At a brownbag lunch discussion back in December, Dr. Artiles, lead a conversation about his experiences as an international student. His discussion covered many issues including leaving home, getting acclimated to a new country and the academy, and navigating various programs and levels of learning both during a doctoral degree program and possible post-doc work. Much of what he shared was good advice for not just international students, but also for students at various points in their journey.
Leaving home. This story pulled at my heartstrings.
I did not leave my home state or country for my schooling, but I did leave a home. The home I left was the classroom. I know this move is small in comparison to travelling to another state or country, but home can mean different things to different people.
For the last 8 years my classroom was my home. This was the space where I built relationships with students and families. This was the space where I grew as a person, learning to be patient with all learners, provide guidance, and allow risk-taking to occur. It was a safe place for me. A place that was extremely difficult to leave. Nonetheless, at times I do feel “home sick” for the classroom, but knowing that my studies will lead me back to working with teachers and students in their classroom reminds me of the goodness that will come out of my educational journey.
Dr. Artiles’ discussion was uplifting, honest, and to the point. The stories of his educational experiences, from student to scholar were inspiring, reminding me with each one of his stories, how truly blessed I am to have the ability to continue my education.
From our discussion, I gleaned the following pieces of priceless advice:
*Be true to yourself.
*Create opportunities for yourself.
*Capitalize on your assets.
*Obstacles can be advantages.
*Build networks and relationships.
*Advocate for yourself.
And, lastly to “stay in touch with what is important to you; don’t lose focus on why you started.” This piece of advice is what drives me each day and will continue to drive me in the years to come.