Explore: reflections on beginning a creative-research PhD

I attended a graduate student orientation at UBC earlier this month, along with many other graduate students. The students were diverse, coming from across the world to start a graduate degree at UBC Okanagan. Although I was one of them, I felt different this time. It is true, I am older and wiser than most of them. I’ve been at student orientations many times before: as an 18-year-old starting my undergraduate degree on the Prairies, as a 21-year-old starting fashion design college in Toronto, as a mom of three young children (Pippi was two), starting a Master of Arts degree; and now, here I am, starting a PhD, with one daughter having just graduated with a BSc this summer, another starting her second year of Engineering, and my youngest, in middle school.  

Life goes on and I keep finding myself starting again.

The experience brought home the reality of my growth. The nervous excitement I had felt at each new degree orientation, and sensed in all the other young graduate students, eluded me this time. I felt more grounded, less nervous. The excitement has evolved into a deep sense of commitmentto keep on my journey of exploration. This PhD, more than anything else, is a new adventure, a journey… exploring the art of creative writing, the ways in which we gather and share our stories, and most importantly, exploring this mysterious and beautiful wild earth, my bewitching muse which keeps me constantly creating.

There are five things that one must explore unequivocally, throughout life: Wild Earth, Self, Love, Time and Art. Exploration of these five things holds the key to my life purpose.

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