December 1, 2012

Born Joy

This year I transition from college statistics professor to who knows? No longer is JoyOfStatistics an apt URL. Welcome to my new URL: BornJoy. I'll only be in statistics for another six months, but I'll always be born joy.

Recently, I've thought through my journey to statistics professor. In college, my major was math (emphasis in statistics). I chose that major not because I loved it, but because I was good at math and it felt comfortable to me. I enjoyed it, but it didn't bring me alive inside. In my last year of college, I didn't know what I wanted as a career, but I did know I enjoyed school--I liked to learn; I felt comfortable in school. (Notice I've used the word "comfortable" twice; this is a purposeful choice.) In what area would I get my PhD? Statistics, of course, because that's what I knew and what felt safe.

Looking back, I enjoyed most of my stats courses in graduate school, but I didn't love them. Yet something magical did happen in graduate school: I fell in love with teaching. I relished both my interactions with students and my preparations for class. At statistics conferences, I gravitated toward the education sessions, where creative teaching ideas were shared. I realized a completed PhD was my ticket to a job at a small liberal arts college, where teaching is revered. That's how I found the discipline to finish my PhD. My love was always for teaching, with a strong like of statistics.

So it's not so surprising I find myself looking for a new career path--one that makes my heart sing. One that is not the safe road. And I realize there are many and varied ways to teach. Regardless of my new professional chapter, I will continue to write, photograph, connect, share, and live life with an open heart. I was indeed born with the name Joy. And I think I was also born filled with joy. And that joy spills out more and more each day.


  1. Love your new blog name and can't wait to hear what will happen in the next few months. I guess I feel as excited as you do about this brand new direction.
    Wishing you a weekend filled with joy!
    PS: really like the beautiful and special light in this little series of photos
    PPS: to me, your last photo stands for the treasure of the new path that is waiting for you ...

  2. Cococita: Thank you for your excitement! Your creative and unwavering support (from across the ocean) means so much to me. And, yes, that last photo spoke to me. I took a late-afternoon walk and found nothing of note to photograph. Then I happened upon a park where the sunset was gorgeous. It was a moment of magic. And a new step on my path.

  3. When I look carefully, it seems like there are tiny hands in that shell making the "heart" sign :)

    I like the new blog name too. You are still teaching (those of us who read are your students) but I think the joy comes because you're learning at the same time.

    1. Wendy: Thanks for these thoughtful and kind words. Yes, I'm teaching and learning at the same time--feels great! I'm ready to no longer be the "expert" and simply be a person finding my own path and sharing along the way.

  4. I have long held that no one I know is more aptly named than you.

    Keep being true to yourself and I look forward to seeing where you take your professional life from here!

    1. Dana: Your words touch me deeply. I'm so glad we've stayed in touch. (One of the wonderful perks of my time at Lawrence.)