I’ve been kind of absent from this blog lately for lots of reasons, with the holidays actually being among the least of them, if you can possibly imagine. My apologies for that; this, too, shall pass. But as you know (since I told you myself), I’m going back to school –- not in the Rodney-Dangerfield-film sense, but in the “holy-crap-I-am-actually-going-through-with-this-and-becoming-a-broke-ass-graduate-student-just-like-I-always-threatened-to-do” sort of way.
I made the decision in mid-November, when a whole bunch of Stuff That Shall Not Be Named happened (nothing of consequence to anyone but me, don’t worry; I just can’t talk about it in any detail), and since then I’ve been buried under a mountain of all sorts of paperwork: applications, drafts of essays, letters of recommendation, financial aid forms, calendars, textbook order sheets, standardized test prep workbooks, lists of supplies and materials and equipment and paperwork and forms and clearances I will need.
Two weeks from today -- January 18, 2012 -- mark the date on your calendars, people, because it may be important someday, or at least be a day that may live in infamy forever -- I start my first college class in 16 years.
DEAR GOD, WHAT HAVE I DONE?
The timing of these Voldemortian matters (because they Shall Not Be Named, get it? Haha, I crack myself up with my own genius sometimes) was such that, when everything went down, I quickly made a plan -- “I’m going to get my sorry ass back to school” -- and then I just went ahead and executed. It was around Thanksgiving when I hatched this scheme, and I had deadlines to meet, very tight deadlines that did not allow me a chance to second-guess myself. Applications were due by the first week of December, so I had to get right on it. Go go go! -- shoot first, apologize later.
This is somewhat unlike me -- I am not really the sort of person who wakes up in the morning and says to herself, “Self, let’s DO THIS THANG.” But in truth, looking at it now, I wanted to meet those December deadlines because I did not want to give myself a chance to chicken out. I've been thinking about going back to school to become a teacher for the last 16 years. But the stuff that happened? It scared me. And I dealt with that fear the way I often do: by coming up with an “exit strategy" on the fly, by the seat of my pants.
And what I found myself saying was, “I can change my mind later if I want to, but right now I really need to get this paperwork to Admissions or nothing will happen.”
Which is totally the truth, of course. I often get “analysis paralysis” -- when I stop to think about what I am doing, to consider all the possibilities and all the potential outcomes, come up with a list of pros and cons and maybes, I tend to get myself caught in this internal feedback loop where I keep “and another thing!”-ing myself into being unable to commit. I used to think I was being rational, reasonable, and thorough when I did this, but really, it’s more like playing devil’s advocate with myself over and over again endlessly, until all of the sudden it’s ten minutes before a major project is due and I haven’t started it yet because I haven’t been able to settle on a font.
You think I am exaggerating here, but I assure you: not really.
So this is kind of a HUGE step for me, getting myself involved in something from which I did not allow myself an “out.” I mean, yes, there is always an “out” -- I can just stop taking classes -- but it’s possible that this might be the first time in my adult life that I have turned a Plan-B situation into a Should-Have-Been-Plan-A-All-Along situation. It’s not like I don’t want to get my Master’s in Education and become a high school English teacher; it’s what I’ve wanted to do for basically my whole life. When I picture myself 25 or 30 years down the road, when it’s time to retire and spend my dottering old age doing whatever it is that dottering old retirees to, I picture myself playing bridge and mahjongg and watching “The Price is Right” with other former schoolteachers.
And if I expect to be hanging out with “other former schoolteachers,” then I guess I better get on the stick and become a teacher in the first place, right? So here we are.
DEAR GOD, WHAT HAVE I DONE?
I’ve starting making my own dreams come true, is what I’ve done.