Total Pageviews

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Who am I: Pick a Persona

I literally just dragged myself out of bed to write this. I had just collapsed into my pillows after slogging through 100 pages of grad school reading (and I'm not done yet) when my mind decided to compose a posting. Seriously? So in hopes of getting this out of my system and returning to a blissful and all-too-brief period of rest, here it goes...
When I was an undergrad, academia was my life, my passion. I went to my first OAH history conference in Memphis and ended up buying so many books, I had to pay the airline extra to get my luggage home. I attended lectures, took copious, detailed notes, went to my professors' office hours, did the majority of my readings, rarely skipped class. I loved being a student.
I proudly graduated suma cum laude in 2007, took some time off to work, had a baby in 2008 and finally landed a full-time job as a library clerk in an elementary school in 2009. I decided to resume my academic regime so I would not make $10/hr for the rest of my life and applied and was accepted to the Master's program in History at my alma mater in the fall of 2010. Shortly after grad school acceptance, I learned that we were expecting a second child in June. Academia immediately lost its premiere standing in my life, as well it should.
But I miss it. The focus, the dedication, the hours of uninterrupted reading in the library, endless cups of coffee and all-night paper-writing. Instead of being the sharp academic instrument it once was, my mind is more akin to a blunt, plastic baby-food spoon now.
I envy the grad students I interact with briefly on campus who go to those lectures, attend those meetings to discuss career options, who have the time and the means for doing internships and conference travel. They must have jobs and families too. How do they do it without sacrificing one for the other?
My young family is my priority right now. If it means I didn't thoroughly read a 200 page book and take detailed notes on every issue I would like to discuss because I was reading "Charlie the Ranch Dog" for the four-hundredth time with my son, I suppose I should get used to it. It still goes against the grain not to invest myself fully in my education, like I'm holding something back. However, with 2 kids under 3 years old and an extremely busy husband, I realize that things are not the same as they were in 2007. I'm still getting used to being "grad-school Mama."
I thought about putting grad school off until the kids were in school but I'm already 30. How much longer am I willing to wait? Besides, no one knows how long we have anyway, so I'm going for it!
Maybe by the time I'm ready to write my thesis, I'll be comfortable in that role and by then it will be time to try on another hat.

No comments:

Post a Comment