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A times, they are a changing…

August 15, 2013

It was a cloudy, dreary day yesterday. The threat of rain held on for most it, denying us the satisfaction of an actual downpour. It was cooler as well, not enough to warrant any real change in clothing, but a welcomed relief from the oppressiveness of summer in the Midwest. It was like a glimpse into the impending changes of Fall. As luck would have it, yesterday also marked the first day of school for the majority of kids in the area. The early morning traffic changed as cars filled with kids and parents struggling to adjust to the new routine, combined with the familiar yellow buses now dotting the vehicular landscape.

This time of year is always my favorite, the last brush with summer fading as a distant memory as the routines of school days begin to take hold. While it usually ends up being a month (or even almost two) before Autumn is really ushered in, I can’t help but feel like it could happen at any moment. These warm days that hold a fading scent of chlorine and the somewhat desperate hope of the relief of air conditioning, disappear from my mind quickly, and become replaced by thoughts of cool mornings, with rain-soaked leaves carpeting beneath.

Growing up I always preferred days like this, where the sun was hidden behind a gray layer of clouds. The hint of coolness cutting through the humidity and dropping the temperature just enough to make going outside bearable. It’s no real secret, my love of Autumn, its intrinsic link with the start of school, displays more about myself than I would normally like to admit. This time last year,I waxed poetic about the start of the school year and feeling left out. The loss of grad school was still fresh in my mind and the rituals of the previous years were difficult to shake.  It’s hard not to look at the past, to the life that never was; hard to not focus on the feeling of having nothing to show for my early twenties. The pain is still there nestled into it all, but hope springs eternal.

Through careful deliberation and not without a healthy dose of angst, I have decided to return to school. This time however, it will not be for a graduate degree, nor will be in anything close to my previous field. I am changing direction, becoming pragmatic and channeling my inner realist. I am going after a degree in the STEM fields, specifically information technology. In other words I am going back to school for a bachelor’s in computer science.

This decision was not made lightly, I have spent many hours questioning it and myself. The decision bares with it serious questions and careful considerations. One of the most poignant (at least for me) issues, stems from the fact that this is the same field my husband works in. This revelation is met with trepidation, the fear of being seen as following in his footsteps, the insinuations that I won’t have really earned the degree (aka he helped me get it) and the uncomfortable reality of innate competition in terms of careers. Perhaps they are only present in my worry-prone mind, but they are still present.

This choice, deliberate and focused as it is, still marks a dramatic shift for me. I am returning not only to the world of undergraduates, but I am also being forced to abandon my tendency to plan ahead. My progress in the degree is aided and thwarted by my past. Instead of taking the full four years (or longer) for a degree like this, I managed to knock out all the requirements besides those directly within the field(aka I won’t have to take anything in the humanities.) My past inhibits me however, thanks to a severe lack of focus in the STEM fields. I am going into the degree with a disadvantage in terms of mathematics, a deficiency I will be attempting to overcome as quickly as possible. I have no doubt this degree will be a challenge, and realize I am being thrown completely out of my element (although my familiarity with ancient Greek letters may prove useful at some point,) but there it is. The secret I have been holding on to (for the most part) since early June. I pray it does not affect the blog too much, but anticipate their may be a change in frequency or content. Rest assured the introverted knitter will keep her pointy sticks at the ready and continue to attempt to share her life as an introvert living in an extroverted centered world.

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From → Writing

6 Comments
  1. Amanda permalink

    Oh the things I missed while I was out on maternity leave! I was just catching up on your blog today and ran across this. I wish you the best of luck in going back to school! What and adventure! 🙂

  2. Good luck!

    I know what it’s like to change direction like that academically and I wish you success in what comes next.

  3. Sounds like exciting times ahead. Good luck!

  4. doctordana permalink

    Woohoo! CS! That’s great!!! I can tell you from experience that a bachelor’s in computer science is a million times more useful than a PhD in anything. Good luck! I hope you enjoy it!

    (And for what it’s worth, my husband and I earned “the same” degree, but we have such different tastes in projects, we usually have little clue what the other one does all day…)

  5. I’m excited for you to go back to school, and I think you’re choosing a good field. I think it’s interesting enough to hold your attention, especially since technology advances so quickly nowadays, challenging enough to keep your mind stimulated, and will have people that you actually enjoy working with. Not all of them, obviously, because life is fair that way- can’t let you have TOO nice a time!- but it’ll be better than Ms. Short Skirt and your ridiculously dumb former manager. Frankly, no one is going to think that Thomas aided or influenced your decisions in any way (except for maybe two people, but you’ve already learned to ignore most of what they say!)- I think people will just think it’s funny and nice that a husband and wife ended up in the same field.

  6. I also went back into higher education as a mature student… also for a CS degree (still ongoing).
    All the best for your return to studying 🙂

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