Why “BLOSSOMING-Fledgling?” The Metaphor of the Bird-In-Paradise FLOWER . . . Part 1


Bird in Paradise Flower: Courtesy of wallpaprezt.com


Fledg-ling noun, often attributive     \ˈflej-liŋ\

  1. A young bird just fledged
  2. An immature or inexperienced person
  3. One that is new <a fledgling company>

Blossoming: from blossom

Blossom verb     \ˈblä-səm\


1 a: to come into one’s own: DEVELOP <a blossoming talent>

b: to become evident

c. to make an appearance

Source: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fledgling and http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/blossom



Please visit the About page for an introduction to the blog and please visit other pages at this blog for resources and discussions or to add content to the discussion yourself!

Below is the official first post!

May something therein be a blessing to you!

What Is the Way Forward from Here toward Developing a Writer’s Mindset While at the Same Time Being a Student of Writing?

Given this blog’s purpose as explained in the About page, I’d say that reflecting on and responding to the questions/prompts below is just as good a place to start as any.

  1. At the moment, where am I in this thesis/dissertation/article journey? Where is my next destination? Do I believe I can get there? Why?
  2. My researcher motto, mantra, and identity are (or would be if I had them), the following: ___________________________________.
  3. I have ways to still give my best, even when I’m a bit in the dark on things. My strategies for this include: ____________________________.
  4. I stay at peace despite the fact that the pathway is so winding. Here’s the wisdom I’ve gleaned about that: _________________________.

Please provide your reflections/answers in the comments section below. Our collective responses should be amazing! Thank you in advance for your contribution. Your participation is greatly appreciated and just might bless someone!!! : D

If you are pressed for time, then I’ll see you NEXT post. May the rest of your day be as you need, and thanks for stopping by the blog!

However . . .

If you have a moment to reflect on the Bird-In-Paradise flower and how that’s a perfect symbolization of our identity as blossoming fledgling researchers and thus of this blog’s title and purpose, please read on. I hope you’ll find this metaphor and concept encouraging! My reflections on this are longish, so I’ll break those thoughts up into three posts.


In Thinking about the Aptness of the Bird-in-Paradise Flower: It Couldn’t Be More Perfect!!!

I don’t know about you, but I have seriously struggled at times trying to do this thing we call researching. I’ve been really lost and sad at times in this whole “becoming/being-a-researcher” process. I am just now viewing myself as a researcher, and I’ve been in graduate school trying to complete my thesis for a while now (my cohort will tell you!).

Today and moving forward my stance is this: Not ONE MORE TIME will I beat myself up or count myself out or apologize to self or others for being a work in progress regarding this research journey. And I’m done “sitting” on helpful information that would support fellow budding researchers.

I announce to the universe that YES, it’s been a SERIOUS challenge at times, but I am no longer succumbing to the “it’s-taking-me-longer-than-it-should-so-something’s-wrong” syndrome. I’m fledgling. I’m blossoming. Both at the same time. And it’s okay.

Anybody out there feel me on this?

Everyone who is in a similar boat, let’s take the stance, and then let’s just take a deep breath and say a big “wooo saaaa” together.


Woooo saaaa! (Do you feel better? I feel better already!)

Since we are NOT beating ourselves up, what are we doing instead?

While you’ll have to find what works for you, what’s working for me is to understand that my identity is that of the bird-in-paradise flower. How did I come to that conclusion? Well, one definition of fledgling is a young bird. So I googled “bird and flower,” hoping to find a signature icon for this bog. When my eye landed on the bird-in-paradise flower, I thought to myself: “This flower  . . . is a bird . . . and a flower . . . and lives in Paradise? Well, I’ll be! That is the message! That is the message that I have personally needed all along.”

Here’s what I took from that search experience of finding that image:

Make PEACE with being a fledgling bird. It’s just the way it goes. Besides!: Birds can fly! That’s gotta encourage. You’ll get your wings, and when you do, I’m sure you and your research will take off. But in the meanwhile, during the struggles and down times, don’t deny that you are a flower: You are a blossom, and you blossom at times. You can’t discount that because you are fledgling and will struggle. Make peace with your “both-and” fledgling-blossoming status, and this is how you maintain your residence in Paradise.

I’m absolutely LOVING the Bird-in-Paradise flower! Inspired I am!

A Major Truth

I’m only in a better place academic-self-efficacy-wise right now because I’m starting to experience the effects of acclimating to my discipline’s discourse. And that just simply took me a while. That process just does. The pathway is not linear, and that is a challenging thing for my math-y mind and sometimes my ego to deal with!

Please check Part 2 of this post for a continuation. There is good news to all of this! It’s just a matter of stepping back and gaining perspective. And then aligning ourselves with folks who can help us regain perspective when we lose it.

