I’m not sure what it is that’s driving me toward this insanity. I just graduated with my Master’s in English teaching this past spring, and I remember all too well the hassle that was. Research. Reading (stuff I didn’t want to read). Writing (stuff I didn’t necessarily want to write). Making time for classes and study and don’t even get me started on all the checks I wrote to the university for the privilege of all that suffering.
Grad school was, for me, a lot like childbirth. It took a lot longer than I really wanted it to take. It hurt a lot more than I was expecting it would. There were a lot of hoops that needed to be jumped through, and not all of them made sense to me at the time (and a lot of them still don’t – I filled out papers at the hospital that I still don’t understand and I was required to do a lot for my degree that, to this day, I don’t think were the least bit relevant to what I understood I was doing). The overall impression of both processes is that they were both painful and very, very momentous. At the end of each, I ended up with something I desperately wanted, but I earned those things with time and sweat and effort and blood.
Not to mention patience. The people who love me (and not a few strangers who read my blogs) were saintly in their endurance of my bitching, whining, moaning and complaining about every little thing I went through. Sure, there were more than a few triumphs in the process, but most of it, it seems to me in hindsight, was just so much railing against the systems. My husband was wildly supportive, my children put up with a lot of my not being around, either because I was in classes or because I was doing homework. I asked a lot of the people who care about me while I was finishing my degree, and I think it might be asking too much to expect them to do it again so soon.
So, what the hell am I thinking?! Ph.D.?!? What on earth do I need THAT for? It’s not going to get me a better job. It’s not going to earn me more respect from my friends, family, peers, coworkers or students. It’s not going to make me a better person. So what is it that’s triggering that little voice in my head to spur me toward earning another degree?
Is it my tendency to overachieve? Is it a desire to ever improve myself? Is it just to prove that I can?
Whatever it is, somebody stop me, please.