I withdrew from the Graduate school at UT Friday. I had been debating whether or not to continue for at least a year now, coming to a decision then changing my mind repeatedly. Thursday my ninety year old mother went into the hospital after she fell. I left her with my sister in the emergency room so I could go to my Thursday night class. I sat there listening to the prof explain his class in Enlightenment Rhetoric, watching the graduate English majors being urbane, and I felt the onset of the stress I have lived with since I started this program. As I walked back to my car I decided that perhaps I should refocus what I wanted to do with my life, and being a grad student was not one of the things that came up. I will miss it. I truely enjoyed the readings, and the discusssions that grew out of the readings with my classmates and professors. I have grown as a teacher and as a human as a result of my classwork. But I have to move on, look more at he “res” of the world rather than the “verba.”
I was consumed by the amount of time I was devoting to everything for “just the course work.” I cannot stop working in the public schools to gain “academic experience,” because of the economic realities of having three children and living in the suburbs in a fairly secure middle class life. I cannot, being a slave to my responsibilities, choose to be poor again in order to become an academic. My oldest child starts college next year. The colleges he will get into are not cheap. I have two more following quickly on his heels.
I think I overestimated my abilities to do it all (work, school, family, health) and underestimated what was involved. I think I have been selfish in my desires and ambitions. I think I should accept where I am and use that position to make a space for myself for where I want to be: old, fat and happy.
Over the last semester, and through many of the other classes, I have just become more frustrated and angry about the current state and direction of public education. While I enjoyed and have gained much through the classes, I don’t want to be angry all the time. I have felt a tremendous sense of relief after I decided to stop my pursuit of another advanced degree. It might not be forever, but “knowing how way leads onto way . . .”
I have started reading poetry again, which is always a good thing.
by William Carlos Williams
I have had my dream – – like others–
and it has come to nothing, so that
I remain now carelessly
with feet planted on the ground
and look up at the sky–
feeling my clothes about me,
the weight of my body in my shoes,
the rim of my hat, air passing in and out
at my nose – – and decide to dream no more.