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.