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What is left unsaid often hurts July 14, 2008

Posted by Raul in academic life, blogosphere, food for thought, friends, personal life, random thoughts.
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While my blog is pretty personal, I rarely post about things that really eat me up. Primarily, because I think that those are very intimate details of my life that I don’t really feel like I should reveal. However, these past few months, I’ve had a nagging feeling that there was something I hadn’t discussed that kept bugging me, and I just spoke about it in the past couple of weeks.

I talked about this with Tanya as I was walking her back to her place. While reminiscing, I can clearly remember that I had already had some hints of having something bottled inside when my friend LCB and I had brunch at Sunshine Diner and we touched upon the subject. Then I mused about it with Rebecca. I even mentioned something about it with my friend CC who is doing her PhD there now. At some point, I had discussed this in detail with my PhD advisor. And this past Sunday, I discussed it with my good friend JT. Since the list of people with whom I’ve started to share how I have been feeling is growing so I figured this was the right time to put it out on the blogosphere, in an effort perhaps, to let go.

What did I leave unsaid, you ask? Well, for background purposes, the program where I did my PhD is very interdisciplinary and intermingled. Therefore, there’s LOTS of people doing a heck of a lot of different stuff, and it has historically had problems with issues of cliques and cohesiveness. I volunteered for my program, A LOT. I organized workshops, events, seminars. I offered my analytical skills and critical advice to my peers in an entirely self-less manner. I read theses, papers, drafts, critiqued them (constructively all the time) and engaged in scholarship.

However, I think it’s fair to admit that I was disappointed with (some of) my peers, and with their engagement with me (as a person and as a scholar). A number of them, I do consider good and close friends. But in general, I have been keeping bottled inside a feeling that I never got back from my scholarly community what I gave. It’s not that I was (explicitly) expecting something in return. But I do feel somewhat neglected. This may sound entirely self-absorbed and selfish, but I think that, if you are in a community (whichever community, be it scholars, bloggers, etc.), you can (somewhat) expect something in return. In my case, what went around (care and interest in everyone’s well-being) did not come around.

The blogging community has been IMMENSELY more welcoming to me than my graduate program. I have received LOTS and LOTS of help, advice, I’ve been embraced and nurtured by a community of people with whom I’ve become friends, and that’s something I am very happy and grateful for. I already had a great circle of off-campus friends, whom I adore, and who devote their time and friendship to me (in considering off-campus friends, I would include some of the friends I made throughout my graduate program and faculty at the university, simply because we are now closer friends and not only peers)

Instead of dwelling on the pain that my peers’ behavior inflicted on me, I prefer now to move forward and look at the broad array of possibilities that are in front of me. Grad school is now a chapter of my life that, in my mind, I have closed, and I am happy to move on. I just thought I had to say this, publicly, openly, and honestly.

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Comments»

1. Ryan Cousineau - July 14, 2008

The bridges, they burn!

2. ian in hamburg - July 15, 2008

Maybe you gave off the impression that you were so into doing what you were doing that – giving of yourself so much – that people didn’t realise how much you were expecting back from them in return?

3. melaniea - July 20, 2008

Five years out, I had forgotten how splintered the group could be. The FC group was really close when I started, but as the centre grew, that changed significantly (and not for the better), and since we were in another building we were also fairly insular and detached.

I hope GC gave you better memories 🙂


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