I crawled out of bed on a chilly December morning at 3:00 am last week. Scratch that, it wasn’t just chilly, it was a bitter cold snap that killed plants and left frost on our houses. It marks the only time I have gone to school with my pajama pants on instead of my traditional grown up business attire. The test had been due but I was under the impression that since I wasn’t going on the research trip my need to turn in the possible 4 hour test was not mandatory yet. The test is a complicated one and requires a great internet connection as well as concentration and focus that are really hard for me to garner for such a long period of time.
Now I was chiding myself for my stupidity. I am old enough to know that when you are assigned things it is best to get them over with early rather than late. But here I was, zipping over to the school where I could count on the internet. I knew there was security there so I was not concerned about being out in the middle of my town in the middle of the night. I also hoped that there would be a building open. The security guard explained that there was not.
I did what all techies would do in my position. I found a convenient plug outside next to some seating where I had the most bars of reception from the campus internet.
The night was clear and rather beautiful. I smiled as I appreciated the silence of the city at night. I could hear an occasional sea lion bark.
After the initial difficulties, making sure the internet worked, donning a glove on the hand that did not need to be naked to swipe the screen, I was ready.
If you have ever had an espresso in Italy first thing in the morning you understand how much it enlivens the mind as well as the soul. Well, that was what this in depth study session did to my mind…in the bitter cold that had me looking like an antsy school child…I went over every detail of how a human subject should be treated in any research project. I learned about horrific research that had been conducted in the name of science. Some of the ideas I studied shocked me when I considered the little regard some researchers had shown in the past…from the Nazis to the Tuskegee Experiment the mistakes made looked like an expose into the lack of humanity towards test subjects exercised in the past.
Some of the past was not so long ago…some things happened within my lifetime.
Either way the cold had me at my most alert and I turned in my certification by 6:30 am.
I realized something about myself at that point. I realized that I really care about my classes and my experiences here at grad school. I didn’t get out of bed, drive somewhere and take a test outside in the cold to please anyone but myself that night and I knew it.
I take pride in my work here. I take pride in being here. And I am starting to notice that it is changing me and my self esteem for the better. I think I am taking pride in being myself and the new me carved out by being here in what I consider to be The Big Leagues.
The nice thing about life here in this version of the Big Leagues….is there is no real competition. Everyone here is brilliant and worthy of being here. That includes the staff…whether serving up food or educating us with practicality in mind…as well as my fellow students….I am swimming amongst such wonderful people…if you are considering dipping into life here…embrace it…it feels good to just be amongst the others here in this kind of place.