The price is high. The reward is great. Continue to be bold, courageous — Maya Angelou
On August 30th of this year, I began my journey here in Boston, Massachusetts. As you know, I’m here because I’m currently at Boston University pursuing a Master of Science degree concentrating in TV Producing & Management. When I began expressing to some that I was going to BU, some cheered me on while others warned me. I had family that told me it would be the best time of my life; I also had people tell me that I should watch out. Two months later I can say with confidence that this is the best decision I have made in a long time. Due to the constant interest of my journey here I’d thought I share some insights on my experience and hopefully inspire some people along the way.
Reading Is Essential
Reading is a great pleasure of mine. I love laying in a warm bed, submerged in blankets and pillows with a book in hand. When I understood that reading was such an essential practice to succeeding in graduate school, I was excited. Unbeknownst to me, we wouldn’t be reading Deepak Chopra or Tim Ferriss like I enjoyed; classes expect me to read the New York Times, Tech Blogs and the Hollywood trades.
Since starting my graduate program, I have found a deeper appreciation for reading the news and online publications. By continually scanning scholarly writing each day, my vernacular has changed, I have opinions on topics I never really thought about before. I believe that the person I am now is astronomically smarter than who I was in undergrad after a few short months.
One of the most significant concerns I heard about Boston was this idea of it being a racist town. Luckily in my time here, I haven’t experienced any racism to my knowledge. To be honest, I can count on two hands how many black men I have met since coming here. (Literally, I think I can name about 8). Fortunately, I don’t feel that the lack of black men in my classes and at work have affected me at all. I’ve met some awesome Asians, wonderful White people and they treat me with respect.
Racism has yet to show its ugly head.
Although I feel respected and accepted by all I encounter, I miss connecting with people. I’m not sure if my feeling of disconnect comes from me not being at Morehouse anymore, but I feel a need to connect with individuals that I feel I haven’t been able to do since coming here.
In Dr. Brene Brown’s book, “Braving The Wilderness” She discusses the idea of establishing an authentic connection. Dr. Brown says that connection can only occur when two parties practice shared vulnerability. In graduate school, everyone has their own lives going on and is pressing towards the mark. I don’t think that my classmates have the time or interest in being vulnerable with me. We are all respectful and kind to one another, but that’s about it. The camaraderie that I shared with my classmates at Morehouse is missed. I miss that notion of “I Got My Brother’s back.”
I miss connection.
I AM CAPABLE
My biggest fear of coming to Boston was not the cost of living, the inherent racism I might face, my biggest concern was my belief in myself. As a child, I never entertained the idea of pursuing a Master’s degree. When I went to my first few classes, I wrestled with self-confidence.
“Am I good enough to be here?”
“I bet I’m the dumbest kid in class.”
“I’m sure everyone in here is probably smarter than I am.”
These are thoughts that ran through my head following graduating from Morehouse, writing a book and starting a website. After all I have accomplished, I still felt inadequate. As I began showing up in classes and allowing myself to be seen, be heard and participate, my self-confidence grew. When I understood that I’m here because I am capable I felt better. Each day I tell myself,
“I have earned this. I can do it.”
Living in this space of authentic self-confidence has served me well.
Your Take Away
I came to BU without ever visiting the campus or knowing anyone here, but I made it. Compared to undergrad, the workload is tough, (read my blog on failing my first exam by clicking HERE) but I’m tougher. The city is very progressive and friendly even though I was advised otherwise. Although I was faced with warnings and concerns, my time here at Boston has gone surprisingly well.
The lesson in all of this is to step out into the unknown. The only way we can grow as individuals is to put ourselves in uncomfortable situations and stretch beyond reason. As I write this very blog, I’m pumped and excited for what my week will consist of. I’m over halfway done with my first semester of graduate school, and I’ve survived just fine. Of course, this journey hasn’t been the easiest, but it has been worth it.
Sometimes in life, we have to take a chance and jump, doing so increases our chances for success even if it is just by 1%. I hope after reading this blog and following my journey you are inspired to step into the unknown in your own life. If you are in an uncomfortable situation, I pray you stick it out. Living uncomfortably is tough but essential for growth. I can say with confidence that living a brave life is more rewarding than playing it safe.