As I was exiting the Ramsey Fitness Center Parking lot I began to reflect on my first days as a brand new late 40-something student starting a new life, in a new state, in a new Ph.D. program, and moreover a new chapter in my academic odyssey. I chuckled this evening when I remembered how I had gotten lost trying to exit the Ramsey Center parking deck 4 years ago. I seemed to be in a never ending maze of circling around and around and around the deck with no exit in sight. I was trapped and didn’t know how I was going to ever get out of that deck as the signs, sounds, and bright lights, left me unsure of myself and anxious. I felt so helpless and inadequate at that time.
I almost turned into the “do no enter” portion of the deck trying to escape this seeming Twilight Zone nightmare. Tears literally swelled in my eyes as I resisted the urge to call my daughter in Ohio for help. I thought to myself, “Call Bridjette, she’ll know what to do!” My daughter at that point, was a freshly minted graduate of Wake Forest University and would be most certainly familiar with this foreign land I had come to know as 21st Century University life. I eventually calmed myself and asked what appeared to be a parking lot attendant for help and subsequently was able to finally locate the exit gate (shown above) and free myself from the “A Mazing” experiences.
As I am now just 12 days shy of my first ever trip outside of the United States, I am humbled and feel incredibly blessed. I am so grateful for how God has guided me in what I think would be appropriate to describe as the “second act” of my life. Not only do I have the chance to do what every Ph.D. student dreams of doing, which is to pursue a dissertation research topic that is interesting, potentially ground breaking, and be a positive source for new knowledge; I also have the opportunity to serve as a Visiting Scholar at the Universidad Católico del Maule in Talca, Chile. I will be able to engage in meaning relationships and learning that has implication for enhanced international adult learning. I find that to be very cool. 🙂
So now in hindsight, I have come to cherish that maze experience in the Ramsey Center parking lot some 4 years ago. It has become a valuable piece of what is now an “A Mazing” ride, as I stand at the dawn of continuing my academic odyssey in Chile, South America.