Hi, my name is Davene Harris, and I am an evocative Autoethnographer. Well, I found that out in 2020 when I was completing my Masters degree, on route to becoming a Counsellor.
As an Autoethnographer, I write research articles taking on the dual roles of the ‘researched’, and the researcher. There is a link that exists between one’s personal, social and cultural experiences that demands a level of creative expression when writing about them (Wall 2006). On this note, I want to welcome you to what I deem as The Sociologist’s Journey. It will entail you travelling across my teenage to adult years, in various countries, with multiple educational pursuits and career experiences leading up to my Sociology postgraduate degree. Since it is evocative or emotional, causing the reader to connect with the feelings and experiences of the writer (Méndez 2013), it will be written in a narrative or story-like form. Autoethnography is not a typical or traditional form of research writing, and since its inception has been widely accepted (Ellis and Bochner 2006) and criticized (Spickard et al 2002), as it establishes itself as a notable qualitative research method within the Social Sciences and Humanities fields of study.
The journey began when back in high school in Jamaica, I was asked what my career goal was. At that point in time, I selected Computer-related courses as my major because I felt creative and wanted to explore different career options in the field of Information Technology. However, somewhere deep inside me was the lingering passion to teach, but I decided not to highlight that as my career goal, because I thought it was the popular, and sometimes comfortable route that persons who weren't sure what to do with their lives chose as a potential profession. Nevertheless I ended up enrolling in a post-secondary teaching institution and chose Computer Studies and Mathematics as my major. So, I guess I was hitting one bird with multiple stones or is it multiple birds with one stone? Here I was being trained to be a Teacher in the Information Technology field. My very first year of study when the opportunity was presented for me to select a minor, I immediately chose Guidance and Counselling, because I knew I was always purposed to help people, and, my role model in the person of my mother, was also a trained Guidance Counsellor. Even though after Teacher's College I went directly into teaching Computer Studies and Mathematics, the passion, the yearning and the desire to become a Counsellor did not leave. (Lajom et al 2018) suggest that passion is associated with the career that an individual is currently pursuing, or desires to pursue, where they “willingly engage and invest time and effort in interesting and identity-forming activities which they hold in high regard and value”. I could relate to that, as in fact, many of my teaching sessions turned into group counselling sessions offering advice or alternative ways of thinking about student life and challenges. It wasn't until after spending years providing instruction at a particular post-secondary institution, and realising adults needed a lot more than the form of education that was being presented to them, that I decided to shift gears and become a Montessori trained Educator in Canada. After that training I spent two years in the classroom, still realizing that my passion for Counselling was burning just the same. And so I decided to finally make the step. However, a couple years prior to that, I enrolled in a Bible School and completed a one-year Counselling course. As far as I can recall that was my best class for the entire three years I spent at that institution. In my opinion I did very well because I was called back to assist with counselling classes at my alma mater, as well as assist with individual and group counselling within the organization/ association that governed the counselling course. So as you can see Counselling was not only something that was burning inside of me, it was also something that I went after. However, as I said before, I always felt as if there was more, so I decided to branch out and search for what I thought was another route that I could take into becoming the Counsellor that I ever so long to be. After carefully reading the course description, I applied for a Masters of Arts in Sociology at a well-recognized public university in the United Kingdom. The Sociologist’s Journey continues…
Ellis, C.S. and Bochner, A.P., 2006. Analyzing analytic autoethnography: An autopsy. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 35 (4), 429-449.
Lajom, J.A.L., et al., 2018. Dualistic passion for work and its impact on career outcomes: Scale validation and nomological network. Journal of Career Assessment, 26 (4), 631-648.
Méndez, M., 2013. Autoethnography as a research method: Advantages, limitations and criticisms. Colombian Applied Linguistics Journal, 15 (2), 279-287.
Spickard, J.V., Landres, S. and McGuire, M.B., 2002. Personal knowledge and beyond: reshaping the ethnography of religion. NYU Press.
Wall, S., 2006. An autoethnography on learning about autoethnography. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 5 (2), 146-160.