Cultivating Life in 2013

I was happy to get an email last night with my first #Cultivate14 prompt! I was out bowling at the time, and got home late, so I didn’t get a chance to write, meaning that I have a bit of catching up to do, but here is the prompt:

What did you set out to accomplish last year? What did you do to cultivate your goals and your life? Did your intentions manifest last year?

Boy oh boy. 2013 was the year of accomplishments.

First of all, I successfully defended my dissertation in April and officially became Dr. Briones. In May, I was hooded by my wonderful advisor and got to celebrate this amazing achievement with my family and friends. The celebrations continued with a graduation party my parents threw for me in June, which gave me some of the greatest memories of my father, who passed away this past October. By December, I successfully completed my first full semester as a brand spankin’ new Assistant Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, with no major complaints (from me or my students!) in the very slightest. So all in all, everything I set out to do last year was accomplished in a way that I’m super happy and satisfied with, so hooray for that. 🙂

What did I do to cultivate my goals and my life? Well, in order to graduate, I pretty much immersed myself in my dissertation. It got to the point where I couldn’t sleep because I was thinking about it so hard, and when I did eventually fall asleep, I would have dreams about it. And once I got that hard-earned diploma and was able to hang it up in my snazzy office at VCU (you better believe it was the first thing I hung up in there, by the way!) I set out to survive my first semester by #1 – surrounding myself with great mentors. Not only did I have the honor and privilege of having an amazing School mentor (she’s the best!) but I also was blessed with being paired with a fantastic mentor at the University level through the Center for Teaching Excellence’s Junior Faculty Mentoring Program. I honestly don’t know how the semester would have shaken out if it weren’t for these wonderful mentors who were so willing to meet with me and talk about everything I needed in terms of the big three (teaching, research, service). So yeah, I consider myself extremely lucky in that regard.

In terms of more life cultivation, I mostly did this through my amazing support network, that is my friends. This past year I tried to make more of an effort to reach out to folks, which was great, because I got to play catch up with so many people I haven’t spoken to in a while, and the ones I do get to see on a fairly regular basis I got to see even more, which is a total win-win situation in my opinion. I’ve grown even closer to my sister over the past year, who I consider to be one of my best friends, and I couldn’t be happier. We particularly bonded over going to church, which is another life cultivating activity that I started in 2013 that will definitely make more appearances in future blog posts. Let’s just say that I’ve committed to the journey of becoming a more loving, Christlike person, and I’m excited about where that will lead me in 2014.

So overall, I’ll say that in terms of my career I’ve taken the right strides to make things happen, and I’ve strengthened many relationships in my life. I’m looking forward to how this will all progress in the upcoming year, which my pastor tells me is Rowena’s Year. So stay tuned!

A lot to be proud of in 2013!

A lot to be proud of in 2013!




About Rowena Winkler

Passionate Performer, Speaker and Writer by Calling, Dancer of All Good Beats, Yoga Practitioner and Enthusiast, Spiritual Trustee of the Universe, Traveler of Many Distant Lands, Lover of Derek the Logical but Amiable, Mother of Eponine/Dex/Teyla, Architect of Spoken Word Poetry, Trainer in the Craft of Communication, Unapologetic Individual, First of Her Name.
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