Embracing the Intellectual Discomfort of Transdisciplinarity

Nearly a thousand of us were sitting under an orientation tent when the Dean of Harvard’s Graduate School of Education warned us about the imposter syndrome. It’s a surprisingly common feeling that starts to creep in when people compare themselves to their talented, successful, and hard-working peers. Like Eleanor Shellstrop in The Good Place, they get the feeling that there must’ve been some mistake and they don’t really belong here.

A long and winding road

Looking back on it, my career tells a much more cohesive story than it felt like at the time. We usually think about a career as a series of sequential decisions, each building logically and systematically towards an end goal. However, that narrative is more often created in retrospect than prospectively. My, like many, careers felt haphazard and disjointed at each step. As BRAIN SIG members will know, we are plastic individuals with gradually (and sometimes rapidly!) shifting identities, interests, desires, and goals.

Mezirow Moments: The Value of Conferences for a Mother Returning to Study

It’s not easy to change career paths, but it is something that teachers often consider after working in one field for many years. This can mean a return to study, but as Adult Education experts have noted, older learners usually face some specific barriers in returning to school that younger learners do not, and sometimes these barriers prevent them from trying. And if you are a mother, like I am, even going to a conference can be difficult. This is my story of the challenges I faced in returning to study, and of the people who helped me to overcome them.