I'm Done With Grad School. Now What?

It’s been a longer journey than anticipated to finish graduate school. I had this timeline planned with anticipation of jumping right into the world of academia within nearly a year timespan. With our sweet surprise baby girl, that one year timeline became two. Now, I’m done. It’s rather surreal to think about, since that means that miserable pregnancy is finally over, the ups and downs of studying with a 3-13 month old is over, and I have time. TIME! I have so much time, it seems. There’s room in my brain for deeper thought that doesn’t involve literacy theory, writing composition, or due dates. I’m not even mad about it.

I’m getting to do things like catch up on editing, the never-ending game that it is. Sit and play with my little ones, without guilt that I should be studying. Coffee dates with my dear friend. And reading, oh how I’m so happy to have time to devote myself fully and patiently to reading whatever my heart desires.

It’s actually been a surprisingly difficult transition though. It has taken some time to fully settle into the notion that I don’t have any assignments due, no more texts to read, no discussions to participate in, and so on. At first, I couldn’t quite forego the whole idea, but a few months later, it’s sinking in.

This year, my aim is to take my time building a resume that will land me a job I want. I’m in no hurry since that sweet angel mentioned above is still so small. I’m fortunate to not have to trade my time with her, with a daycare, and I can plan accordingly for the work that awaits me.

What about a doctorate, you ask? Well, I just might! It’s an even longer and more intense commitment than graduate school, which overall, I loved. While I keep finding reasons why I should start (and there’s no promises that I won’t!), I really do intend to ensure this career field is fully right for me, or if I should tweak it to fit in a different sort of way. Mostly, I’m taking this year to figure all that out, to soak in leisure time again, go on trips with my family, play with my children, and read all the books I can get my hands on.

Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee

Just over a week ago, my baby sister graduated from high school. If there's one quick thing you should know about our family, it's that we've all taken the path less traveled when it comes to our lives. Uniquely, each one of us have chosen things that might be considered "backwards." Yet, things have worked out for the better, because my brothers, sister, and I all possess determination and none of us have allowed our good and bad choices to sway us from ultimate goals.

I can't say that I hope for this route for my own children, or any of you, because going your own way can come with a lot of heartache and hard life lessons. It's worked out for us though, and I'm incredibly thankful. 

Before the graduation, my sister's school gave her graduating class a dinner with family. It was a lovely event that left everyone motivated and ready for the next steps in their lives. Each student was given an opportunity to give a thank you speech before the end of the night. To my complete surprise, when my once-shy sister took to the microphone, her first thanks was to me. I was nearly in tears that through it all, she had this feeling of gratitude to share, and she started with me.

To understand my sister and I, you have to know that I am a rather motivated person. I don't like sitting still long, and I'm a glutton for getting things done. My sister and I couldn't be more opposite in this fashion. However, when given the right circumstance, she knows how to do business. I love that side of her, naturally. When it came to school, I wouldn't give up on her. Through her troubled high school years I wouldn't let her rest and I kept on pushing her. When she decided to pursue life over education for a few years, I did all I could to guide her through it, then continued pushing her through school. So as she thanked me for "pushing her to pursue her education," I kindly said, "gently shoved." It's true. I'm relentless.

And so it ends and begins this phase of her life, where she's done with high school and onto an undergrad. I couldn't be more proud. She's made for this kind of thing, much like me. We love our books and words and the educational atmosphere. I know she'll do well, I'm greatly looking forward to all that is coming her way. I truly look forward to seeing her reach her potential!