Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Underwhelmed.

I'm sitting here in the library at school while the rest of Survey Research and Data Analysis writes their year end exam.  With an exam I was NOT at all prepared for an a paper I am nowhere near done due friday night, there seemed to be little point in bothering.  I hemmed and hawed to myself all morning.  Now, as we know, I've pulled many a last-minute paper out of my arse in my three year academic career.  These papers were forged in coffee, cigarettes, junk food, tears, upset stomach and lost sleep and lost time with my children.  I sat up at nights entranced by the computer screen as I wrenched every last little bit of inspiration from my brain that would scream for relief.  Said assignments were also written in desperation as I faced the horrifying possibility of failing, and becoming a career convenience store clerk under a magnificent student loan debt.  It paid off, I'm a BA in Sociology.  There's no doubt.  I *could* finish this paper. 

With that little piece of paper, I lost my motivation.  Fear.  I took the summer off and lost my momentum.  I became accustomed to a relaxed lifestyle.  I rediscovered the children, and my hobbies and interests.  I came to the realization that over the three years I went to school full time, it was my life.  But when I attempted to work part time, and only had class one day a week, I only thought about school that one night a week.  Or, possibly, the night before.

Today I asked myself a few questions.  Can I get this last paper done?  as above, the answer was yes.  But my nagging voice came up and said 'But I don't WANT to".  So, after much deliberation, and a heart-to-heart with my Dad <3 I found myself leaning more and more to doing what I wanted as opposed to what I felt I should do.  Still, I made the drive down to school, and I walked into the class, and with increasing intensity I asked myself "Why am I here?  It's obvious, (by the fact that I spent the afternoon leading up to the exam reading the paper instead of studying) that I've already made up my mind."  I gave my notes to a girl in my class who had lost hers (it was to be an open book test), and walked out.  And I cried.

Ever spent so much time deliberating on a decision that when you make up your mind, to the point where it's too late to turn back, it's like a dam breaks inside of you?  That's how I'm feeling right now, it's a mixture of relief and regret.  Relief because I can go home, have dinner with my kids, and do what ever I want after they go to bed, completely guilt free.  I probably should mention that I already decided, due to financial reasons, not to return to for the next year or so.  Which added to my "What's the point?" mentality. 

I plan to return to school eventually, but right now, I have nothing left to give.  I don't have disatisfaction with my life to motivate me, I like my job and the place where I am at, in general.  I feel that I need to regroup, and regain my passion for learning, which is something I feel is better kindled in a full-time scholarly environment.  Go Big or Go Home.  Right now, academic politics in my institution prevents me from full-time education, at least, without a lot more pointless debt.  When this fourth-year program BS gets sorted out, maybe I'll be in a better mindframe to return.

I think the regret right now lies in the example I'm setting for my kids.  I mean, I don't have much to lose through this decision, other than the 500 bucks I plunked down for the course.  Even as a single mother in social housing, I can say, it's just money.  What is money compared to mental well-being?
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But I regret what my kids may think of their mother because of this, down the road I mean.  As of this moment, I've failed, if only one course.  Failure is a difficult enough thing to deal with.  I've never been a real go-getter, but I'm accustomed to knowing that when I putting my mind to something, I generally accomplish it.  But in general, I'm okay with it.

My shame comes in knowing that I bear the full responsibility for this outcome.  It was a fairly easy course, even though I'm not a math person.  Richard Rinaldo was a fantastic prof on the subject, so I don't fault him at all.  I can be lazy as fuck,is all, and this time it caught up with me. It's not so much failure, but I sit here, knowing, that I didn't do my best.  Had I applied myself, to put it colloquially, I could have made this course my bitch.  But I didn't.  Everytime this semester that I told Tierney she needed to do her homework, I felt like a hypocrite, as my papers went unwritten until the 11th hour.  Hell, until the 19th or 20th hour, this time around.  The one paper I DID write was 10 days late.

I'm not going to beat myself up about this, no.  I've accomplished a lot up to this point, this is merely a setback.  I just worry about what the girls will think down the road... will they see me as someone who just gave up when the going got tough?  Or someone who put her own personal happiness ahead of what is 'expected'... practicing the old adage 'to thine own self be true?"

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