Yes, I’m Still Thinking

As I continue to traverse the stages of shock within utter humility, my mind is blown that I’m attempting to get a doctorate. You know the Journey song “Don’t Stop Believin”? Yeah, that’s me. Perhaps a doctorate isn’t the wildest idea in my history – I did join the military at age 28 which is still almost incomprehensible. But the smokescreen of doubt lingers. Do I have what it takes? Funny thing is I don’t worry about failure. Once I get started, I know I’ve got this. It’s the getting started part that worries me. When I look back on the moment I received the phone call stating I had passed my master’s capstone (essentially the final mountain), I was speechless. I looked around my big empty gym and took in the silence. Then I smiled the biggest smile I’d ever had until that point. I’d done it.

Shortly after I shared the good news with anyone who would listen, someone asked what’s next? I recall answering something to the affect of this is it for me. When the thought of a higher degree crossed my mind, I told myself ‘that’s not me’. Why not? Because it can be me. In time that passes so quickly, it will be me. In the meantime, much work remains.

I haven’t shared the news with mini yet. Perhaps the scope of it will be lost on her; that’s ok, too. But I did speak with her on the phone a few nights ago. Typically we video chat but she was with other relatives and it was late, etc. I had a tough time grasping how old she sounds on the phone. Not “age old” but “mature old”. She’s very matter of fact and wise in all her 6 years. She was also exhausted so anything she could do to stay awake was fair game. She had been struggling that night with a headache – when I asked questions related to how it came about, her answers were child-like, then I remembered she’s still my baby.

Proof

Me: Have you been drinking enough water?

Her: No, I haven’t drank any.

Me: Well, that may be part of the problem, honey. Did you hit your head on something while playing?

Her: Maybe!

Nothing like a conversation like that to bring life into perspective. I can hear the conversation in my head right now. “Mom, why is (this, this, and this) happening?” Me: I don’t know. “Well, you’re a doctor!” Leave it to a child (my child) to make you question your education.

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I ask you –

What song resonates with a journey (no pun intended) in your life?

Have you ever limited yourself with the phrase or mindset of ‘that’s not me’?

Share a moment where a child put you in your place. If you dare.

It Might Be That Time

Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. A few weeks ago, I began the arduous task of searching online for colleges to make my doctorate degree dream a reality. Perhaps it was just an off day because the only thing it did was leave me frustrated and resigned to not fulfilling that dream. I kept finding programs with projected completion dates near the 8 year mark. And the cost? Guess again. Even with tuition assistance, etc., it was beyond me.

Chalkboard = Dinosaur

Fast forward to end of last week when I attended a brief on how to make civilian programs work for you. You, the commoner. 90 mins later, I returned to my office with motivation, a renewed purpose, and some homework. Operation phD! Using TA in conjunction with the GI Bill should result in a reasonably affordable degree in T-minus 3 years. Doable. I might even be able to maintain my sanity and a slight social life. As long as I can write papers while we talk. That’s normal, right?

I’ve chosen a school, a program, and am in the process of finagling funding. Making military service work for me. Honestly, when I joined the Navy, I didn’t think it would be useful for obtaining another degree. For some reason I was under the impression it wouldn’t pay for anything beyond a master’s and since I already had one it wouldn’t pay for a second either. During eval season it was difficult for me to show I was progressing professionally outside of the Navy because my points were already full. So I said I wanted to learn how to whistle. And it did not go over well. My goal is to finish in 3 years or less…I even timed it not to interfere with anyone else who may be graduating. No show-stealing. Even though I didn’t quite get going when I said I would (by the time mini is 5 – she’s now 6), this is a valid goal no matter her age. Or mine. She will still get to experience mommy’s rapidly increasing number of gray hairs. And long nights of writing. Welcome to adulthood, girlie!

school supplies

The last time I went to school was over 11 years ago. I’m one of those complete whackadoo’s who really miss school. I love it! My master’s program was fantastic. All we did was write so of course. The feeling of accomplishing a lengthy paper or assignment is like an adrenaline rush all over my body. It’s figuratively my drug of choice. Drugs are very expensive. So I’ve heard. Anyway. I remember switching careers a year into the master’s degree wondering why I thought that was a good idea. Not only did I have to learn a new job but I also had to find time to write double digit papers on a new schedule. No big moves on the horizon this time – in fact I’m hoping this is the final straw I need to progress in other places.

Alas, I still can’t whistle. But I’ll have “Dr.” before my name so who cares.

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I ask you –

Who wants on my commencement guest list? Location: TBD.

Anyone interested in volunteering to teach me how to whistle?

Tell me your highest level of education! I want to share in your accomplishments.