I read a great post on Tumblr this morning from GradnessMadness about “quitting” grad school. It’s ultimately a positive post, but it realistically addresses the way many other people feel when an individual decides to “quit” grad school. That’s a very loaded term, and a powerful one in our culture. And I think the term itself makes it difficult for some of us to make decisions because we don’t want to let down ourselves or others. And it’s a term I struggled with for a long time this year. I begin to consider “quitting” grad school. After months of anxiety, therapy, and soul-searching, I realized I was using the wrong word. I wasn’t the same person I was when I started grad school four years ago, and it wasn’t serving me the way it did then. Once I got the right language, my decision was easy: I was ready to “let go” of completing my PhD.
I have a long list of reasons for not wanting to be in grad school now, but then I realized that, more importantly, I don’t have any reasons left to stay. I love the school I’ve been at, and it’s been a transformative experience for me – educationally and spiritually. I have met amazing people, and I’m glad that I’ll be able to remain a part of the community. I am also pleased that, though I won’t move into the final year of course work, I’ll soon have completed the requirements for my Master’s in Mythological Studies. I will be proud to walk with my peers in May at graduation, and I look forward to starting the next stage of life after that.
Life is a huge learning experience, and I’ve definitely had a lot to learn over the last decade, especially. We really come into our being in our 20′s, and I feel like now, in my early 30′s, I’m finally getting my footing. Though I’m also in a place where I realize how much more I have to learn about myself, the people around me, life, and the world. There’s been a lot of things I have had to let go of over the last decade, most significantly the life in martial arts that I had begun. I lost that life-plan due to an injury, and it’s taken me many, many years to accept that and choose to let it go myself rather than suffer the wounds of something that was taken from me. I’m realizing how much our attitude – and even the words we choose to identify that attitude – impact our view of ourselves, our world, our lives. Anyway, I’ve let go of who I used to be, and now am ready to embrace who I am.
On a final note, I just want to say I am incredibly grateful for the amazing support system I have of local friends and family as well as my life-time friends, school friends, blog friends, and Twitter peeps stretched across the US and Canada. I feel the support you each offer and am blessed to have you all in my life. Namaste.