Saturday, October 17, 2009

Wherein, I worry...

Okay, so the process of thought that follows is probably going to sound ridiculous, and ranty,  and a bit paranoid, but I'm going to say it anyway.

I'm set to graduate with my BA in English in December (assuming I pass everything & the Writing Proficiency Exam, otherwise, it'll be May 2010).  I've been going to college on and off since I was 18 years old.  For quick reference, that's 13 years.  More off than on, really, but still, it's been a long time.  For that time, I have nothing but the pending BA to show, unless you count the writing certificate I finished with Long Ridge Writer's Group -- No?  Didn't think so.  Admitting that it's taken me 13 years to finish a 4 year degree is not my proudest moment and, in some ways, I feel like the time it's taken to reach this milestone has somehow made it less meaningful.  I should feel the opposite, shouldn't I?  I mean, college graduation is nothing to balk at, it's a huge achievement.  Some days are better than others and I feel like finishing this degree justifies all the time I spent working toward it, and I'm proud of myself for getting it done.  Frankly, where this degree is concerned, I'm a basket case of conflicting emotions.  What else is new, I suppose (notice this is not a question).

I remember graduating High School, in the stone age (ha!), thinking I had never been more pleased to be done with anything.  I hated high school in a way I cannot adequately express.  It was an awkward, difficult time in my life that, save for the ability to live at home and be taken care of, I would never wish to relive.  I truly hated compulsory education.  Hated it and thinking back, I think part of that was that high school teachers often don't give a damn about their students.  They're not there to make your life better, or to enrich your educational experience.  They're there to make sure you can read and do basic arithmetic, they're there to make sure you can pass the SAT or ACT, or whatever.  They're not there because they care about education, at least not in my experience.  This may be an unfair stereotype, but it's my experience.  I suppose it's possible that droves of uncaring students could suck the desire out of anyone, now that I think back on it, and I was certainly one of those uncaring students, so maybe I was more a part of the problem than it's solution, whatever that might be.  Either way, I wanted out of high school.   Then, when I got out, all I wanted was to go back.  I remember crying, thinking that I missed high school, because I didn't want to be a grown-up yet, and frankly, that's what happens when you're granted the diploma.  The real world presents itself and you can either grab it by the horns, or you can run away.  I did a little of both, in the absolute wrong ways, but I did what was right for me at the time.

Now, I'm about to graduate college, after years of effort in the endeavor, and rather than wanting out, all I want is to hide.  I'm having the opposite reaction to high school graduation.  I'm having an absolutely terrible semester, which I've been attributing to burn-out, but what if that's not it?  What if my bad semester is the result of self-sabotage?  What if I'm unintentionally, intentionally screwing it up?  Yeah, these things are starting to occur to me and frankly, they're not making me very happy.  I do want to graduate, my rational mind wants it desperately, but maybe my subconscious doesn't want that.  Maybe, I don't want to grow-up.  I don't know, but I'm sure that when this semester's over, I'll have passed everything, if not with flying colors, and will be conferred the Bachelor of Arts in English from Tarleton State University.  Then, I'll buy myself one of those huge wooden frames, budget withstanding, in which to place my prize possession, and I'll move on.

But moving on is the place I'm having the most issue right now.  So here it is, what I set out to say, before I got off on the tangents that brought me here.  I'm worried that having a master's degree is going to decrease my ability to get a job.  How silly is that?  Well, however silly, it's still a serious fear for me right now.  Yes, it's pessimistic, and probably untrue, but it's a worry.  I've been looking around at, seeing what there is for someone with education in English, and honestly, I'm not terribly happy with what I'm seeing.  When you have no degree, it's hard to get a job because you're uneducated, when you have a bachelor's degree it's hard to get a job that pays what your education is worth, when you have a master's degree it's impossible to take jobs that're below your educational worth without looking like a failure.  Pessimistic and harsh, but I'm really quite fearful that it might be the truth.

Yet, there's that spark of hope in me that says that with a master's degree, I'll be able to get a good job, but that spark is crushed to death beneath the weight of the fact that I have zero work experience in the last 10 years -- see why I'm such a pessimist?!  That's right, none, zip, zilch, nada, zero.  I've not worked because I haven't needed to, but how does that look?  Terrible, to be quite frank.  Terrible and lazy.  Of course, when I graduate with my Master's degree, assuming I get a position as a  graduate assistant, I'll have 1 1/2 - 2 years experience.  I'll also be 33 years old.  I suppose my biggest problem is the fear that though I'm trying to do something to turn my life around, it's too little, too late.

It's really not possible to be too little, too late, because it's all I have left. I can't rewind, I can't finish earlier, I can't be younger than I am and I'm not getting any younger from here out.  All I can do is try to get in gear in a timely manner and reach the goals I have for right now.   The graduate school thing is my biggest, most present concern at this point.  It costs a lot to go to graduate school, I'm concerned the outcome won't be worth the cost.

Maybe I worry too much, but worrying is what I do best.  No matter how often I tell my brain to shut-up and stop worrying, I can't seem to make it listen.  I can't really talk about it with Matt because he tells me I worry too much or that I just look for things to worry about.  The sad part is, I think he's right, which makes it hard to talk about it anywhere, really.  So, I'm bringing it here, to my space, because it has to get out of my brain.  Time to buckle down and make sure that my subconscious mind doesn't win the battle, even if it wins the war.


