Last fall I made the decision to go back to school for my Masters. It was something I had been thinking about for a while and I finally told myself (yes, I talk to myself and don’t pretend you don’t too), “if not now, when?”
I’ve talked on here briefly about how difficult it can be. I always took heavy coarse loads in undergrad but that is nothing compared to taking a few classes, working full time, having familial responsibilities and trying to balance some semblance of a life. Often times something has to give and more often than not, that thing is sleep (don’t tell Arianna Huffington).
You know what though? I love it. Every time I see tuition payments being taken out of my paycheck, I puff up with pride. I’m in school because I chose to, no one is making me. Wile I may not know what the future holds, I know I will never regret this decision.
You know what I wasn’t prepared for, though? The question of “why” (I mentioned this briefly here). You have a good job, why are you going to school? Why are you spending so much money when you have a degree? And, of course, the dreaded, why are you in school if you don’t know what you want to do?
For a while, these questions made me self-conscious and doubt myself. Is this the right choice? What does this matter? Is it worth it?
The funny thing is, no one who asks these questions does it with the intention of bringing about self doubt but it happens. I would respond sputtering out an incoherent sentence, red cheeked and flustered probably causing people to wonder how I was accepted into a grad program when I couldn’t speak in proper english.
Then, one day someone was asking me and saw me panic as I tried to string together words for a complete answer. The questioner started backtracking, I got even more flustered and then I blurted out, “because I want to”.
In that moment of uncomfortable, I found clarity.
People talk about your 20s as a time to explore. It’s the time to see the world, try new food, buy the shoes! It’s the time to try new things, find what you like and don’t like, it’s the time to be curious, to make mistakes, to find out what kind of person you are and what kind of life you want to lead. It’s the time to do something for yourself because you want to.
So now, when people ask, “why are you getting another degree?” I don’t hesitate, straighten up, look them in the eye and say, “because I want to”.