One Step Forward, Two Back, a Few to the Side, and Maybe a Twirl?

This blog was born out of the fact that I’ve always wanted to do one and that post graduation I found that I was finally without any actual excuses as to why I wasn’t doing it in my abundant amount of spare time. So it’s only fit that as I find myself approaching one year free from academic life I spew how far I’ve not come. That’s not totally true cause since being handed my expensive piece of paper I’ve gotten back an old job, gained a new one, and applied for two but failed to secure the positions. I mean it’s tons better than the first four months I spent sleeping in and laying on my couch all day watching TV and being totally absorbed in the internet. Granted I still sleep in (more than I should), spend a decent amount of time on our couch & the internet but at least I earn some money and pay bills to back up that laziness. But despite those small achievements I still find myself feeling stuck or that I’ve plateaued on some sad level of existence where I am obviously not living a dream life but I am aware it could be way, way, worse. And it’s when I really recognized that feeling and roll around in that I start to ponder what else I could be doing.

A good chunk of my friends are either still finishing up their undergrad or have gone on to grad school, and as much as I never imagined myself saying it; I miss school. It’s like the realization I had when I moved away from my hometown for the first time; that this place wasn’t as horrid as I had painted it growing up not being able to experience much else. Some form of academic setting had been all I’d known for so long I never really thought to picture what it would be like when I was officially free of it, and I mean picture it in realistic terms and not in the day dreams or fantasies I’d always cooked up. The first few months were okay cause I was in my ‘I’ve earned a totally carefree lazy-fest’ mind set and everybody else was on break too, but when they all started up classes again I began to realize that I was actually missing the routine of college life. Thus started the first real thought process I had about going to grad school. Never before had I ever considered it; and by that I mean it was more like I’d always been against the concept. My dreams had always involved needing nothing but an undergrad degree and I thought why would I put myself through more testing, grading, group projects (the literal WORST), and stress if I didn’t have too?

However now I’ve warmed to the idea. Part of me thinks it is because I have no plan right now and going back to school would fill my time while also giving me more opportunities to make connections or make a more definite plan for my future. Another part thinks it is so I could say I have an MA or a PhD (I could call myself a doctor!) and sound a little bit fancy-schmancy. But the biggest part of me thinks it is because I love learning, loved the direction I was heading my last year and would love to explore it more, and knows what I would study, research, and write my dissertation(s) on. I have a plan, I just don’t know the realistic chances of me ever enacting it. No matter how awesome it sounds and how much I am sure I would love it there is always going to be the likelihood that it just doesn’t make financial sense. My amount of debt due to undergrad is already pretty significant and I just don’t know if I can justify putting myself more in debt for something I can probably live without. Like I said my dreams never required a Master’s or a PhD. I can survive on less.There isn’t really a need for me to over reach and ask for more than I absolutely need to make it through, especially when the people I’d have to ask (outside the government for some serious financial aid) is my mom. I already asked her to help with undergrad and she did, I refuse to ask more of her. She did a lot to make sure I got to have most the things I needed, let alone wanted, thus far; grad school is a want not a need…no it’s time I fully be the independent woman I’ve always claimed to be (which I totally learned from her by the way) and stop asking.

That knowledge though, does not make it easier to let go of the images and day dreams I have about being in grad school and working on things. I have an overactive imagination (writer problems) and so I’ll never be able to stop them from forming and playing behind my eyelids when I look like I am paying attention to someone’s story or reading or sleeping. I just need to learn to stop myself from doing research or looking into requirements so that it hurts less when the images dissipate and I’m brought back to reality. Plus it’s not like grad school programs are going anywhere, I can always go back much later when I’ve worked my ass off for a while doing whatever and can afford it on my own. I took plenty of classes with nontraditional students (some in their seventies) so I know that extending your education can happen at pretty much any age.

Which I luckily have on my side as a 23-year-old. I hear it all the time from adults that I am young and have my whole life in front of me to figure things out, to make mistakes and go back and re-figure things out again. And that is some solid advice that I don’t take lightly or let go in one ear and out the other. When I was little I was sure I would have my shit together by 23, I mean my god 23 is ancient to a spry kid of adolescence. But now I am 23 don’t have my shit together, and as you can tell from this post and a few others some days it really bums me out. However on other days I am aware that I never really know what the future holds and I’ve got more years ahead of me than I’ve already lived (crazy thought to be totally truthful) so I need to worry less about “supposed to’s” and “should already have” and just make sure I survive so that someday I can have tons of “remember when’s”. You can surprisingly live a lot of life in 23 years so I am incredibly anxious to see what you can do with double and even triple that amount of time.

Am I were I wanted to be a year after college graduation? No. Growing up I had this pretty well structured outline of how I wanted to and thought I should live my life and I’ve gone way off script. Some good and some not so good but all worth it. I’ve had to restructure and edit for sure and now I’m not even sure where I want to be, or should be, a year from now. My life is an ever constant changing dance and I’ve always been shit at memorizing choreography so I am going to fumble my footwork more than once but I am confident that by the end I’ll get it.


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