  1. Ok, where do I start? hmmm well let me remind you what I said about the end of an era...but also remember that this too will pass and all will get settled again but just in a new way. As far as getting a job w/ a masters...I honestly can't help you there since I don't have one myself. I do think that you should talk to a counselor at your school about your concerns. Taking a job that only requires a bachelors though is not a fact, it's a way to go entry level and work up and since you will also have the necessary degree to move up the ladder, you would most likely do it faster than some one who is still working on the masters degree and trying to move up. I think it may give you an edge in getting a job. As far as your no job are considered a woman who is re-entering the job market after college....Your husband did not want you to work while you were in school and that is not a crime...Honestly though that fact may be more of a problem for Matt than you...but don't worry about that now. There are people who have worked longer than you and achieved less...look at me...I still don't have a degree and at this point there is no point in my continuing to try to get would just be expensive and good for nothing but self actualization. I had a teacher when I was in college who said it took her 20 years to get a 2 year degree...because life kept getting in the way. So don't be worrying about how long it took...just be proud for the achievement you have made...You have had some obstacles along the way, but so have are not alone. The length of time in no way diminishes the accomplishment...I mean you could have given up...but you didn't and I am very proud of you.
    So......Do not sabotage yourself, you're almost there. What you said about high school is something that happens to everyone...or at least everyone I know of. You are left dangling, not really and adult, but also not really a child either...I felt like that too when I graduated in the real stone age HAHA.. You had a sense of freedom, but the feeling of now what?? I have a hunch you are feeling like that now and please don't worry because the best is yet to come!!

    Love You bunches honey!!!


  2. Hi ya Kristyn...
    I know we had a lot of unpleasantness and such last week, but I don't care. I mean, I do care, but I don't want to dwell on it. I just want to leave a freakin' comment, okay?

    About taking 13 years for your degree...SO MANY people NEVER get a degree. Ever! Then there are people like my mom who wait until they are 35 before they START college. When I was pursuing my Master's Degree, a lot of the students in my program were in their 40s and 50s. They waited until their kids were grown before pursuing graduate school. By these standards, you are still quite young.

    Regarding lack of experience...when I was a student at Chapman, I met people who led me to job leads, and was able to obtain an internship instantly after graduation (just from knowing my fellow students and instructors). You really can't go by what you see online. You'll find that as you attend your grad classes and surround yourself with others who are seeking to obtain positions in similiar professions, job opportunities just tend to land on your lap. Just focus on building good rapport with your instructors and fellow students, because you never know who may turn to be invaluable later on for obtaining employment. If you KNOW people who know OTHER people who are hiring, then your lack of experience will not matter nearly as much. (EG: My law and ethics instructor knew the clinic manager of a substance abuse treatment center, and they handed me the job--they didn't care about my experience).

    I don't care if it took 13 years or 30 years--you still should be proud of yourself for accomplishing what many people do not ever accomplish in their lifetime.

  3. Almost no one ever finishes a four year degree in four years. I'm probably not going to get my two year degree until 3 years from now.

    In any case, don't educate yourself out of a job. In this economy, people will hire the cheapest they can. Sure, a masters is better than a bachelor's because you'll earn more money, but if your employer has a choice between you and the less educated, they'll take the other, because he's less money starting out.

  4. Thanks for the encouragement, mom. I really need to be reminded that I'm not alone in being in my 30's and not being done. I am proud of myself that I've managed to get this far, given the obstacles. I think I'm going to take your suggestion and go talk to my advisor before I apply for graduate school. I know what he'll say, but I still want to hear him say it. He actually has a Masters, as opposed to a Ph.D, so he has a unique perspective on the Master's issue.

    I love you, too!

  5. I know we had some issues last week, Shannon. Things were hashed out between us and I think bygones can be bygones where our relationship is concerned. I appreciate you taking the time, and summoning more courage than I have (I always want to leave you comments, but I'm not that brave), to leave me a comment about this.

    Your perspective is interesting, I hadn't considered it that way. The only problem I see is that my next immediate goal is to move home. So, I'll be going to graduate school here in TX, then moving back to CA. That said, forming good relations with my professors will mean I have someone to go to for letters of recommendation when I need them, which I think will be really helpful!

    Thanks again, Shannon. :)

  6. I love you, Amber. Just keep trekking toward that degree, you're young, you have years to finish it so don't worry about how long it takes. Man, if I could just take my own advice, I'd be awesome.

    Thanks for the honesty about my situation, I always appreciate it. <3.

  7. Thanks Kristyn. I had to admit, it was kinda hard leaving a comment, because I was worried you would think...something to the effect of "what the hell is she doing on my blog?" But when you were writing your worries about school, I could really relate to that, and so I kind of just thought, "screw it," and said something anyway. Unfortunately, I had forgotten about your moving back to CA blog, so I guess a lot of what I said doesn't apply! You're right though: You should be able to get some great letters of recommendation, so be NICE to your professors. You need to do some serious ass kissing in the next two years, LOL.

  8. Ass kissing?! I think I'm up to that!! I'm looking forward to getting started and getting done. I really want to move home. I miss my family terribly.