I started graduate school in mid-January, and as a result of multiple learning curves—ie, technological, subject matter, and differences in "how college is done" these days—my seven credit hours turned into a 40-hour work week for me. Still, I pushed on, even though my husband and daughter increasingly wondered why I didn't seem to enjoy the work. I tried to respond thusly:
"Studying library science is not like studying political science or philosophy, where you learn about policies and ideas that effect humanity. Library science is the study of information; how to find it, how to use it, how to manage it. I can't get excited about that in and of itself, but that doesn't mean I don't like it."
Apparently, though, it meant just that.
Earlier this week, after receiving four A's out of four projects (three of the four of which were perfect scores), I realized that the only true enjoyment I'd had from either class was this past Saturday, when one of my professors lectured for eight hours. She'd missed the first session back in January (the second was cancelled due to snow and ice) and while online I wasn't sure what to make of her, in person she was amazing, and that alone was what I enjoyed. Alas, my work in my other, wholly online class, revealed something important to me. In that class we were required to focus on an individual library for the entire semester's worth of projects. I chose a branch library in the city of Garland, Texas. After working with library staff (they were great) and city government staff in Garland, Texas, I experienced horrendous flashbacks to my first career, in municipal management as a division manager for the City of Dallas. Listening to those refrains of "never again" in my head, I concluded I did not want to work in a public library, effectively shutting off the majority of librarian positions.
I pride myself in thinking things through the first time around so that when I make decisions, I don't need to rethink them later on.
Apparently, though, I did a piss-poor job in this instance.
A tremendous amount of soul-searching throughout the early part of the week, including a visit with a friend from class and phone calls to my academic adviser, friends from AAR who are librarians and totally "get" me, and a close family friend, as well as lengthy discussion with my husband, helped me put things in perspective. A chance email a week and a half ago from a[nother] close online friend about the possibility of a part-time, paid blogging position refused to vacate my brain even though I'd already sent her a "sorry, I've moved on" response. She too received a phone call from me, and after this exhaustive process—which also included going over the course catalog for the degree and finding little that interested me this time around—I decided it was better to realize early on that librarianship really wasn't for me. As I told my husband, being a librarian really isn't like "working in a bookstore except you get to sit down."
Yesterday I sent my official request to withdraw from my spring semester classes to UNT's registrar. I finished the book I need to review for Publishers Weekly by Monday and, after reading a blog entry by another close online friend at the blog I'm joining, decided my debut could well be a response to it, which I wrote up last night and sent to the site's manager for her to peruse, approve, or decline. While I finished up the spec piece during the evening, sitting on the couch with The Big Bang Theory playing on TV in the background, my husband said to me, "You look happy."
I believe I am. That said, though, the idea that I made a bad decision the first time around is tough for my over-sized ego to handle, not to mention the embarrassment I feel after making such a loud pronouncement about my Major Life Change a couple of months ago that now I must retract.
On the other hand, deciding to quit the program when I was succeeding is an entirely different proposition than leaving because I was not. Still, in the back of my mind the thought niggles that I gave up out of laziness. Nobody who knows me now believes this could possibly be so, but growing up I was lazy; just ask my mom. And yet, writing, and being paid for it, as I am at PW and now will be at this blog (which I don't want to name until my first piece appears online), fulfills something deep inside of me.
I continue to be a work in progress...and am back online.