Thursday, October 14, 2010

Musings of a meanering mind

During the epic 2.5 hour breakfast with my best friend on Monday, the topic of schooling came up.  Now, she’s got a master’s degree.  She took a slightly less traditional route, meaning that there were a few months that she wasn’t in school for either her undergrad or graduate degrees, but mostly, she was a student until after her masters.  She’s considering a doctorate.  

As many of you know, I was NEVER a traditional college student.  I went to a junior college for my associate degree which took me 5.5 years because I went part time to work a full time and part time job during the process.  Then I stopped.  There simply weren’t the funds (or the support but that’s an entirely different issue) to continue.  Four years and a divorce later, I went back full time while working my current full time job.  I took 3 hour classes Monday through Thursday after work, ever week because I also took summer courses, for two solid years.  It netted me a bachelor degree with some honors attached.  

Two years later, this highly educated woman and I are actually having a conversation about how we don’t feel we’ve gone far enough and do we really have it in us to do more.  Self-doubt is evident.  How can this be?!  Now, for her sake, she simply wants to further hone skills she already has.  She doesn’t seem to have any doubt that she COULD survive more schooling, but simply wondering if she SHOULD.  I’m in an entirely different boat.  I doubt that I CAN, even though it is very obvious to everyone around me that I SHOULD.  

The dreaded topic of a masters degree just keeps coming back over and over.  I believe it feels that it needs to be dealt with instead of simply pushed under the rug and ignored.  Even after that conversation on Monday, it was brought up two more times: once because I brought it up to my husband and another time out of the clear blue by a coworker.    

Here are the issues involved in this jumbled conversation about going back to school that runs through my head.  First, I still have the loans from getting my bachelor.  Increasing that debt just seems….off-putting.  My ultimate goal is to be debt free at all times.  This is contrary to that goal in the short-term.  Second, fat-lotta good the bachelor degree did me!  Oh wait.  The market crashed the month I got my financial services degree, so perhaps I am just a tiny bit bitter that it affected me so adversely and blame my degree instead of the market.  Third, I still don’t know what I want t be when I grow up!  How sad is that….at 32?  My husband and best friend assure me that only the few and lucky know this.  But how do you go about selecting the proper degree plan without a career in mind?  Fourth, when I think about going back to school, I am literally terrified.  I feel that I someone lucked my way into my last degree.  I floundered a bit and had to relearn so much because of the time gap.  I’ll have to relearn it all over again since it’s been two years.  I’m not entirely sure my brain will be willing to cooperate this time around.  Lastly, I still want to be a great wife, and I don’t know how well I’d juggle graduate school, our marriage, work, and our very demanding dog.  

Despite all this, I find myself perusing the graduate degree pages at UNT.  Guess I’m just a glutton for punishment?

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