Speak Your Mind!

So what say you? Once again: (1) How do you feel about the researcher’s journey? (2) What would YOUR researcher motto, mantra, and identity be? (3) What are ways you still give it your best when you are a bit in the dark on things? (4) As a blossoming-fledgling researcher — a bird-in-paradise FLOWER, how do you maintain “residency”?

Well! Thank you so much for visiting and supporting what I hope will be an encouraging, collaborative endeavor if all of us chime in periodically to share our hard-won know-how and wisdom.

Looking forward to your contributions, comments, alternative ideas, musings, links, encouragement, and camaraderie!



Please check out Part 2 of this series of posts. Simply click the “Next” link (possibly a few times needed) at the very top of this post. See you there! . . .


8 thoughts on “Why “BLOSSOMING-Fledgling?” The Metaphor of the Bird-In-Paradise FLOWER . . . Part 1

  1. Pingback: Why “BLOSSOMING-Fledgling? Researcher” The Metaphor of the Bird-In-Paradise FLOWER . . . Part 2 | The BLOSSOMING-Fledgling Researcher

  2. Pingback: Why “BLOSSOMING-Fledgling?” The Metaphor of the Bird-In-Paradise FLOWER . . . Part 2 | The BLOSSOMING-Fledgling Researcher

  3. Oh, Alyssa! God bless for sharing!!!

    I received THREE huge take-aways from what you wrote above, and I may have to modify either my mantra, my motto, or BOTH now to incorporate what you and jchen04 have so graciously shared. What you wrote speaks directly, in my opinion, to jchen04’s share of Dr. Pajares’s words to “Write fearlessly!” and “Teach fearlessly!” The quotes below from your post tell WHY we can and should, in my opinion.

    Your wrote above that:
    (1) “I keep this poem as a reminder that, though I may not ‘change the world’ as an educational researcher, I will change part of it.”

    (2) “Overstreet reminds me that I can’t do everything all of the time, but the efforts that I make are mine to make, no matter whom I teach and what I study.”

    (3) “Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.” – Zora Neale Hurston

    I can write fearlessly if I realize that I’m simply changing PART of the ‘world.’ That I can handle! I can write fearlessly if I can see research as curiosity–as poking and prying WITH A PURPOSE. If it is indeed CURIOSITY, then it can only be MINE, right, if I am producing it?!!!

    AHA moment indeed!!!! Wow.

    And that is what point #2 above says: “. . . the efforts to make are mine to make, NO MATTER . . .”

    I’m going to let all of this — my mantra, my take-aways from your post, and jchen04’s share — marinate for a couple of days.

    IN THE MEANWHILE, I have got to find the perfect place at this blog to catalog your three mantras. It is neat that they came from different times in your development as a researcher.

    Excellent share, madame! Thank you for carving some time out of your professor-researcher-teacher-wife-woman life to touch fellow journeyers with it. . . . Fantastic!



  4. I have three research-related mantras that I keep on sticky notes (virtual and hard copy) in my office and on my computer. They are from three different points in my “research life.”

    1) Upon entering graduate school, I came across this poem by Bonaro Overstreet, entitled To one who doubts the worth of doing anything if you can’t do everything: “You say that the little/
Efforts that I make/
Will do no good;/
They never will prevail/
To tip the hovering scale/
Where justice hangs in the balance./
I don’t think I ever thought they would/
But I am prejudiced/
Beyond debate/
In favor of my right/
To choose which side/
Shall feel the stubborn/
Ounces of my weight.”

    2) Upon beginning my own research for the first time, a colleague shared this quotation by one of my favorite authors: “Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.” – Zora Neale Hurston

    3) Upon finishing my dissertation and being challenged by the reality that the people who I thought should know about my results did not WANT to know about my results, my dissertation co-chair shared this wisdom: “Your most powerful voice is what you write and not what you say. Words from your mouth are mostly forgotten or misrepresented minutes after you say them. Your publications last even after you are not around. You will ultimately have the last word.” –Jacqueline Jordan Irvine

    I’ll talk about the first one for now because I think it relates to both teaching and research in education, which I think are inextricably linked if they are to be done well. I keep this poem as a reminder that, though I may not “change the world” as an educational researcher, I will change part of it. People often ask why I study education and why I teach, in particular, about urban schools and students. “Don’t you get depressed?” they say, “It’s all so hopeless.” I often respond that, on the contrary, I am a very hopeFUL person. I could not do what I do—and encourage future teachers to go into urban education—if I didn’t believe that things could change… if I didn’t have hope that there was a better future for education. Teachers, myself included, are some of the most hopeful people I know! None of this effort would matter if we didn’t see the possibility of an alternative to all the problems.

