Tuesday, June 24, 2014

What They Don't Tell You About Grad School

I'm very thankful for the opportunities that have come my way.  Being a full-time graduate student was always a dream of mine.  Even better, I was offered an assistantship to teach while studying.  The best part - tuition remission.  How amazing is it to continue your education for free?!  I'm incredibly grateful and don't want to down play that.

However, there are some things that they don't tell you about being a full-time graduate student.  

Sometimes it feels like you're on pause.  As someone who left a position teaching full-time, it doesn't feel like I'm working.  Don't get me wrong, I AM working.  But when you're taking classes and only teaching 1 or 2, it feels like you're not doing anything.  I'm ready to get my life going again!  I never in a million years would have thought that I didn't want to always be a full-time student. However, I've come to learn that.  My initial plan after my M.A. was to pursue my Ph.D. full-time.  I now know that there is NO WAY! I'm ready to get a job, start working, and begin developing my life.  

Sometimes it feels like you're behind.  You see everything that your Facebook "friends" are doing and it makes you feel incomplete.  Everyone and their mother is now having a baby.  Everyone is now engaged.  Everyone is out and about loving their lives.  Don't get me wrong, I quite enjoy my life.  But, I am now single and still in school.  It sometimes feels like the life marks are way out of reach.  But that's okay, our culture needs to value singleness.  After all, right now is the time when I can do anything I want with no repercussions.

Sometimes it feels like you're ahead.  This obviously isn't bad, but it is true. You realize that you really have accomplished a TON in your life... but what do you have to show for it?  You were up for tenure.  You received numerous scholarships.  You were offered an assistantship.  You presented at conferences. You even worked on a book published by Oxford Journals.  I don't know.  It just seems like all of these accomplishments should work toward something.  In the future they will, but right now nothing is a brewin'.

With all of that aside, I'm 100% confident in my decision to leave my job and pursue my M.A.  If you can swing it financially, do it!  You will definitely dig deeper into your content area.  And hey, you'll probably find out what you like and don't like.  And that's really what every experience is about.