I dream of doctorates

<waxing philosophic>

How important are dreams? How much stock should we put in our personal ambitions and goals, even when they have no evident value to others, no obvious real-world potential?

At the end of the road that is comprised of our choices, all of the forks in the road where we turned right instead of left or left instead of right, will we look back and consider our socially-accepted accomplishments? Will a cold chair behind a big desk fulfill us, or will answering the call of a child’s wildest fantasy be more precious?

I have been feeling cut down since moving here because I have struggled to find a “professional” job – a typical 9 to 5 with holidays and weekends free. I still struggle with feeling inadequate, despite all of the logical arguments stacked up against those feelings. It is not pressure from the outside; it is my own mind at work behind the scenes, sabotaging any feeling of accomplishment.

Here’s the thing: for as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted a PhD. Maybe it’s for bragging rights, or maybe it’s just because it was always instilled in me that I was smart enough to get one. I have the freedom right now to pursue that dream, thanks to my inability to land a “typical” job. And I can do it the old-fashioned way (reasonably speaking; I can’t just haul off to New York or anything) right now.

But wouldn’t you know, that’s not good enough? In my dastardly mind, I keep thinking about how reckless it is! I am writing this to clear my conscience, to tell myself that if I want to go for it, I need to just go for it. I need to not hold myself back.

I went through the fire academy in Georgia! How is going back for more school, when I can afford the time and money it will take, more reckless than that?! It’s absurd the things that we (humans) get nervous about or hung-up over. I feel silly even writing that I am afraid to take a leap of faith and apply to graduate school.

If I want it, I need to just pursue it however I can. And any argument I make against that is just ridiculous. I hope this post will serve as a reminder to me.

</waxing philosophic>

6 thoughts on “I dream of doctorates

  1. I just sent out this quote in my weekly newsletter to my writing group . . . “An idea is never given to you without you being given the power to make it a reality. You must, nevertheless, suffer for it.” (Richard Bach) I’ll admit that I like the first part of the quote much better than the last part! 🙂 But . . . . it’s definitely something to ponder . . .

  2. Carpe diem! When they shovel the dirt in or scatter your ashes do you want them to say: ‘You know, she was such a productive and dependable worker at the office.’ or ‘Damn, Dr. Crafty was certainly her own woman! She followed her dreams and taught so many others how to do the same.’ Either way you are an inspiration now and I’m sure you always will be. Thanks for the reflection…now I have to go search for grad schools…

  3. <3<3<3

    I felt compelled to respond since I'm in the academic "trenches." From my experience, a Ph.D. is a very personal thing, so there is no need for external approval, though I know you well enough to know that you've always done your own thing and enthusiastically so. It involves a constant internal struggle. Mine has been time-consuming and painful, but rewarding as far as personal growth and learning how much I can handle (more than I ever imagined, actually). I've also learned that people can be great Ph.D. scientists (or students) and be less than mediocre human beings. All brains and no heart. Since you've never been mediocre, you will be excellent in all of your adventures regardless of the perceived level of accomplishment. 🙂

    <3<3<3

    1. Thank you, friend! I have always been excited to hear about your adventures, and I happy -not at all surprised- for you finishing your PhD soon. How very exciting! Thank you for your insight, too; I feel better about not having all of the answers. 🙂

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