I know that for some people, the hardest part of graduate school is the writing. That has not been the case for me.
I have always loved to write. For as long as I can remember, I have clearly believed that the pen is mightier than the sword. Words have the power to create and the power to destroy. They have the power to fix and the power to harm.
I’ve often said that I would eviscerate ex-boyfriends in fiction, writing them into the world small and insignificant. While that has not happened… yet… it is this power of words that energizes me. I feel like I have a command with words that I do not have with many other things in life.
Sometimes I am more articulate in writing than I am in speaking.
Although I’ve always loved to write, it was not until college, writing for The Michigan Daily, and then spending two summers writing for The Mackinac Island Town Crier, the newspaper that serves Mackinac Island – a resort area in the Straights of Mackinac, located between the Lower and Upper Peninsulas of Michigan – that my writing abilities really blossomed.
I learned how to craft unforgettable stories about real people and real events. I learned firsthand the power that words have, in making people happy or sad. And writing brought me closer to the triumphs and tragedies that were taking place around me.
And when I became chronically ill during my first year of graduate school, I turned to blogging as a way, not only to share my story and help others, but also to learn from those who were farther along on their illness journey.
At the time, I did not know what a blog was, and I never really had any intention of finding out. But as I went searching for information about my illnesses, I found that a chronic illness community existed online. I found a community of young women, like me. We don’t all have the same illnesses, but our experience of illness is much the same, regardless of illness.
Just a week after I received my diagnoses of lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, I began blogging. It’s a place where I have shared my hopes and fears, the rollercoaster of emotions that I have experienced, I have asked for advice, I have ranted, and I have tried to balance sharing the triumphs AND the tragedies that I have experienced. Even in my worst moments, I knew that there were others reading my blog, and hearing my story. Someone, somewhere, even if I had never met them, was listening to me. The other bloggers I have encountered have had an impact on my life, and I hope that I have had an impact on theirs.
Blogging has been formative for my illness experience, and has also been a significant part of how I have coped with my illnesses and their ever-changing nature. I will be forever grateful for the opportunities I have been given to be an active member of this community.
In writing my blog, I have used a no-holds-barred approach. I have been open and honest, and candid, sometimes to a fault. I have probably provided too much information at some points, and not enough at others.
When it comes to writing, unlike just about anything else in my life, my feet are firmly planted, and the roots run deep.
In my dissertation, while there is of course sociological jargon I have to use, and a certain tone and style prescribed by graduate school in general, I plan to stay true to myself and my writing roots.
I think I have my mom to thank for a good portion of my writing ability. She worked for Borders Books for almost 25 years, and introduced me early and exposed me to a wide array of authors, and taught me a deep appreciation for the written word. Without that constant exposure, I don’t think I would have become the writer I am today.
One of my life goals is to write books. I would love to see my dissertation turned into a book someday. I also desire to write other books, both fiction and non-fiction. However, I don’t know what the future holds, or what my publishing prospects really are. But there is one thing I do know – no matter where I am, or what I am doing, there is one thing that will remain – I will always be writing.
If you are interested in reading my blog, please visit Getting Closer To Myself.
About the Author
Leslie Rott, Ph.D. Student, Sociology
Published in: Student Voices