    This poem also comes in handy when, as Jason wrote in his post, I wonder if I am on the right path. I think about teaching high school nearly every day and speculate about what it would mean to return to the secondary classroom. I miss it terribly, and I’ve been told by people much wiser than myself that I will never stop missing it. Overstreet reminds me that I can’t do everything all of the time, but the efforts that I make are mine to make, no matter whom I teach and what I study. In the end, borrowing the words of Jamie Washington: as with teaching, being a researcher “isn’t about what I do, it’s about who I am.”

  5. I’ll post a little ditty about this topic, although I’m not sure if it’ll stay on topic completely! The life of research is not for the faint of heart, that’s for sure. Frankly, I ask myself on a weekly basis: “Why did I not just stay in high school teaching??!!” But my words of advice constitute my researcher’s motto, and it comes from advice given to me by my late advisor (Frank Pajares): “Just be fearless.” When I was an undergrad, I took Dr. P’s ed psych class. Dr. P, for anyone who doesn’t know, although somewhat small in stature and seemingly innocuous is downright frightening if you read his syllabus (and if you become his doctoral student). He says things like this: “You have 1-page reflections due every week. You MUST make elegant connections and back up every contention with relevant sources. Oh, and don’t forget to be BRILLIANT.” So as an undergrad, I walked into his office to seek his council. We ended up chatting about random things for an hour. I asked him, finally, how I should go about writing this reflection. To which he responded: “Jason, just be fearless. Write fearlessly!” I was puzzled. Over time, though, I figured out what he was saying. I was also fortunate enough to have run into him because he was an awesome teacher. Later on, when I decided to teach, I was nervous because I had to teach chemistry and physics to 120 kids. His wise council: “Jason, just be fearless. Teach fearlessly.”

    When Dr. P died, I went into depression because I thought that everything that I had worked for would go down the drain. But he spoke to me still. And I was reminded again to be fearless. I had to fearlessly carve out research questions, write lit reviews, the whole 9 yards … and with no real advisor. I don’t think the credit goes to me for pulling this off. The one thing that I did was I pulled myself together, and ACTIVELY pursued people to help me. I called people … hunted them down at AERA … emailed folks … went to mentoring sessions and asked people to help me. I don’t normally do that sort of stuff. But it was the will to move on and continue with a dream that drove me. That sort of thing requires fearlessness. I think everyone defines fearlessness according to their context. But that’s something that you need to figure out. What fears are holding you back? Find it, put your finger on it, and ACTIVELY choose to conquer it. I kept a researcher’s journal too for a little while before becoming overwhelmed. But you should check it out, because I’ve written about some things that have helped me. Here it is –> http://lifeafterthedoctorate.blogspot.com/

    Z, I do think that you are taking a great and fearless step forward by starting a blog because you are now putting it all out there. If you go to my blog above, read the one about Chef Gusteau (from the movie Ratatouille). It touches on this idea of fearlessness. Thanks for starting this!

    • Wow, Jason!

      What a wonderful, WONDERFUL share. (I’m moving it to our “Key Co-Author Submissions” page) and will also feature it for a while. Dr. P: I am tearing up right now in gratitude to everything he was to you especially, but also to everyone around him.

      Oh, oh, OOOOOOH how I miss Dr. P., so I can ONLY IMAGINE that whole process for you. What a blessing that you came out on the other side and carry so much of his wisdom with you. It will bless.

      And thank you for your comments about what starting this blog is and means. I’ll take that (smile).

      Write FEARLESSLY. I really, really, REALLY needed to hear that right now.

      Write FEARLESSLY.

      Teach FEARLESSLY. Yes, Dr. P.

      NOTE: I am adding your blog to this site’s blogroll. Excellent stuff, Jason.

  6. Hi, future blossoming-fledgling researcher, Diana!

    It’s exciting to hear that you are moving in the direction of becoming a researcher. Yay! I believe that if there is a researcher inside of you, then you know it and your academic discipline is in need of your contribution to the conversation. Neat, neat, neat!

    And, oh, thank you for the wonderful feedback. I can’t tell you how encouraging it was for me: God has really put it on my heart to get this blog going, and I am so glad to know that the initial post was valuable in some way. It was a little lengthy, but it was heartfelt.

    So far one co-author has joined, and I’m following up on the other invitations I’ve sent. I know that a setup consisting of multiple contributors is what’s needed if this blog is to be successful and helpful for a wide(r) audience of future and current blossoming-fledging-researchers.

    Well, please keep me posted! I want to know where you end up attending and what area of research you end up choosing, no matter when it is that you start. Whether it’s next semester or a few years from now, I’ll be around! 😉

    So glad to have heard from you, Diana.


    Blog Creator

  7. I absolutely loved what you shared. I’m not in school but there is a researcher in me. I look forward to following this blog. Thanks. Amber’s mom.

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