I am pleased to have been featured on the Black Future Dr Podcast, where I discussed my research experience and African/black identity. See the link below to listen:
Though most days feel like a blur presently, it does not feel so long ago since I started my PhD study. For readers who may not know, my PhD research is on Nigerian Student Experience, and I currently explore themes of identity, belonging and performance among Nigerian students.
Now, back to my short post!
2020 was a difficult year for me, because I lost track of my work-rhythm and had to fight to find a new rhythm of productivity. I had difficulties reading, writing and understanding; I struggled to find any kind of mental clarity to process my thoughts succinctly.
In that season of struggle, I learned it was important to turn up consistently and try to push my research forward with every ounce of energy I did not have, despite the challenges I faced. I ‘did not have’ any energy because I felt incredibly drained in the process, but I made progress, with continuous effort. I have to thank my amazing family, supervisors, pastor and friends for their support, because their time, counsel and love made (and continue to make) a huge difference to my wellbeing, stability and productivity.
I am currently in my third year of study, and I wish to express how incredibly thankful I am, for the privilege I have to do what I do. I am thankful to have ideas and abilities worthy of use, and I am thankful to research on a subject I enjoy so much!
I am learning, still, to persevere and turn up persistently; I am learning to live by faith and not fear; I am learning to remain grateful and give thanks to God in all situations.
The idea of belonging is deconstructed in this episode, and several hidden interrelated themes are identified and discussed.
This discussion features contributions from Dr Arinola Adefila, David Adeola, Mabel Alkali, Farhana Lunat, Emmanuel Johnson and Andi Rusyaidi.
See links below to listen/download.
Powerful moment in history, is now. The 'what if' factor is the lifesaver I wish to write on, in a humble attempt to express its power and influence in everyday affairs. Powerful moment in history, is now, as I step out to interact with those I attempt to avoid but cannot do without. What if, I was wrong to avoid them in the first place? I now contemplate as I am shown something too magnificent to express in words, by those I attempted to avoid. By Emmanuel Johnson
These days, I see things take a turn here and another there. The straight path which once was creates ever-forming interlinks I now try to make sense of. I am conflicted. My observation of its nature keeps me perplexed, as I see same and others hide beneath the same mask. In the final analysis, I realise a dedication to get to the root of this, and prevailing situations, which obstruct my search, as I continually seek meaning. By Emmanuel Johnson
I’m a PhD student at Coventry University Centre for Global Learning: Education and Attainment, exploring Identity and Belonging, and the role of Faith in International Students’ Study. My experience at the start entailed developing better time-management, and familiarising myself with a higher standard of writing and knowledge expected at PhD level.
From a social viewpoint, the journey has been quite isolating. Socially, the University campus no longer looks like it did in the past. I find this experience new because, although I’m on a campus I am very familiar with, my focus has shifted onto a phase much higher than ever. For the first time academically, I have no ‘classmates’. This of course typifies the nature and essence of independent study. I have often compared my PhD to the idea of a marriage, and I would say to myself: ‘I’m married to my PhD and I’m more than willing to make it work!’. This, unexpectedly has boosted my motivation and drive to push on with a stronger sense of fervency and urgency.
I am currently writing my literature review. Sometimes I feel completely blank mentally; falter in will and struggle to maintain focus or generate ideas. At those times, I step out of my office and head to Holy Trinity Church which is nearby. As I’m a religious man, I sit down to pray, meditate and contemplate on matters close to my heart. Or, I take a walk around the University campus, take a seat; observe and pay close attention to my surroundings. This helps me greatly and refreshes my mind for the work ahead!
I try to achieve balance. I have discovered the need for it, whilst going through tons of readings very frequently. I participate in non-academic activities like social hangouts with friends, walks to the park, film watching and consumption, and involvement in social events.
I am glad to be here and cannot imagine doing anything else. That’s it for now, I have to get back to my literature review!
Faithful and trustworthy saying, resounded in me, speeding past the tunnels of time to find me right where I am. Faithful and trustworthy saying, ingrained in me, with all majestic hope and expectation from the ones who love me dearly, with all their heart and might, that one day, maybe just maybe, it shall turn out to be my saving grace. How faithful, how trustworthy, is the path of the shining light, ever true, that shines brighter and brighter, unto the perfect day. Abide by it, my child. By Emmanuel Johnson
The blend is right, caught midway through emotions. Lay hold of the flash in all its beauty and radiance. Its textures so soothing, feeling so warming. A beauty to behold, a comforter in despair. And now, the rhythm is right, the passage is clear. All of God's children shall vibe in harmony. By Emmanuel Johnson
Father of the heavenly lights, I begin sincerely on a note of piety; expressing my gratitude for these situations and beings I find myself surrounded by everyday. I realise the soothing embrace of your grace upon my face everyday, and as I let your light soak in me, I acknowledge your tender loving-kindness on the inside and out. Purify my heart as I yonder on, these uncertain days, upholding the very hope you have planted in my soul. I ask that you abide with me, and grant me the grace to live as you have instructed. So help me, giver of all things good. Amen. By Emmanuel Johnson
Acquainted with you again; truly, you are no new companion because I have shared moments of reason, laughter and sadness with you for many, many years. But now, called into question by this new state, I ask myself more truthfully: can I recognise you any longer? You seem very different this time around. The state I find myself misleads; I work reasonably to find a way around it. But as I get to witness more states around, I realise ever-static banalities which shaped past encounters and meanings. Now I find that very interesting. By Emmanuel Johnson