I learned to be the “best” student

This isn’t about your grades or your GPA.

What I mean is that I learned to be the “best” student so that I could survive. I learned to be the “best” student so that I could gain credentials that meant something in the world. I learned to be the “best” student so that I could secure and keep a job to create stability for myself and my family.

While I was busy being the “best” student I also propped up patriarchy even though I didn’t realize it. Gulp. This one is hard to admit.

I learned to navigate my life to be radical and feminist up to a certain point because it gave me a seat…
in the hallway…
outside the room…
with the table where the power was consolidated and distributed.
I was close to the power but I wasn’t at the table. I had my stability and I knew the rules. I told myself that was more than enough and I tried to make myself feel satisfied. It was an A performance.

When I’m in student mode, I ask how and I follow the template. Who wrote that template anyway and what was that person’s goal?

I defer to authority. I’d like to think that I don’t, but how else did I get a PhD?

I study and research seeking for knowledge outside myself. That’s what women are taught to do. Again whose authority counts as knowledge?

I try to get an A because anything less endangers my space in that hallway three layers removed from that table.

I seek permission and I don’t trust myself. This leads to second guessing myself and feeling like an imposter. Hello Imposter Syndrome, my old friend.

I also recognize that lots of these skills serve me well.

I know how to study and research to find information that can help me to formulate my plan.

I like to read, write, learn, coach and teach.

My first steps toward being a new kind of student in my own life look like this:

I’m done with the binary thinking that I’m either an A=successful person or an F=failed human being. I’m not doing that anymore.

I’m learning to seek my own permission. That’s happening.

And, you know what else? I know how the patriarchy works which means that I know how to disrupt it in lots of ways.

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