!
I will say this at the end of every semester and school year, I am always hyped and re-energized. Whatever feelings I had, depending on the type, were further magnified or lessened to make room for the good. So as I prepare for another productive summer, I can’t help but reflect on the highs, stress, joys, and wins!
Till the next season…