If you were paying attention in December, you’ll remember that I alluded to some mysterious “thing” that I was tip-toeing around doing.
First things first: I didn’t do it.
“It” was applying to grad school. But not just any grad program, I was going to apply to the Masters of Science in the Social Science of the Internet at the Oxford Internet Institute. Yes, that Oxford. I really fell in love with the place after visiting a couple years ago, and I’ve been casually perusing their graduate degree options ever since.
It also doesn’t help that while I have a good job that I enjoy 90% of the time, I used to have an amazing job that I enjoyed 93% of the time (before I was unceremoniously punted from the organization in a round of layoffs). It makes the few less-than-good days at the current job sting that much more. Yes I’m still bitter. I’m trying to let go.
My pattern of disillusionment with the rat race usually winds a course of 1) think back to the heady days of university when life was full of possibility and I could be anything I wanted 2) start investigating grad school 3) take a few steps toward applying before realizing that I am not actually as committed to school as I thought, and it’s really just me working through an escape plan. (See: LSAT test-taking days of 2006.)
I heard a great quote once by the current CEO of Yahoo! that goes something like “Don’t be afraid of risk and change, just make sure you’re running toward something rather than away from something else.
The MSc at OII still sounds like an amazing program that actually follows the work I did for my undergrad communications degree quite well, and absolutely scratches every curious academic itch I’ve ever had. But right now applying is more about running away than running toward.
I could still get a graduate degree some day. But right now it doesn’t line up with any of the goals I’ve got for my life. Every time I go back to the application, I feel a bit of pause – what will this do to financial plans? family plans? and what on earth would I do after I finish? I certainly do not want a life in academia or policy – so where does this take me?
Right now it takes me back to a reality check. Life, as it is, is good. And full of opportunities. I just need to remind myself to run toward them because they’re great all on their own, and not because I’m running away from something else.