Graduate school in normal times is a stressful experience for many. These are not normal times.
Two decades ago, I moved to a new city that I’d never visited before to start a post-doc fellowship. The work was interesting and the hours fairly regular, at least at first. When I arrived in the city, I wanted to make my walk with God a priority.
Last fall, I defended my Ph.D. dissertation, and in May I attended my graduation at Virginia Tech’s Blacksburg campus. My studies were challenging, especially since I was changing my discipline, from engineering to Science and Technology Studies (STS), which is built around a core of history, sociology, and philosophy.
It was 1991, during the summer between my first and second years of medical school. I was in the basement of a Christian clinic in Times Square. The clinic provided free medical care for homeless people in New York City. I was filling up a tub with warm soapy water so one of our homeless clients could soak his feet.
I once had a seminary professor who liked to talk about something he called liminality. The term comes from the Latin word limens, which means “threshold.” Liminal space is a place of transition, of waiting and not knowing.