Sunday, February 12, 2017

Confessions of a Grad School Dropout

Last week, I had to resist the temptation to tweet "I just dropped out of grad school. #AMA"

I understand your cause for concern, whether or not you knew beforehand that I was in grad school. I hadn't told that many people, mostly just my family and close friends, but I was also going into this with some trepidation. This was a moment of self-actualization, without a doubt, but it was also a conflict of want versus need.

In the end, I found myself asking the same question I posed when I first started the paperwork last summer: do I really want to be a teacher?  I had expressed doubts to my adviser, but I was encouraged to soldier on. I earned A's in both of my courses first semester, but the effort felt oddly hollow. Three weeks into my second semester, and after nearly six months on the fence, I finally took a side.

In my mind, the concept of being a teacher was more entertaining than what reality presented. I underestimated the level of bureaucracy involved, and I didn't put into consideration the hours in the day that are necessary to prepare. I spent a lot of time thinking about fun activities in class, but not necessarily the educational substance of the course or adhering to a rigid curriculum. On a more personal level, I also didn't want to sacrifice performing.

So what's next? I started a temp job in mid-December that I really like, and I hope that it eventually becomes a permenant position. After a rough first semester, I'm taking a breather from substitute teaching. I would still like to move back to Chicago city limits at some point before year's end, after an extended delay. Above all, I want to focus on my art and work towards my "big" 2017 resolution of consolidating and simplifying my life. I'm a little disappointed in myself, but at the same time I feel like a burden has been taken off my shoulders.


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