I always get over-excited about everything. I always run headlong into it, arms flailing, heart beating….

only to run smack into a brick wall.

It’s not for me. A PhD; Academia. It’s a nice dream – and one that excites me every time. But, it is just so impractical. I can’t move to another city, let alone another country. I can’t… to get this far (my MA, due to finish in May) I have sacrificed a lot. There is nothing else left for me to give up and I feel completely stuck.

People tell me “oh but how many Roma can claim an MA?” … and honestly, I don’t know the answer. I just know that it has taken a lot out of me and I don’t know what to do, where to go, how to get there. A PhD was always a dream from the day I found out what one was. I feel so trapped here, sometimes. Not because of the life I’ve built, but because of the opportunities that slip through my fingers. It’s like I’m watching things from a distance. Seeing things I could be; things I could do; but realizing they aren’t meant for people like me.

Another thing I get so often is “you should be grateful for how far you’ve come”… and I am. I really am. But, that doesn’t mean I don’t want to go further and further and actually work to make a difference. As it stands, what have I done? Guest lectured in a few undergrad classes? Written a few (unpublished) articles? Written some letters? I’m nothing. As usual I spoke too soon, got overly excited, tried to decide my fate in the blink of an eye.

Roma like me don’t do things like that. I’ve fought so hard to get this far … still am fighting, those stares, those blank eyes when you say “Romani”, usually quickly followed by the “Oh, so-and-so was from Romania!”…

I’m tired and lost and scared and … confused.

Really, really confused. I miss my grandparents and parents advice. I miss them telling me how ridiculous I’m being in even wanting this at all. Maybe they were always right and academia is no place for a woman, a Roma woman…

especially me.

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