A little over fifteen months ago, I graduated from college with a BA in Business Administration and a minor in English. Right after graduation, I moved into my boyfriend’s mom’s house for the summer until we figured out our next move. We both had been accepted to graduate programs, but had yet to make a decision on which was best for us. I was leaning more toward taking a year off from school to study for the LSAT, but my boyfriend was really determined to pursue his MS.
After numerous job interviews resulting in no job offers that summer, I panicked and decided that going to get my Master’s was my only option. Fast forward a year, I successfully completed my first year of grad school (thank you Jesus!), but not without doubting if it was the right decision for me nearly every day.
During my first semester, I hated going to class. I would literally have anxiety attacks before one of my classes each week because I just knew it wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing. In rushing to go to grad school, I failed to fully understand the program requirements, which included that 50% of the “Rhetoric & Composition” program was actually literature classes (gag). My second semester was much more tolerable though, and things really started to look up for me. I was much more comfortable in my classes, and I started to change my outlook on the program and all of its literature requirements.
BUT (and that’s a huge “but”), at the end of the second semester, I was so relieved to be done with school it was almost unbearable (which is something I never thought I would feel because I absolutely love school). I figured this was a huge red flag, and all summer I’ve been so conflicted over whether or not I should just drop out of the program. However, every time I brought up the idea of dropping out to my mom she would just say, “You’re already halfway done, Ashlyn. You have one more year. Just finish it.” I hate this mentality; I used it for three years in undergrad to keep myself from quitting my lacrosse team. It forced me to be the epitome of the phrase “surviving not thriving,” and caused me to be so resentful and bitter. I was hell-bent on not being like that during grad school, and yet…there I was.
To add to the stress of figuring out if I wanted to finish my Master’s, I got sucked into working a pretty shitty job this summer. At first, I was promised a marketing internship that later turned into a management-ish position, which was really just more stressful drama rather than a professional learning experience. I had hoped to explore a field that I could enter if I ended up not finishing my degree, but that plan failed (*cue the anxiety*). And to make matters worse, I felt like I had to stay just because I was guaranteed so many hours each week, which presumably wouldn’t have been the case at any other part-time job (not that I looked, so I guess that’s my fault). (*Note: And if I’m being completely honest, I think I was just too afraid to really look for a better internship because I was just too damn scared of being rejected.)
Nevertheless, it’s the last week of summer and I’m pretty pissed at myself. I have yet to learn to just take control of my life and stop putting off what I want to do (or rather, figure out what I want to do) by pursuing these degrees that I genuinely don’t know if I’ll need/use. I keep thinking, “You’ll figure it out eventually, Ash. But in the meantime, you’ll have a Master’s degree by the time you’re 22, so just finish it. You’re just getting more experience. You’ll have your whole life ahead of you still when you’re done.”
This mentality has been such a blessing and a curse, but I know deep down that I have to finish this degree. Not only am I doing this because #studentloans and my annoying inability to quit something (faaack?), but also because I get to teach actual freshmen students this year (by myself!!!), and I really think it may open opportunities for me that I’ve never considered before.
So, who knows if law school will ever happen for me. If it does, great. If not, something else will. I’m done harping on the what ifs; I made a two-year commitment and I’m finishing it (but I’m still praying every second that it’ll be worth it because, ya know, those damn student loans).
My life is one hot Millennial mess, but I’m going to make a bigger effort to make shit happen this year. I’m going to thrive and not just merely survive.
P.S. Thank you to everyone for the kind words of encouragement about teaching! I’ll be sure to keep you updated 🙂