Thursday, June 9, 2011

Another One Bites the Dust

NOTE: I posted this back in February in my work blog (yes, we have blogs at work that I try to update monthly just to keep myself visible) and decided to post it here:


I have a class tomorrow [this was 2/19/11] in my final course of my doctoral program. Going to school on a Saturday is often painful but a large part of my recent years. I will be presenting on the things people in my field can do to increase their organizational and individual effectiveness. As I mull over that topic, the following comes to mind:


I hope everyone who celebrates Valentine's Day had a good one. I, for one, was still feeling under the weather from that bug that's been going around. So I spent the evening watching the Jeopardy IBM Challenge in which a supercomputer competed against two human contestants. The future is here.

My boyfriend [known on here as "The Ukrainian"] made me some soup and enjoyed the show with me. I've been in graduate school a little longer than I've been with him, but he has always been supportive of my efforts. He himself has a master's degree in Electrical Engineering, so he never let me get too far when I woefully wanted to stop going to school.

And then, just as I was making the final push toward completing my doctorate, he pulls out a course catalog and announces that he's going to matriculate into a master's program for Leadership and Management.

My feelings on this were so mixed. Here I was, feeling impatient and excited about finally taking the burden of school off of my shoulders so we might be able to see each other more often and enjoy our youth... and perhaps embark toward the next steps of our relationship. So while I was in awe about his ambitions, I felt that my efforts to clear my own educational hurdles would be for naught. As I'm basking in my new free time, he will be sitting in class -- a complete role reversal I'm not sure I could handle.

But then, I was overwhelmed with the extreme desire to support him the way he has supported me over the years. Due to my field, I've actually taken many of the classes he will be taking, particularly in his first year. I joked that I could help him with his homework (ADDED: this has happened already). I know that the few hours he will be in class each week will not put an end to our quality time together, our marathoning, or our occasional local travel.

There is indeed a lot of good and excitement that comes with this new adventure. Perhaps he will keep me current once I'm out of school for these next three years while he's in the program. Perhaps I can spend the free time attending the field-relevant events I've missed out on due to my limited schedule as a student and employee. Perhaps he'll eat more of the products of my emerging culinary skills when he has less time to cook for himself. And certainly, I will be inspired to never stop learning and practice "kaizen" with myself.

Sure, my post-graduate life probably won't be as carefree as I would like to imagine, and not just because one of us will be in school again. As I'm preparing for my presentation tomorrow, I increasingly understand that having a degree comes with its responsibilities, and had I truly desired a relatively carefree life, I wouldn't have chosen to continue my education in the first place. I'm sure it will all make sense one day (and I will definitely need to make sense out of things having gone through a bachelor's, master's, and doctoral program in a span of seven years).


  1. It's funny, Brent started a masters program about six months after I finished my Ph.D., and I had some of the same feelings. I was really looking forward to a time where we could both settle into a stable life together, after so many years of geographic and professional limbo, and all of a sudden that got pushed off for a few more years. It's different, being the person on the other side of it (though since we're in the same field, I've definitely been on your end of "helping," too!), but I think we're figuring out a new rhythm, one that makes room for him to be overwhelmed in the busy-ness and allows me to negotiate the post-grad world - and we're figuring out how to support each other in both those things.

  2. You two sure love your studying but knowledge is power so the more the better. Besides it is only school and not prison or military. It will all be worth it in the end.