Prompt: Write a post that tells a story.
Tell a story about a time in your career as an educator that you want to share. It can be a positive memory, a time you wish you could change the outcome, a student you remember, or just a class lesson you want to share.
(The following post was written as I was flying back from from Arizona. I had just completed my second and final residency week @ Grand Canyon University in mid June 2017.)
Hello, my name is…
“…Dr. Melanie Ruiz, and my area of expertise is online learning.”
That was how Dr. Mark Schmitz had us close our weeklong second residency. He warned my 16 classmates and I that he had a powerful 5 minute exercise that could bring us to tears. He walked us through 5 cleansing breaths, and then had us write our names on a blank sheet of paper. He instructed us to leave some space at the front of our names. I jokingly whispered to my neighbor “I want to put Dr. there!” Not to long after that Dr. Schmitz had us do exactly that. He then had us silently read our names with doctor in front 5 times. Then he had us introduce ourselves that way to our classmates and state our area of expertise. Then everyone in the room had their turn. He was right about the tears. I was not the only one tearing up a little at the idea of introducing myself this way. I have only ever referred to myself as Dr. Ruiz in jest. I have even repeatedly reminded my dad that I am not a doctor yet when he calls me Dr. Ruiz on Facebook.
“Hello, my name is Dr. Melanie Ruiz, and my area of expertise is online learning.”
I tried to hide the quiver in my voice when I said that out loud, but I know my classmates heard it. Even writing about it now brings tears to my eyes all over again. Dr. Schmitz encouraged each of us to keep the paper with our names on it and write more papers with our name written like that and post them all around us, to remind us that this is real and it is possible. This week of my second residency made me really understand the work ahead. My dissertation is not just an idea in my head, it is a very real and valid research project that will make me Dr. Melanie Ruiz and a scholarly writer.
I often think back to when I was a child and I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. I remember only being able to think about being a lawyer or medical doctor, neither of which suited me. As an older child I loved reading and do to this day. I remember thinking about being a writer, a notion I dismissed when I figured there was no way I could make a living doing that. I had to be more practical. I went all the way to my bachelor’s degree not knowing what I really wanted to do. The topic of career guidance is a whole other issue I won’t go into here, but it amazes me how life works. I am sure my classmates at Grand Canyon University (a Christian university) would chalk it up to God (like Lynette – my Facebook feed is not complete without a “Love God! Love Fam!” post from her). Maybe it is God or the will of the universe.
After working in finance for 4 years and not seeing a future for myself, I knew I had to do something. So off to the bookstore I went, like I did anytime I had something that needed investigating. (The Internet was young in those days, so the library and bookstore were my favorite places.) I soon was taking a Meyers-Briggs assessment that told me I was an INFJ and of the careers that suited my personality writer and educator were among the top 5. Again I reminded myself that I could not earn a livable wage as a writer and dove headlong into teaching. I have never regretted that.
Over the years since then I have dabbled in writing, mainly in the form of blogging as well as through my virtual reality experiences. In 2014 I took my writing to the scholarly level by enrolling in my first online program with GCU, to earn my long desired second Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction: Educational Technology. It was over in a year and then I began to dabble with the idea of a doctorate. I had never wanted a doctorate before, I had never considered it. But there it was, a viable option. I looked at the higher ups in my district, many of them doctors and thought “I can do that too.”
So here I am in the middle of my online doctoral program and realizing that I am a writer and that me introducing myself as a doctor isn’t a joke.
The universe has a funny way of showing you the way, even if it takes decades. You just have to be open to seeing it.
What story do you want to tell? Share with me in the comments below. 🙂