Take a Breath: Musings About Grad School

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I met this morning with my advisor to discuss my thesis doc/research paper for my MS degree. Oh yes, you read that right. If all goes well (cross fingers/toes/eyes,etc), I will be receiving my MS in Media Management this summer. I am still continuing on with my MFA program and by 2015, I will hopefully, finally be out of graduate school.

This was a road that I never, ever thought I would actually accomplish. For years, I wanted to go back to school, but it never materialized. After I donated my kidney to my dad in 2002, I knew something was off. I wasn't excited to go to work every day. Depression hit and it hit hard.  Working as a product manager wasn't exciting to me anymore. I needed to do something, but I wasn't quite sure what.  I moved to San Francisco in 2004 for what I call my 6-week/$4k "Vacation" to try and go back to school, but it wasn't meant to be and I moved back to LA.

Almost a decade later, my life has been completely turned upside down. I moved away from the west coast in 2005 (with every intention of only being back in the midwest for a year), but life happened (and eventually, I met my awesome wife Melissa), and during our prep for our wedding, we made the decision to both go back to graduate school.  In Fall 2010, we moved here to Southern Illinois.

I went here as an undergrad, and had a completely different experience the first time around. Let's see . . . I was 18. . . I was not married . . . oh yeah, and I was engaged to a guy when I left here in 96.  Big differences. :)

The biggest change for me is that I actually really like being here. Don't get me wrong, I LOVED being here as an undergrad, but there is something completely different about experiencing this place as an older, graduate student.  I'm actually learning something (which I'm not sure how much actually sunk in as an undergrad) and working towards an amazing goal.

I'm not the only one who had doubts that I could do this. Friends, family and those who have seen my doc, A Million Directions know that I flunked out of SIU as a freshman back in '91.  My mom at the time didn't believe that I could get back into school, but I kicked some booty at community college and made it back to SIU a year later and eventually graduated (5 year plan, oh yeah).

Now, 20+ years later, I am going to hopefully leave here (again, crossing fingers/toes/etc) with not just one but TWO degrees (and one of them is a terminal degree to boot!). I have a long, crazy, psychotic road ahead of me for the next couple of years, but I am really excited and determined to get this done! I'm sure many people can relate, it's hard to give yourself props, but I am pretty proud of myself for getting this far. After I take a moment, breathe, and soak that in, it's back to the grind.  The defense is in three weeks! Weeeeeeeee!

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