Phd In Retrospect: Lesson Learned

Posted December 5, 2017 from United States
Affirmation, I sued to get me through the first semester of my PhD!

So, its the last day of the semester and I am so excited because I made it. I didn't give up and I think I know what I am I talking about.

Three things I learned about myself this semester....

1. That I have the power to change the discourse of any issue.

As women this is very important because although I have spent my life advocating and organizing on reproductive justice and violence against women I never though of myself as changing the public discourse of those issues. Sometimes advocates don't see changeoutside of the individual impact.

2. That as a leader I play small.

Taking on a social justice issue "grand challenge" like ending gender based violence requires a leader who thinks outside the box all the time. I have worked in grassroots organizing for such a long time that I my dreams became as big as the victims and survivors I work with let me and given their experience of violence its not that big.

3. My history as a victim and survivor show up mostly when I become a student in academia.

The minute I become a student all the negative narratives formed by my experience with child hood violence, domestic violence and sexual assault show up to sabatoge me. This first semester I battled more myself and the scared littlegirl in me than the actual school work. My emotions took me from I don't belong in this school, to my experience and work over the last 20 years is not enough for this school. I broke out in anxiety, depression, I wanted to leave the school and then my brain left the building and all of a sudden I didn't know why I wanted to get a PhD or why I had fought all my life to end violence against women and girls.

Grounding in these lessons of myself will support me in gearing up and putting things in place to really be self expressed an show up for the upcoming semesters. As an individual I am more connected to ways that violence and trauma haveimpacted me that I didn't even know.Knowing them now will give me time to heal over the holidays and learn some tools and practices that I can use next semester so that when my inner voice shows up I can manage it and myself.

As an activist and organizer learning that I have the power to change public discourse has me dreaming about taking my grand challenge globally but not on a grassroots level but a policy UN level.

As a radical social worker, its time to understand the power we have in shaping the world. When we let our own trauma, biases, stereotypes, and prejudices block how we dream of another world for ourselves and people then those in the most vulnerbale communities have already lost.

Here is a toast to healing, dreaming and leading. May 2018 be miraculous!

Happy Holidays 2017

Comments 5

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Jill Langhus
Dec 06, 2017
Dec 06, 2017

Hi Dayanara. Thanks for sharing your vulnerable and tenacious story with us. I think it's great when strong women with a vision are able to share their vulnerabilities. It helps them because they are becoming stronger through sharing, but it also helps other women who read about it to become stronger themselves and to realize they can speak up, too, can also get through it, and that they are not alone. When are you done with your PhD? I'm glad you aren't giving up. I can so relate to the "not good enough" mantra stemming from abuse. It's been a process working through these self limiting beliefs, but it is possible. I hope you have systems/tools that you have in your arsenal to debunk and overcome these lies so you can fulfill your destiny and vision?!

Dec 06, 2017
Dec 06, 2017

Congratulationa for not giving up my sister. You are a miracle. Keep on soaring higher and keep on aharing the stories of miracle.

Dec 08, 2017
Dec 08, 2017

thank you for sharing...

Cathy Russell
Jan 09, 2018
Jan 09, 2018

Stay empowering.  Join our #LISTENTOOME Movement at and click on the link Join The Movement

Busayo Obisakin
Jan 24, 2018
Jan 24, 2018

Congratulations dear sister! Kudos to you and Greater height this year!