Defining who you are

I’m a PhD student and a very common question I get is what my area of research is. People expect you to specialize in order to learn lots of stuff about one smaller area so that you can contribute to that area. I don’t find that problematic, and I’m working on determining where I want my research to go. The first semester, I just wanted to get my bearings and learn if I could actually do research and write academic papers (the answer, I discovered, was yes, I was competent).

But even when I figure out exactly what I want to write my dissertation on, I am not defined by my area of research. I like lots of different things. And I like more than philosophy.

I am not a philosopher. I am more than that.

I don’t have to define who I am. Who I am is more than what I can define. It’s too big. Who I am is all of my existence, not a summary. The summary would inevitably leave out some important bits.

And it’s okay to summarize. I summarize when I’m introducing myself to people. I summarize in my journal and my blog. But it becomes problematic when I start believing in that summary more than believing in all of me.