Pulled up the national student loan data base and checked out my standing.
Ouch. Not good.
I’m rapidly reaching the end of my federally funded education, not that it’s a bad thing. But the problem that has come up is being able to sprint for the finish line before that funding is maxed out.
My calculations were off. And now everything is in a state of flux.
It’s more than that, of course it always is, but life is taking a few twisty and unexpected turns. I’ve got a fantastic support network that is helping me maintain some sanity while I navigate my choices. Even as I type this, my head hurts and I feel the pain in my left eye that seems to crop up whenever I contemplate my adventures in academia.
I want to say that I’m a good candidate for all of this. I love research and I love writing. I just hate, hate, hate being told what to do. I hate being boxed in – feeling claustrophobic. I know who I am and what makes me tick, but so far I’m not doing a great job in letting that out where it can bloom and flourish. I’m really good at making mistakes, in fact I think I’ve got it down to a finely tuned art.
Suzicate commented a while back that I HAD found my niche and I think she’s right. In fact, I’m thinking about creating a blog posting just specifically for her because I think sitting down with her over a cup of hot tea and having a kibitz would be a great thing.
But I am digressing.
Yes. I have my niche. I love being a mom. I love anticipating how to help them grow. I love watching their discoveries and feeding the passion for whatever it is that they are exploring. I love the milestones that are reached. I love the way they are unfolding into these amazing people.
I’d be hard-pressed to find anything else on this planet that I love even half as much as I do those two boys.
I can expand on this feeling. I love helping people find solutions. I have to be careful, though. I get tired. People wear me down to the nubs and I have to get my “recharge” time away by myself. I can’t do it 100% of the time. I need to be able to retreat.
Why do I love studying information systems? Easy. I want to know the “why” of it. How do you take something apart and make it work? I love that. I love the elegance of something being pulled together – whether people or resources or machinery or software or parts – to make a whole, a working whole.
The question that then comes to mind is this: Do I want to work with this? Or is it a case of simply enjoying learning the “how” and “why”?
I don’t know.
Some day, and it will come more quickly than I can imagine in this tired brain, I will be old. I will likely still be working, because that’s just how it is. I’ve run this scene through my head a million times since last fall… trying to imagine what it’s going to be like and where I will want to be, what I’ll want to be doing.
In my last interview, my future boss asked me where I wanted to be in five years and I told him that I want to be in a professional position on campus. Given my studies trajectory, I explained that I’d like to be a database administrator or some sort of ISM.
When I let myself relax and project forward all those years ahead, to that time when I’m (hopefully) a gramma and still working, I don’t see myself working with systems but with people… specifically I see myself talking to young people, explaining why higher education isn’t just about a better job or crafting a future.
It’s about exploration. It’s about learning more and more about this amazing world we live in – a guided “tour” with people who really love what they are touring with you. It’s about expanding your mind beyond the expected in your life and opening it up to the possibilities.
It’s also about being an educated voter and a citizen who understands more and more about what came before. It’s about math and English, art and music, science and philosophy.
No, it’s not necessary to go to college to gain all of this. But how often are you going to have fellow travelers to talk to about a subject like Western Writers, Cellular Biology, or Differential Equations?
We have these short little lifespans and can’t even begin to scratch the surface of all there is to explore, but if you have a chance to go for four or five or six (or in my case 20+) years on one of the greatest trips there is, wouldn’t you go?
I will never regret my education. I regret my time being taken from my children right now, but I’m figuring that one out too.
I have been –
– a traditional student, fresh out of highschool… arrogant, intimidated, and lost
– a non-trad, married with no kids and working full time
– a non-trad, married, pregnant and trying to juggle studies with morning sickness
– a non-trad, married, with a small child while trying to complete an undergraduate degree
– a non-trad, married, with one and then two children while trying to work on a graduate degree and working full time
I’ve been in the sciences, the liberal arts…
I’ve had illness wipe me out a semester. I had to drop out when I had a miscarriage and grief overwhelmed me. I lost my gramma during a semester. I learned about life and how it keeps going on, even when the ebb and flow of semesters keep up that familiar rhythm.
I belong here.
Now I just need to find my place in the middle of all of it. And I need to do it without putting my kids through too much more of the unstable life we’ve got right now.
…deep in thought,