I seriously can’t even believe this.
Today I received an unusually wrapped item in mail. I stared at it for the first few moments as though I’d never before laid eyes on such a thing. This certainly isn’t the case, but I was shocked nonetheless. You see, I had gone online to request a postgraduate admissions catalogue from one of the schools I was interested in. It was supposed to arrive within ten business days, so I excitedly ran to check the mail every single day. To my disappointment, it never showed up.
That was four months ago.
Much has happened in the last four months. Things have changed at a rapid pace. My goals, my career path, me. The notion of pursuing my Masters (much less a PhD) has managed to slip to the very back of my mind without me noticing or even caring. I’ve been so caught up with my new plans and aspirations, so enveloped in a blanket of newfound passion and positive expectation, that I had once again convinced myself that my grad school dreams weren’t important.
When I first started this blog I had planned to chronicle my entire grad school experience. From preparation to graduation, I had wanted to use this little platform of mine to serve as a written testament of what can happen when you choose to faithfully follow your dreams. I knew my journey would be exceedingly challenging, maybe even borderline impossible. However, I thought it would make for an excellent story.
All the same, I somewhat lost interest in being the one to write it.
Akin to so many times in the past, the obstacles I faced were discouraging beyond words. Despite having been fully committed to pursuing this long held desire when I first ordered the admission guide, my move quickly became the primary focus of my attention. After that, it was one critical distraction after another. In addition to launching a major overhaul of my lifestyle and trying to overcome my most prominent vice, I have been deep in the trenches organizing a new business.
Turning the catalogue over in my hands, I breathed in the indulgent scent of fine printing paper and fresh ink. Though compact and straightforward, the booklet ended up being every bit as exciting as I had expected it to be. Of all the schools, this is the one I would most want to attend, so just holding the book in my hands felt like an important moment in my personal history. The timing couldn’t be more curious.
Naturally, I flipped straight to the section of the book that listed all of the Psychology courses. So many options. So many thrilling, tempting possibilities. And yet, a twinge of sadness reminded me that this particular dream of mine might not be as realistic as it had once seemed. Determined to squash the sorrowful longing that was beginning to swell within me, I closed the book and tossed it to the floor.
It’s never going to happen, I thought. I would have to do it my way, but my way isn’t realistic.
Although I meet all of the academic qualifications for the programs I would be interested in, I don’t have the basic resources required to complete an application packet. Due to having been out of college for a decade, I couldn’t conjure an academic reference letter if my life depended upon it.
Curiously enough, the school takes such circumstances into account and accepts professional references in lieu of academic ones. Pathetically enough, I can’t obtain that at the present moment either. Unless me, myself and I can provide a shining professional recommendation for myself, I am quite out of viable options as far as letters are concerned.
To further complicate matters, I’ve long decided that taking on more debt (even just student loans) is completely and utterly out of the question. Between international student tuition, housing, transportation and random necessities, going for my Masters and PhD would be quite costly. My original mindset had been to attend school at any cost; I’d worry about paying it back later. However, after a long and stressful battle with credit cards and mounting personal debt, I have officially put a halt to the further acquisition of debt—permanently.
This may sound completely ridiculous to most people; I realize that. It has become normal (at least in my country) to rely upon the financing of homes, cars, education or even trivial things such as clothes and shoes. While I will never, ever condemn someone else for going into debt for this or that, this way of life is no longer for me. If I can’t buy something in cash or get it for free, I simply go without. Period.
And you know what? I’m much happier these days. I also have an uncanny way of getting a lot of cool stuff without even having to pay for it. God has been ridiculously good to me since I stopped using my credit cards, so there must be something powerful behind the whole “owe no man” thing. All the same, I’m left wondering how I could pay for years and years of schooling without acquiring so much as a dime of debt. I know He can make a way as He always does, but I’d be telling a bold faced lie if I said I understood how it could be done.
Then there are my current life plans. I’ve spent the last few months weaving the most beautiful portrait for my life. Of course, I haven’t been sharing these exciting things with you all, but one day I will. My main question isn’t whether or not I still want to go to grad school, but how it can fit into my current plans.
Even if I had all of the resources I needed with an acceptance letter in hand, would the experience truly fit into my life in a beneficial and rewarding way?
Would I actually be able to use my degrees or would they simply gather dust like the last one?
Would I still have adequate time to work on the things I’m currently doing?
Would I have the moral support I’d need to successfully and sustainably live in a foreign country so far from everything and everyone I know?
So many questions. So many pressing, unanswered questions.
But the most important question of all still remains…
Have you ever found yourself deeply conflicted over your true purpose in life? Have you ever wanted to “do it all”, but not known how?
I’d love to hear how you resolved this conflict within yourself, so please feel free to comment down below.
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