Friday, October 12, 2007

graduate school (ramble. read at your own risk.)

I have been lazily looking at graduate schools - and by lazily I mean the super duper American lazy way: I signed up for an e-mail service from the Princeton Review that, about three times a week, sends a list of several programs right to my inbox. I then look through then and say, "Darn it, Princeton Review! I told you I was interested in Liberal Arts and other such useless degrees! I don't WANT an MBA."

Occasionally there are somewhat promising ones. I even requested a brochure from some Monmouth University in New Jersey. I forget what the program was the enticed me... Which is perhaps the problem. I'm not really sure what I'm looking for. Typically, I scan down the list of programs that has just arrived in my inbox and think, "meh." Nothing jumps out. Nothing says, "Yes! This is the program to enrich your life and provide you with the tool necessary to go somewhere interesting with your life."

I moved to San Francisco with the instinctual feeling that it would do just that - give me tools, connections, and a fantastic experience. It has, though not particularly in the way I expected it to. It is still hard. I am still not sure if I can put words to the benefits the entire experience has given me. And I am beginning to see that I will not want to do what I am doing forever, so I need to find pathways to other things. And, because my parents are both highly-educated lovely people who credit their education with their current quality of life, as a beginning to exploring options, I am looking at grad schools. Lazily.

Lazily. I still feel as if I haven't gotten everything out of my experience with SFCD that I've wanted to. I can see that I'll need to leave sometime, but I'm not ready to go yet. So what do I want to get out of this program before I go?

A good friend, someone I grew up with, is currently spending a year in Singapore after graduating from Standford. We have grown closer in recent years, and despite the fact that we are in widely different career areas, are able to discuss the process of finding your path with something profound in common. Perhaps it's because we're both only children of scientists who grew up in Los Alamos. Perhaps we have just the right amount of radiation in our brains.

I digress. If I analyze our recent conversations, it seems that we struggle between two sides of making a life: the results at the end of the line vs. the quality of life during the process.

It's actually simple said like that, but being caught up in it isn't quite so. In considering to grad school or not to grad school: I know I would NOT like having to spend hours reading text-books, taking notes, attending lectures again. But I would enjoy learning. I would enjoy increasing my knowledge and understanding of the world.

(AHA moment: I want my daily practice of dance to be able to increase my knowledge and understanding of the world. Otherwise it is not feeding my complete self. I do, in fact, crave learning, even though I am often lazy about working at it. Note to self: is this what you want before you go? What would I want from the next step in my life? I feel like I may be entering a phase of intense thinking about life. Hoorah.)

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