There are a plethora of reasons why I should not go to grad school. Here’s a sampling of some of them:
People at grad school are critical.
I will not know anybody.
I have nothing by way of home furnishings.
My degree is not one that will guarantee me a job.
There’s a huge chance I will fail.
Okay, I’ll go there. I’m scared.
Why are these things negative, you ask?
People at grad school are critical. They will critique my work in a blunt and honest fashion, and I will have to be okay with that. But criticism is scary. I am the most unconfident person I know. I tend to take criticism personally. I let it hurt me.
I will not know anybody. I am also the shyest person I know. I will have a hard time making new friends. I won’t know what to do. I will struggle to meet people. I will be alone.
I have nothing by way of home furnishings. No, really. I keep coming back to this one. I own a bookcase. Oh, and a movie rack. OH. And a bunch of dishes. But no couch, no bed, nothing to sleep on…ack. I guess I could hope for a furnished apartment, but I can’t imagine that those come cheap. And what if there IS no housing? What if I get to wherever it is I end up and have nowhere to live?
My degree is not one that will guarantee me a job. I keep hearing that from people, from the internet, from everywhere. Why go to grad school to be a writer when you can already write? Why go at all? I won’t make any money. What’s the point?
And above all, there’s a huge chance I will fail. I can’t forget that one. Ever.
I’m scared. But really…People at grad school are critical. So what? So are many of the people I will meet in life. And in reality, learning how to field criticism has actually been helping my confidence to grow. Is it bad to be criticized (in a positive way)? Not necessarily. Especially not when it leads to learning. And I won’t know anybody. Isn’t that a good thing? Isn’t that part of why I want to get away? Maybe I won’t meet people right away, but I definitely seem to have a gift for getting to know people through my writing. And I’m going for WRITING. Let’s put those pieces together, shall we?
Then there’s my lack of home furnishings. But, like someone very smart told me, as long as I get to write and do what makes me happy, does it really matter if I have to sleep on the floor? Eventually I can save up and buy a couch. Dual purpose—I can both sleep and relax on it.
My degree will not guarantee me a job, that’s the truth. But in the reality in which we find ourselves now, what degree does? What it does give me is time. Time to be a better writer. Time to get myself straightened out. And then time to figure out how to use what I’ve learned to my advantage. It doesn’t have to be about the money. It needs to be about being happy. This degree will make me happy.
That leaves me with the huge chance for failure. If I don’t go, if I don’t try, will I regret it? Yup. There’s a huge chance of failure with literally everything we do. If we didn’t do things just because there was a chance we would fail at them, we would never get anything done. We would just be stuck, unmoving, forever.
So yes. I’m scared. Yes. I don’t know what I’m doing. Yes. I ask a lot of questions. I ask them because I am scared, but I also ask them because I feel that having some idea slightly lessens that chance of failure. These things, this list of fears, are scary. But not trying is scarier. Every fear inside my head can be countered with real, rational fact.
Maybe I don’t know what’s going to happen to me. Maybe I have no idea where I’m going to go, or what I’m going to do. But I do know that I have to try, even though I’m scared.
And one thing I have learned this year is that if I believe I can do something, I can do it.
Screw you, fears. Shut up, and let me do my thing. We’ll all be better off.