Hello. It’s been a while.
The word, “tumultuous” doesn’t really seem sufficient to describe the chaos of my life in 2016. I started last year unemployed and struggling to finish my thesis.
Those words have been the bane of my existence for far too long. In 2013, put myself on the path to PhD. I was firmly committed to that arduous journey, and had no doubts whatsoever that I would achieve that goal. A thesis would make that even easier, make me a more desirable candidate. I would show these schools that I could roll with research and they would want me as their student.
Fast forward to 2017. I went through 2 (well, more like 1 1/2) rounds of soul crushing rejections for PhD programs, watching literally (yes, literally) every other person I knew who had applied get accepted. Every. One. I won’t discount all those very talented and lovely people, and I’m so proud of all my friends. But I was left behind, and it was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to overcome. All the while, sitting in the corner was all that stood between me and a master’s degree.
My. f**king. thesis.
In addition to the PhD blow, which felt like it blew in on the wings of a hurricane, 2015 brought unemployment. And depression. At that point I had lost all motivation to do pretty much anything. Finding a job was hard; I wasn’t technically qualified for most jobs I could do because I didn’t have the degree, and there aren’t many jobs out there for someone with a BA in psych. I even looked for office work. 75 WPM and still nothing. Hell, even Barnes & Noble turned me down. All the while I kept telling myself to use the time wisely. Get the paper done. You’re almost there, I told myself.
When I got a job in April of last year, the excuse became work. Adjusting to work. Tired from work. I told myself, no new books, no new Netflix, no blogging until you get it done. But just thinking about it made me ill. My faculty advisor called it negative valence. And I was really damned negative. But still it lingered in the back of my head. Work on it. Just for an hour. Ok, maybe tomorrow. Maybe this weekend. It was always in the forefront on my mind
Then things took a bad turn at work, and I resigned immediately. Another three months unemployed. Another Christmas without being able to afford gifts. I kept beating myself up each and every day, but at the same time, I couldn’t stand to even open to books or read an article. Pure hatred is what I felt.
I’ve been rambling a lot. And so far it seems like Heather Bee is having herself a pretty elaborate pity party. I can imagine, my dear readers, that you’re dying to RSVP this bitch.
But 2017 has given me a huge gift.
Yesterday I was given the opportunity to return to my original degree track. You know what that means…
Thesis, no more!
If I’d known this was an option, I would have changed things a long time ago. But I suppose there are reasons why things happen when they happen, so I’m going along with it.
It’s not quitting. Not really. I no longer have immediate aspirations to get my PhD. One day, down the road I may reconsider, but I’m 35 years old, and I’ve spent all but 9 years of my life as a student. It’s time for me to step away. In addition to that, my thesis, which served a purpose at some point in the past, has lost its value for my current endeavors. I’m back to work again, and I’m a practicing counselor. By returning to my original track, my final degree requirements align with my current goal of getting out there and being a helping professional. It just makes sense.
And, more importantly, I am elated. How’s that for some positive valence? I came home yesterday ready to work. I’ve organized my space and gathered my necessary materials. I am finally ready to work. I feel so relieved and free; I don’t feel guilty about taking this time to share my goings-on with you all. It’s a beautiful feeling, and one I’ve greatly missed over the last year or so. I am not in the place where I wanted to be back in 2013, but that’s completely and totally OK. I believe the choices I’ve made that lead me here serve a purpose, and while I seriously hated life, I am here today, ready to work. Ready to move forward. Ready to finish my degree and graduate, to practice this craft I’ve been honing for several years now.
I am ready. Let’s go.
Anything Can Happen Thursday is a series of posts where I ramble about whatever tumbles out of my head. It may be books, but more likely, cats.