Ante Up Academia
Recently I’ve exchanged emails with a faraway friend who had a dream – a big one. She readied herself; prepped and did diligence to see it to reality. She steeled herself against potential rejection and devised plans of action and at the moment of – the I-put-all-on-bets-on-this-horse wrist-clencher of a moment – she got what she wanted.
You were expecting bad news, weren’t you?
So she celebrated and grew anxious for new adventures to come, but, on account of many of lifes obstacles, she had to hold off. It was a tough decision (grueling, really) but it was a decision that needed to be made.
Why am I re-hashing sad stories, you ask? Well, I’m not. The upside to this is that our heroine has opportunity to chase her dream again, just after sometime. While it’s never ideal to put your dreams in forebearance, it’s also not an open-and-shut case. They are there for the pursuing, lest you not forget about them.
This got me to thinking of dreams I’ve long deferred. Namely THE dream I’ve let slide, on account of many things: fear, other budding dreams, convenience, terror. Because I’d sooner explain the day away in prose, here’s a good summation:
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
Heavy, yes, but Langston Hugh’s had it right. There’s a difference between putting off a dream with reason, and hiding it away out of fear. So I decided to dust off ye old dream and try to tackle it.
As such, I’m back to school.
I’ve always harbored a desire to help people. Really help. I want to use my nervous sensitivities and ability to emphathise for reasons bigger than me, but for reasons that have always been hard for me to articulate, I never went to full mile. When I decided what in the world to do with myself professionally after a period of statis in corporate America, I thought, I should look into counseling. But, well, I was afraid. What if I got too close? What if my own neuroses came to the forefront? What if I couldn’t handle the emotion and responsibility and ferver of the work? What if I simply wasn’t adept to the task? I weighed this heavily against Library Sciences (a field I did enter) and ultimately went with the latter. While I’m belly-full of informatic know-how I feel a longing, a perpetual pull toward the discipline of the former. I truly feel it’s my calling and I just let it dry out and run.
Why? Well, the why is important but perhaps I should focus on the how.
There’s a musician I love that has a line in a song that reads/sings, “If you really love something then get up and be it.” This could be interpreted so many ways, but I love relationships. I love human interaction and shared understanding and feelings. I love to talk about feelings. I’d transform my terse office into a feel-goodery if I could and the idea of exhausting years of my life studying the philosophy behind and the current practice and methods of a pursuit I so strongly support sounds amazing. AMAZING! Furthermore, I work in academia. Academia loves company and will pay, part-time, for me to attend school. WHAT HAVE I GOT TO LOSE?
Well, we are often our own worst enemies, but this time around, I thought to do as desired and met with faculty at U Mass, studied up on their program offerings, and am registered and attending a summer course in Introduction to Family Therapy.
So it starts. I filled out a professional development plan with my employer, paid for my summer course and have been dutifully attending. I have sharpened pencils, homework assignments and a newfound lease on dreams – one of which perhaps, one day, I’ll fully own.