Back to School (7 Days: Day 4)
(7 Days is a quarterly self-portrait group project I have taken part in for the last sixish years. One selfie a day for a week.)
So here’s news: I’m a student again. I’m tentatively excited about this. Tentatively? Yes. Because there are still some challenges to overcome. Things like, how many online classes can I take? And if I need to take an in-person class, where do I put the children while I do that? But I am going to keep moving ahead and hoping that doors will open, even if I have to adjust which hallways I take to find said doors. OK. That metaphor got a little awkward.
Another challenge is what to do about my pervious transcript? When I was younger and in college, for so many, many reasons, I didn’t do very well in too many of my classes (mostly for lack of stopping attending than anything else). This might come back to bite me in the ass now for things like financial aid. While I understand the reasons, and while I’m glad I don’t have to start from scratch, it is a little bit frustrating that things that happened seventeen years ago might have a negative impact on my future now. But that’s just a thing. I am going to keep moving forward the best I can.
The thing that needs to be decided now is which direction? My current two favorites for major are English and psych. In fact I am currently registered as a psych major, but I’m not tying myself to it just yet. I know that no matter what I do, I want writing to remain a part of my life. I would love to support myself by writing, in one way or another, but I feel like I can do that with either major. I think that a psych major would provide maybe slightly clearer job choices than an English major and I do much better with things that are less ambiguous. I feel like I have a natural inclination towards psychology and I really enjoy understanding it. I think I could make a good counselor someday because I am able to detach myself my a situation and to see all sides of it.
More than that, perhaps, I want to understand my mother better. When she died two years ago I discovered, in reading through her medical records, that she’d been diagnosed as bipolar. I don’t think that was right, though (she never had a manic episode, ever). I am not sure why the strange diagnosis – perhaps she presented herself falsely to her doctors, or perhaps that was a diagnosis they gave her for simplicity’s sake so that she could continue to receive her disability services. I think she had some sort of personality disorder coupled with lifelong depression and perhaps repressed memories of sexual abuse. I feel driven to understand her. I don’t know if this is guilt for having been estranged from her, or guilt from just being alive when she’s not, or a deeper, primal need to understand her in order to better understand myself. And I don’t know if that is a good reason for choosing a major. But I also don’t know that it’s a bad reason.
And so I stand here at this crossroads in my life, and try to make the best decisions for me and for my future. And I feel very old, at 35, to be here only now. I regret that I missed all these years of possible education or career-having. Of course, I also realize that, without all these years, I’d never be who I am today, or even know who I am. The major I had back in 1996 wasn’t one I ever took seriously. I actually had no vision whatsoever for a future. When I was 18, I was so wounded that there was no honest way for me to see where I needed to go. I’m in a much better place today, thank god.
So, for today at least, I’m sitting down to read some Poe. And someday I’ll be able to say I’m a college graduate. Cause I can’t physically say it right now.
So what do you think? How did you decide on a major? Do you think having a personal agenda is a good or bad thing in terms of major/career choice?