Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Internal Dialog

Returning to actual blog posts now (apologies for all the articles lately). I am thinking, once again, of going back to school and getting a PhD. My family insists that it is important to have a PhD, and if I am going to do it, now would be the time since I have no children and my brain is still young enough to retain some new information. Problem is, I have no idea what to study. Here is my line of thinking (or circle more like it, cause it never actually goes anywhere):

Should I go back to grad school? It's now or never really. Should I study art or science? Art is nice but I am not that talented, am emotionally unstable, and would miss science too much. Ok science it is. Should I study what I like to do and am good at, such as molecular biology or perhaps evolutionary bio? It will involve bench work, which I like, and I already have a degree and 5 years working experience to help me along. But it's not what I care about right now! What do you care about? I care about issues of sustainable agriculture, food quality (not quantity, mind you!) and maintaining health in the age of overcrowding, pollution and climate change! But you know nothing about any of this... It doesn't sound like it involves any bench work, and you will probably have to do a lot of 'communicating' and 'leadership' and you know how you tend to freak out about extroverted things! And besides, who is to say that you'll keep caring about this. There was a time when you cared about genetics. But bench work will get old soon too. Can I even handle grad school? It sounds stressful and I am prone to panic attacks. But you can't let fear stop you from doing what you want to do! But I don't know what I want to do! Do you want to go to grad school? It's probably now or never...

The problem is, if I don't do something it will all soon turn from "what could be" to "what could have been" and I'll be sitting in my little home whispering "my precioussss...."


Spatula said...

For something as expensive and labour-intensive as a PhD... I would only do it if I passionately wanted to do it. And probably not even then :-D

I went to school full-time only to cut back to part-time, and I really, really wanted to study what I am studying! Since I am prone to panic attacks too, I'm all about taking it easy and not having to fight for breath or being able to sleep at night.

Plus... Your family is not you! Important for what? Important to whom? What's important to you, right now and in the future? They dont' get to live it, you do.

Paulina said...

Technically I agree. But I just don't know what is important to me, and I am really worried that my panic hides that from me, and that will only ever live half a life... On a brighter note, most molecular bio PhDs are free and even pay you a stipend. Not so with ecology for some reason. Are they second class citizens I wonder?
I am so frazzled about all this I can't even sleep, so I am going to take a day off from worrying about it. Bah...

Spatula said...

Then my advice would be to just quiet down and listen to yourself and take your time! PhD is a lot of work, no need to rush it.

Do some journalling, go to a retreat or a B&B, spend a week with no reading, no tv watching, no media of any kind - it's very hard to do, but really helps cut out distractions so one can hear oneself think.

Just go slow and don't frazzle yourself - take your time.