Going back to go forward

In other news, I’m wondering about going back to school.

Assorted art supplies (colored pencils, scissors, brushes, rulers, markers) in stainless steel buckets.
Just an elaborate ruse to feed my addiction to school supplies

Now, I’ve been in the education NPO business for a long darn time, so you could totally say that I don’t need more coursework or another degree to be successful.

And yet, I’ve been feeling more of a pull towards getting an Ed.D. during these last few months. As the policy piece of my work portfolio and my direct involvement in research & TA projects have all increased, I’ve been wondering about whether there’s benefit to me in having a stronger—or at least more organized—level of background knowledge about the education field.

There would certainly be some benefit to me, job-wise. And I wouldn’t have worked in this field so long if I didn’t care about it as much as I do. And I legitimately enjoy learning new things.

But still I wonder: what’s the gain for me here? What are my motivations? Can I trust myself?

I think I’ve talked about this before in relation to my shopping addiction and hoarding tendencies—there’s lots of things I’ve purchased or projects I’ve started in hopes of “fixing myself,” or just to anesthetize/distract myself from whatever wave of depression I happen to living through this time around.

So I worry that this fantasizing about getting another degree might be a step backward for me. Insecurity about not having as good of credentials as my colleagues do. Sublimated guilt about “not using my COVID time wisely.”* Taking one of the riskiest-feeling moments of my life—dropping out of Ph.D. school without finishing my dissertation or getting the degree—and trying to fix that “failure” by finally getting myself a doctoral degree.

There is a certain backwards motion in returning to school. Egads, I haven’t studented for the longest time.

Close up image of an old woman's hands turning the pages of a book.

I will most assuredly be the oldest student in any and all of these hypothetical classes ahead of me. Am I up for that? Am I ready to get a degree so late in life it may scarcely be of use?

(Momentary ageist anxiety attack aside…..)

What I’m most trying to distinct right now is whether going back to school would be a small step back in order to make a bigger step forward—or is it just retrograde motion? Will the career gains, will the mental and spiritual nourishment of a new academic program, will the new skills and knowledge all be worth the time and energy and money I’ll need to invest?

I don’t yet have those answers. But I am going to be sitting in on an info session next week in hopes that will help me sort it all through.

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* I know: I am actively against that kind of self-inflicted pressure. Still human enough to fall prey to it now and again…

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Image credits:

  • Art supplies: PickPik, open license.
  • Hands and book: Pixabay, open license.

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