Finding Purpose

When I decided to reapply to grad school in 2012, it was on a whim. I was still bitter about what had happened in 2010 at JMU and I felt like I did not have anything to work towards again so I decided to go back to school part-time until the opportunity presented itself. I broke my ankle and withdrew instead.

But I found myself in the position to go back to school last year. So I researched MAT programs and MLS programs (teaching and library science).  But it was all so expensive and time-consuming…having to reapply to new programs, figure out how to pay for out of state online programs, GREs…it was a mess and made my head heart. But one night, I emailed the old grad program I had withdrawn from in 2014. I had the chance to finish my degree and pick up where I left off three years ago. This time, I go full time and hopefully finish my degree in eighteen months.

Master of Arts in English. With a focus in literature.

Doesn’t sound like I can do much with that, does it? That’s what I went to study originally when I went to JMU in the fall of 2009. Wow. That seems like a lifetime ago. Seven, almost eight years, ago. Wow. I wanted to be a college professor. Then a specialized English librarian. Right now, I would be happy with getting my masters and teaching at the college level or working with nonprofits in D.C. or in Hampton Roads. I have a sorta half hazard road map now so I at least I got a direction.

Last night, I dug out all my old grad school books…Harner’s Literary Research Guide, my MLA citation book, old theory books I forgot I had. I never sold back any books that I used in for my degree as an undergrad or for grad school. I dated and wrote my name in every date I read in each book. It was like a walk down memory lane for me. It made me nostalgic, and for the first time in a long time, hopeful about the future.

The past two times, I was uncertain what I wanted out of my degree. I was just trying to get good grades. But I am going to take this seriously. I actually thought my writing got better when I was going to JMU and ODU originally because of all the research papers I wrote and all the books I read. Grad school made me a better writer, which will help this freelance writing thing/creative writing thing I have been trying to develop since last year. But I am not going to be afraid of trying to publish my papers or going to conferences and try and build a name for myself in academia. This scared me away the past two times as I thought I was never good enough. But hell, I’ll be 30 when I go back…I was 22 when I first attempted grad school. I’ve learned a few things since then and experienced a lot more too.

I am excited to have a roadmap again, a goal to strive towards.

P.S. The above picture I took during my first semester of grad school at ODU. I had a small cruiser board, a messenger bag, and a crappy netbook. And I was skinner. By a lot. This fall, I have a new cruiser that is blue that I set up from scratch, a backpack made for that skateboard and a cheap laptop I bought for school, and I’m trying to lose that weight by going to the gym regularly and cutting back on my drinking. It’s time to turn a new leaf.

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