Saturday, September 18, 2010


Last spring I decided to go back to school, again, and work on a doctorate degree. Lately, I've been doubting that decision. I seem to be surrounded by very academic people, people with doctorate degrees that seem really smart. I listen to them and think, am I really smart enough to do this? What if I'm not? Can I really put together a valid, meaningful research project that adds to a body of knowledge? What if I just don't have the time or desire to do what it takes to research, write and defend a dissertation?

Tonight, I read this on one of the blogs I subscribe:

You can either do what makes you happy, or do what keeps you comfortable.

It was exactly the kick in the pants I needed.

If I don't do this, the world will not end. If I don't do this, our family will not starve. If I don't do this, our kids will still have two parents with three advanced degrees, and hopefully, grow up to see the value of higher education. If I don't do this, I will remain comfortable.

If I do continue, I will be challenged. I will be forced to consider other perspectives. I will have to stretch. And, I will be happy. Being in school, learning new things, and learning to look at things through different lenses make me happy. Yes, I am a dork. But at least I'm a happy dork.

So what if I don't sound as smart as the others I'm around? I'm a bit rusty with the school and theory stuff. And, the last thing I ever want anyone to do is compare themselves to me and think, "Gosh, I can't do that because I'm not as smart."
So what if I join the 50% of people who start but don't finish a doctorate degree? My family won't starve. I'll still be employable. I'll still be able to do work I enjoy. I'll have a broad range of knowledge, I just won't have the research experience and the credential. It will be ok and I will be a better, happier person for it.

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