So, I think by now everybody and their grandma knows that I have earned tenure and promotion to Associate Professor at the University of Tampa. Just in case you missed my Facebook and Twitter post, the Dean’s newsletter, and the global email send to all members of the UT community, here is photographic evidence of the good news!
All joking aside, I feel proud of this accomplishment. I am immigrant afro-latinx women who started this journey with very little financial support or knowledge about the education system in North America.
Have you ever seen the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”? One of my favorite parts is when the father of bride is sitting in the kitchen table with his daughter and they are discussing who is invited to the wedding. The father feels such pride that his daughter is getting married and he wants to invite every single one of his friends. The daughter wants to keep it intimate and then the father says: “I came to this country with 8 dollars in my pocket!” and then he goes to tell her how hard he worked and the pride feels on everything they have accomplished as a family.
I sometimes feels that as my son gets older, I will say something similar to him: “Diego, your grandparents and I came to North America with one suitcase each and very little money.” This is very true! When I was 19 years old, my parents and I left our home country (Panama) to settle as an immigrant family in Canada. It was not easy. We did not know the culture, we struggled with the language, the cost of living was high, and we knew no-one. It is a really long story with sad memories, struggles, moments of triumphs, and joy. It all let eventually to settling into our new country of residence.
I wrote before about taking a year off from school to work and save money for my education. This happened immediately after I moved to Canada. I worked many jobs, including: the maintenance person (cleaning offices in the Sears headquarter building in downtown Toronto), as a front desk person in several hotels downtown Toronto, and even did a short-term gig as an admin assistant for an administrator in the Toronto School District Board. I feel a little like that Drake song “Started from the bottom”:
“Started from the bottom, now we’re here
Started from the bottom, now my whole team fuc*** here”
Sorry when you have affiliations to Toronto, you start quoting Drake! lol
It is true, we started from the bottom now we, as a family, are here. I made two phone calls as soon as I found about T&P. I called my mom in Toronto and I called my dad who is currently Panama. The joy in their voice was everything I needed to hear in that moment. Of course, I celebrated with my husband and son. They have all been part of this journey with me <smiles>.
Something else that I have not mentioned to many, just recently shared in a Twitter post, is that last fall in addition to my tenure & promotion (T&P) dossier, I also submitted an application for sabbatical. At my institution we are allowed to applied for sabbatical the same year you apply for T&P. The sabbatical application was approved both by the sabbatical committee and the Provost. I am very excited for the sabbatical and the projects that I will work on during that time. More on that later this year.