As I work my way through understanding my role (and the role of my reasearch) in Film Studies, I am reminded again how important a supportive (academic) community is. Over the last two months, I have been reading a fair amount of Film Studies literature, and while all quite interesting from a historical perspective, I have been trying to think of the ways in which the specifics of my work fits into the literature (without taking the psycho-analytic route) or vice versa. At first, I must admit, I was quite discouraged, as I read material on the “state” of the field and did not know who to discuss it with. But as I get farther into the semester, I am starting to enjoy the readings, and starting to see some connections and worthy quotes for future use.
Over the last two months, I must also admit that I have been struggling with my decision to remain in the program. With absolutely no disrespect to those who make up the faculty and administration of my program, I have been having a hard time feeling like I fit in. Although my fellow students have been more that welcoming, I have been feeling like an outsider since the day I arrived. Perhaps coming from a different discipline, and different university (and a different language) perhaps it is in some ways inevitable that the transitional growing pains from Masters to Doctorat are amplified.
After a great gameCODE meeting day (four hours of round table discussions centered on the state of each other’s research) we celebrated the release of Shanly’s book. Dubbed an “un” book launch, we met at a nice lounge/bar and continued the conversations that were started earlier in the day. As we sat around in a circle of couches around a low table, I was reminded of the power of community. As we sat around talking, I realized that even though my transition into my new program was difficult, and even though I feel like an outsider to that particular academic community, I am nonetheless part of my own academic community. A community made up of amazing scholars and friends – from Concordia and other universities, and friendships that developed from conference meetings and after session drinks – these are the people that make up my community – the people who get what I do and challenge my ideas to help make them stronger, to point me in different directions and to give me the intellectual and emotional strength I need at times to believe in what I do and love every minute of it, not to mention inspire me by their work. I am comforted that even when times get rough, I have a fabulous network of people around me. No matter how lost I feel at times in all of the chaos that is academia, it is this power of community that reminds me why I am here.