Graduate Student Corner
I was honored and excited to be invited by Sindes Dawood to share my reflections on SITAR in the Graduate Student Corner. As I began musing on what piece of my experience I wanted to share, I considered how I would characterize my involvement in SITAR as a graduate student. It is clear to all that SITAR represents rigorous scholarship housed within an intimate, communal setting, simply browse the GSC annals for other testaments to this. It follows that participating in SITAR and the annual conferences offers graduate students with both agentic and communal opportunities. Rather than just detail the professional opportunities I have been afforded as a student member, I felt compelled to also discuss the personal opportunities: opportunities of growth, gratitude, and empowerment. As Seneca, a Stoic philosopher, wrote, “you should invite some to your table because they are deserving, others because they may come to deserve it” (Seneca, Moral Letters, 47.15b). For me, this message captures the triad of growth, gratitude, and empowerment I have experienced within SITAR.
My recent experience presenting at the 2018 conference in Montreal captures each piece of this triad. I had the opportunity to present some of my work in my first conference talk to my SITAR peers and colleagues. A benefit of the intimate nature of SITAR is the fact that “peers and colleagues” equates to the “giants of interpersonal theory” and “leaders of the field.” As is representative of all student presentations, my talk was met with meaningful critiques and questions, cultivation of new ideas, and encouragement. I feel as though Seneca’s message captures the duality of student involvement in SITAR conferences: we have a seat at the table among the leading researchers in the field which, in turn, cultivates our growth. How could one not feel grateful in this position? For me, the pairing of growth and gratitude results in empowerment to challenge myself to push further.
I’d like to argue that each piece of this triad cannot be completely separated from the others. Through SITAR, I have been NO-ingly pushed to grow as a researcher. I have experienced, and continue to experience, sincere gratitude to be given such growth opportunities and to be treated as a colleague. I feel empowered by others’ perspectives, critiques, and excitement over my work. Within SITAR, all members have a seat at the table.