Aside from the catch-up chit chat, the conversation turned to the topic of scholarly identity. SW said that she's always considered herself a teacher. She went towards Scholar-Wannabe'ing so that she could become a teacher.
(If you know anything about academia in the Western world, you will know that unless you are a prolific researcher and writer, you will be "B-listed" in the eyes of "A-listers.")
"So long as I can make a living teaching, I am comfortable with that," she said.
This past weekend, the stress of having to balance PhD and family led me to seriously re-evaluate my future scholarly identity.
I remembered why I came to do this PhD: I wanted to be a good therapist, I wanted to teach therapy, and I wanted to learn research.
However, somewhere along the journey, research got pushed to the top of the agenda in my mind. Well, I guess if funding and prestige follows research, and your department is always celebrating who got what funding, you can't help but begin to believe that only research counts.
Never mind that I'm a good therapist. Never mind that I help many people heal. If I don't do research, I am not worthy. I am nothing but a B-lister.
I began to fight that message last weekend.
It matters that I am a therapist. That is my identity. I love doing therapy. I love teaching therapy. And the only reason I do research is so that I can better people's lives! Therapy is important: It changes people's lives for the better!
SW admitted that even though she has the potential to be an A-lister and do research, her passion is really to teach. I completely dig that. I too, want to be led by my passions despite the pressures of institutional expectations.