Life of a Blogger is a weekly meme hosted by Jessi @ Novel Heartbeat. Each week Jessi chooses a topic (scheduled in advance) that’s not book related so we that we can get to know our fellow bloggers better – and to know more about them than just books. I’m thrilled to join in and I hope to participate every week from here on out. I hope you’ll join in too – check out the details here!
This week’s topic: School
School. Geez, that’s such a loaded topic for me right now and I’m in serious danger of making this a rant and not a get to know me post. I’ll try to stay calm. No promises though 😀
So I’m what you’d probably call a professional student. I’ve been in school for the past… wait while I count… past EIGHT YEARS! Yep, eight! It started off so innocently and it’s completely taken over my life.
See EIGHT YEARS AGO I noticed a disturbing trend at my job. I got rave evaluations. I was the official trainer. Every new person we got, I trained them. And then watched them get promoted, while I was stuck. Why? Because I only had a high school diploma. And some arse thought that made me less qualified. So I started community college, which I attend full time while working 70+ hours a week.
Well that backfired – and I’m not sure if it was more on me or on my employer at this current moment. See, I realized that I didn’t want to waste my life in some corporate job. While I was attending community college my major changed from business to education. Yep. I decided I wanted to be a teacher. And I learned that I’m a damn good teacher (not bragging, just saying it how it is).
So after two years at community college, instead of stopping with my associates degree as I initially planned, I enrolled at a 4-year school (University of Texas at Arlington). I still had to work full-time hours but I couldn’t carry all that overtime or daytime hours anymore. So I quit the company I’d worked at for four years and took a job where I could work a late night shift. That’s where it backfired on them – they lost a good employee and they actually paid for my associate’s degree.
While I was at UTA I learned another layer about myself. Very long story short, I discovered that I had what it takes to go to grad school and be a professor someday. So I changed my major again – this time from education to two degrees: 1 in History (with a Medieval & Early Modern Studies minor) and 1 in English (with a classics minor). I applied to graduate schools in the fall of 2010 and by April 2011 I’d been excepted into 11 different programs across the US with a full ride and stipend. A local news channel even did an interview with me. I was at the top!
That was probably where I should have stopped. But I didn’t. I moved 600+ miles away to attend graduate school at Washington University in St. Louis. There I learned something else about myself. I don’t like graduate school, but I’m stubborn as hell. Even though I’ve wanted to throw in the towel since the first day of my first class in August 2011 I’m still working on it. I should earn my Masters in History this fall. Technically I’m on the PhD track, but at this point I’ll be lucky to survive the summer and get that masters.
Because I’m so over it. I hate academia (at least the part of it I’ve been exposed to). I’m tired of research. I still love to teach. I adore it actually and have learned that yeah, it was true – I am a great teacher. But I’ve also learned that unless I’m willing to put my career ahead of pretty much everything else in my life, I will probably never find a job as a Professor of History. At best, I’ll probably get a position as a lecturer making 20K a year. For years and years of school.
So remember how I said I wasn’t sure if they joke was on them or me? Well here’s the part where the joke’s on me. I’ve recently been looking at jobs that I’d be qualified for and would enjoy. One that it looks like I will apply for is doing pretty much EXACTLY what I was doing EIGHT YEARS AGO when I started school. Yep. Isn’t that just great?
Now the good part is that I’ve learned an awful lot about myself through this journey. One – I’ve learned that my career is not what will fulfill me in life. It’s the people I love and the things that I do on a daily basis. Two – I’ve learned that doing what seems right can be really wrong for you. And three – I’ve learned that you shouldn’t choose to do something because you’re afraid to follow your dreams. As it turns out, you can fail taking the safe road, so you might as well shoot for what you really want. You might fail then too, but at least you failed trying for what you really want. And that’s why I’m currently working on writing (editing actually) my first novel (and series).
So I don’t know – is the joke on me? Or was it all worth it?
Tell me about your school experiences 🙂