Reflecting on Term One
I knew graduate school would be difficult, but I had no idea how all-consuming it would be…
Firstly, the sheer amount of reading required has been overwhelming at times. An academic article that is twelve pages long is considered rather short! For each paper (I have submitted eight this term, two which are over 4,000 words) requires reading at least fifteen articles from a range of perspectives, which doesn’t even include the books. Oh the books! The hardest challenge has not been reading, although as a dyslexic this is challenging, but the academic language. Often, it has been like reading a different language, with terms I have never heard of. While I am starting to understand them now, nothing quite interrupts the flow of reading an article than coming across a word you have never heard of! Still, I can’t deny that I LOVE academia and learning. It is inspiring.
Secondly, time management has been a challenge. Tomorrow – 5th November – I am flying to China for an incredible conference opportunity working on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, with UNLEASH Innovation Lab (blog to come). This is incredible and I am so excited and nervous to head to Shenzen tomorrow. What it has meant for this term are some very tight deadlines. The term ends officially on the 14th November, which is the deadline for all work, and this is the day I return from Shenzen! This means I have to submit all my very difficult assignments before I depart on 5th November, over a week early. Gah! Still, I have managed it, which I am very proud of.
Finally, the topics. I have loved learning about peace and conflict resolution. It has really opened my eyes to a world I have not spent much time in. But it has been tough – I have found some of the topics and language really hard to come to terms with. I have read about the worst of humanity, and had to analyse this and include it in my papers, thus, consider it time and time again. This has impacted my mental health at times, as it has been a really difficult thing to explore. Nevertheless, this is why I am here and it is important I learnt these things if I am to be the Rotary Peace Fellow I hope to be! It has been a privilege to study alongside some inspiring people this term, who have experienced some of the horrors we are learning about first hand.
This term has seen me explore peace, conflict, development, arts as a means to achieve peace, rethinking peace, gender and peace, digital literacy, gender norms and much much more…next up, China, where I hope to apply some of my new ideas and learning.