01 August 2005

Taking a step back

I'm going back soon to being something that I never thought I would be again.

A student.

I graduated from college in 1991 and felt a great sense of relief in the thought that I would never be in school again.  I enjoyed school, learning and all that, but I was ready to get on with life and not have to deal with the structure of school.

I wasn't the greatest student anyway.  I did all right, but I could have done better.  When I look back on my academic performance in college, I regret some of the habits I fell into.

Since college, every once in a while I will dream that something I did then comes back to haunt me, like I lose a promotion, or have to go back and retake a class for no significant reason-I just do.  After having those dreams, I always felt the same way: thank God that part of my life is over.

Well, it isn't.

I graduated with a degree in English after spending the first two years of college as a business student.  I had to take a fuller than full load of classes my last semester to graduate in four years, and I wasn't interested in sticking around any longer, so I did not pursue the teaching aspect.  I went into a career in retail, because I had experience, I was good at it, and I wanted to get going in making a living.

I did that for twelve years.  I did it very well.  But it was not my life's work, not what I was supposed to do for the rest of my days, so when the opportunity came to kiss it all goodbye, I did.  I wanted some time off.  I wanted to wander.

I wound up wandering a lot longer than I ever anticipated.  I'm still wandering, and I'm going to be wandering for a little while longer.

I told myself that when I went back into the world, I was going to do so with a career that I loved, that I would look forward to doing every day.  It's an easy thing to say, but a little harder to find.

I've been writing as a hobby for most of my life, but I never thought I would do it professionally.

But as I continued to wander, the same question popped into my head: why not?

Why not?  So I tried it, but I knew little of it.  I thought motivation would be all I would need to be successful.  Motivation is a good thing, but people can't really see it, not when you are just starting out, when you need something to prove yourself.

If I heard it once, I heard it...well, I heard it a lot.  "Where'd you get your MFA?"

(That Masters of Fine Arts, not Money For Anything) 

So in about 18 months, when someone asks me where I got my MFA, I'll actually have an answer for them.  I'm going back to school.

I start next month.  And I am very much looking forward to it.  In some way and some form, I am going to be a professional writer.

About damn time.


oceanmrc said...

Sounds great -- congratulations on your new start!

alphawoman1 said...

I'm actually jealous. I wish I knew what I wanted to do when I was in school (besides having a good time!). When I returned at a later date I majored in business. 15 years later I wish I had gone into journalism.  I would have been so much happier.  But, I know it is never too late. you just never know! Good luck and I bet the college experience will be so much richer with maturity (my ecperience)