I’ve been going through a spot of writer’s block. When you add that to the general holiday frenzy, the result is that I’m not writing as much in this space as I would like. Today, as I struggled to come up with something clever or funny or meaningful or at least mildly noteworthy, I decided that there was only thing to do: just write. And so here I sit, hoping that the more I type, the more words will come, and that in the process I’ll create a blog post worthy of hitting the “Publish” button for.
A few things have been on my mind lately, and I suppose that’s a good place to start. The first is my decision to go back to school starting in January. I’ve been up to the campus a couple of times in the past two weeks. I reactivated my admission at the same school I graduated from almost a decade and a half ago, so they still had all of the information I gave them when I applied as a fresh-faced 17-year-old. This meant I needed to change the name I was registered under. I don’t have my old student card anymore, and in order to get a new one I need photo ID. I don’t have any current photo ID with my unmarried name on it, so I had to dig out my marriage certificate. Then, after making the drive up and showing them my marriage certificate I had to wait 24 hours for the changes to take effect before I could get a student card.
Technology may change, but bureaucracy never does.
There have been some good parts of going back to school, though. I’m genuinely excited to take my classes, and exercise parts of my brain that have been dormant for ages. I picked up the lab materials for the kinesiology course I’m taking by correspondence and they include a stethoscope and blood pressure cuff. How fun is that? I also bought myself a new backpack, notebook, pens and pencils and all that fun stuff. I even splurged on a new pencil case, covered with an illustration of the mad tea party from Alice in Wonderland. New school supplies are even more fun when they’re for me instead of my kids.
All of the little details of handling bureaucracy, buying supplies, getting a parking pass, purchasing my textbooks and so on are really minor, though. The biggest questions that are weighing on my mind are:
- Can I actually do this? Am I overdoing by taking three university-level classes while also parenting and working part-time?
- Should I actually do this? Just because I can probably pull off the classes (I’m really good at school … or at least I was) doesn’t mean that this is the right choice for me, professionally or personally.
I’ve had many people come up to me and say things like, “You’re going to be a teacher!” They’ve told me how great this is, or that I’ll be really good at it, or that they’ve been considering something similar for themselves. I really appreciate the enthusiasm and encouragement. It’s amazing to know that other people are pulling for me. However, I really don’t want to put the cart before the horse.
I think that maybe I would like to be a teacher. I am going to try taking some classes – and most especially an education class – and see how that goes. If that goes well, I am going to try volunteering in a classroom that neither of my kids are in, and see how that goes. I am going to take it step by step, and if at any point I realize this is not right for me, I am going to give myself the freedom to let it go. In the process, I will have had new experiences, learned new lessons, and gained an important piece of information about myself.
If it is right for me, then maybe I will have found something that fulfills me, and allows me to give back. That would be fabulous. For the moment, I’m remaining open to both possibilities. When I went to engineering school, I remained committed because I felt that quitting would be the wrong thing to do. I don’t want to fall into the trap of being the good student who finishes what she starts no matter what for a second time. Now that I’m a grown-up I know that sometimes you need to say good-bye to one thing so that you can welcome something else into your life.
This is why, today, I am taking things one step at a time. I am handling one piece of bureaucracy, buying one thing I need, entering one commitment into my calendar, bit by bit by bit. I am cautiously optimistic, guardedly hopeful and contemplative all at the same time. Oh, and while I do all that, I’m also suffering from the sticker-shock of my tuition bill.
I have learned one thing today, however, and that is that I’m still a writer no matter what. I know this, because sitting down in this chair and writing my thoughts out has really helped. In clarifying them for the Internet at large, I’ve clarified them for myself. It’s a good thing. I guess sometimes I really do need to just write.