Snow is beginning to accumulate, and as my border collies race outside for their last evening jaunt before bed, their paw prints pepper the snow. I delight in watching them discover the first snow of the season. In the mountains of Colorado, the scene of dogs romping in deep powder is ubiquitous, and joy inducing. Watching my two canines at play, I reflect that this pile up of powder happened collectively, one snowflake at a time.
I think about the collective power of positivity in our PhD cohort, and how grateful I am for my peers. Collectively we have completed our first residency and our first quarter of classes. We have each grown exponentially as individuals, and together as friends. Our cosmology has manifested into a robust understanding of ourselves as we journey through the emotional storms, and clearings together. We have shared laughter and tears, happiness and hardships.
As unpredictable as the weather in the Rockies, I sometimes found myself caught unprepared and humbled by my learning curve. Many of my peers would share that they too have had learning curves, navigating as first year PhD students. Each of our experiences are shaped by various circumstances, divergent perspectives and mindsets. Joyous days of discovery, obstacle inducting havoc, the accumulation, the melt, the sunshine. We ebb, we flow, we morph as we split our chrysalis as lifelong learners on a quest to make our world a better place.
What has made our cohort unique is that we organically discovered a way to break the stagnation barrier that digital houses can impose, simply by embracing the art of listening, validating and encouraging vulnerability. Then collectively honoring our individual responses and challenging each other to dive deeper, we held a safe space that became our digital classroom. Our compassion was palatable this first remarkable quarter of learning, because together we created lively and active platforms, where conversations leapt off the screen and into our hearts.
Much like individual snowflakes, we collectively formed something much greater, much stronger and awe-inspiring. We have transformed into PhD students, releasing our doubts and fears and summiting the first stage of our journey. Mavericks and lovers of life, we journey forward, engaged with purpose, we walk with intent to change the world collectively.
Susanmarie Oddo, PhD cohort, Southwestern College, 2022