I have returned to college to pursue a doctorate. Yeah for me. I am excited about being paid to read, learn, and grow professionally and personally mentally. However, I am not 18 years old going out into the world to find my way. I am not anxious to establish myself in the world. Instead I took advantage of people who saw promise in my ability to do research albeit educational research. People who believed I had promise to rise up to the demands of doctoral classes, research, and other trials and tribulations. But I left behind my husband and my friends to go to a new place, far enough away that going home weekends will not be a common occurrence, and after working full time in a rural school with 4-6 preps in science and math, I do have down time. Not lots but since I can choose my own schedule, I do have the luxury to spend time with those I love if they were here.
Oh yes there are new acquaintances and colleagues but students are ephemeral, transit, here for a few years and then out into the world. Already too many of my best friends live out in the world days of driving away; and here is the opportunity to make more of those kinds of friends. Yes, digital communication does make it easier to stay in touch but I just want to sit on the porch, drink a beer or class of wine or even water and talk to my best friends. . .in person.
Am I sorry I am not still back in my classroom? Yes and no. No due to the current state of administration and psychopathic principal running my school and district. No because the folks I am working with are wonderful, smart, funny, kind, and encouraging. Yes for my students who have texted me they miss me, they aren’t doing labs, they feel I have abandoned them. (I can sleep through the night so that isn’t bothering THAT much.) No and yes for my sleep-finally 6 hours of sleep have become 7-8 hours but staying up until midnight missing the bedtime routine of drinking tea with my husband, perhaps sitting in the hot tub watching the satellites, stars and sometimes meteors. Not liking that I cannot seem to get up and going early enough to run before the heat and humidity take over. Missing those healthy exercise routines I had hoped would return. Yes because my husband and I are in a great place in our relationship and friendship. I don’t want to lose that intimacy and closeness of not living together. I think of the times I was too busy to go biking, hiking, skiing, you name it with him because I was grading papers, revising lesson plans, revising curriculum, quizzes, tests, and that time will never ever come back. And here I am far away in person this time.
And even though I have spent most of my adult life in education, wondering if I should be in a content area working on a doctorate instead of education. Looking at many environmental issues and thinking I could be working on that or that or that. . . . and then thinking I could be in the classroom opening up my students’ world of knowledge, ideas, opportunities.
Bittersweet for sure. And I am only two weeks in to classes; plenty of time to reflect and think this journey through more; expand my opportunities of finding more of my kind in terms of music, activities, interests, and even finding a hiking/running/porch-sitting friend. In the meantime I have restricted my time on Facebook, pouring over every post from home and family; scanning the Internet for news of my state or other favorite haunts, and enjoying being paid to read in depth and to reflect on those readings, bringing in my years in the classroom and years in my life.