so i defended my thesis, tuesday last week. i got what i came for.

last week i also found out i was accepted (fully funded) to the phd program here. exciting! and! crazy! is this one of those situations where i look back and can’t see the hard parts, the tears parts, the prickly parts anymore? is this one of those situations where i will later say, wisely, full of holes, it seemed like a good idea at the time…

i feel like i can say, with some degree of confidence, no, in fact, this is the right thing for me. for my family. it’s true that this isn’t a decision based purely on my intellectual betterment. as if it were that easy. no, actually, i need to earn money, & let’s face it, here is what i am qualified to do: nothing. i’ve heard a lot about transferable skills. okay, fine. i’m a pretty good teacher, but in order for me to teach anywhere (other than in the university system, strangely) i need a teaching certificate. or at the very least, a tesol certification, neither of which i currently have. do you know how much it costs to certify with tesol? in a program that includes in-class time, observation & practicum? the answer is way more than we can afford right now. if i continue with phd studies, the university guarantees a certain amount of funding for the duration of my studies, regardless of whether or not i have scholarship funding from elsewhere.

here is what i am qualified to do: be a student. in fact, i’ve gotten pretty darn good at that. i’ve gotten so good that i can juggle parenthood & studenthood, which works more and less well, depending on the day, depending on deadlines, and how many hours of sleep i have managed to get in relation to how many cups of coffee i can drink.

on the other hand, i am starting the phd because i want to start the phd. this desire to continue studying does not come from a place inside me that says, what the heck else can i do. no, it comes from a place that says, the more i learn, the more i realize i have yet to learn (that place paraphrases some famous philosopher who said something pretty much like that a long time ago). the main reason i am continuing my studies is because i want to learn more. that is what i love most about being a student- throwing myself into a new topic, looking at ideas from different angles, trying to sort out what i think and believe and what i don’t believe and think. i have never studied literature before, not really, and that is a major part of the first two years of this program. part of me is scared shitless about that, since the study of literature is (almost) uncharted territory for me, limited really to grade twelve english class and pickpickpicking apart books that had perfectly good stories, or else beatbeatbeating books that were dead on the ground. another part of me is really excited, to stretch my thinking, to grow in my understanding of the world, at least in some small way. maybe i will even come to like philosophy…

hm. let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.

i’m not ready to leave the university yet, because i’m not convinced i have learned everything here that i came to learn, even though i wrote a pretty long paper already & learned lots of stuff while doing that. i marvel at how far i’ve come, in my time here, & realize that i have so so far left to go. but i’m ready. i’m ready for that now.

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