I always loved the rain. Being born on the northern Aegean coast of Turkey, rain is equal to not so cold winters for me. I never feel bothered when it rains, because I know that in the geography where I live in, rain cannot last more than a few days and eventually the sun will come out. It is almost a favorite pastime of mine to stand out in the rain without an umbrella. I let the raindrops fall down on my cheeks, refresh my hair and chill me a bit. I know I risk catching a cold, ruining my clothes or looking like an idiot when I do that, but I can’t help it.
“Under the Rain, With No Umbrella” was the first name that came to my mind when I was asked to find a name for this column because that is exactly how I feel in academia. When I first decided to become an academic, I was very idealistic. I did not care much about how long it would take me to finish my studies and become a full academic, I did not care how much money I would make, I did not care how late I would have to “start life” after school, I probably did not even know that once you are an academic there is no such concept as “after graduation”. I did not know what kind of a world I would find myself in, to be honest. I just wanted to learn and pass on what I learn to others. I wanted to lead the people, the nations and the world in general to pursue better lives guided by better education. That ideal was the shining sun that gave me the energy.
However, unlike on the Aegean coast, the rains never cease in academia. We are constantly under the rain of challenges and we have so many things to carry in our hands and so many things that we would like to get a hold of that we have no room for an umbrella and we are getting wet in the process. Challenges are pouring down on us and it’s really rare that we get to feel the warmth of the sun. Yet we still say that we do love the rain of challenges as they help us grow and be better at what we do and we are not trying to escape.
We are aware of the need to strike a balance between the determinism and the commitment to an idealism that will keep us in the classroom and the reality of the time and environment necessary to “have a life”. As GenX women, we are academics, but we are so much more than that: we are also friends, mothers, sisters, daughters; we are dreamers, artists. We are ourselves and we are in a constant effort to build better versions of ourselves, personally and professionally, under the rain, with no umbrella.