What IF: I Went to Grad School?

June 09, 2010

Now this is not a traditional What IF Wednesday, but this topic is especially salient today because I just registered for classes for my Fall 2010 semester at Simmons School of Social Work. Thus, obviously, I already knew I was taking this next step. But, I made it this far in the process by kind of hiding my head in the sand and waiting for the sandstorm to die down around me – also known as how I deal with most things. So, today:

It’s real.

I’m borrowing an amount of money I can barely comprehend to accomplish it.

I am relocated to Boston, MA for the next two years, starting in August.

I am going to be doing homework, endless amounts of homework, again.

My life and schedule are no longer at my every whim and fancy, AKA: I have sold my life away for the next two years.

So, I applied to five grad schools this fall, after my little sweetheart informed me that she would not marry me until I had put this next step behind me – she didn’t want me to have any regrets or sadness that I hadn’t gone back to school before we started a life together. At first I balked. She is so effing bossy. What if I don’t even WANT to go back to school? This is the stupidest condition for marriage I have ever heard. And then I remembered: I love school. I do. I’m a total geek. I love going to the library and writing papers and having no real job other than learning to the best of my abilities.

She’s pretty smart, that sweetheart of mine.

So, I applied and I got in and I accepted one of the offers. I dressed up and went to the interviews. I secured my field placement. I found a roommate for Boston living. I’ve even started looking at apartments. But I have to tell you: I am more afraid right now, in this moment, than I have been in a very long time.

I’m scared that I won’t be any good at it. I’m scared that I will be on essential lock-down, and that I won’t have any control over my life. I’m scared that I will be busy all the time. I’m scared that my relationship will suffer, because I’m not very nice when I’m stressed out. I’m scared that I borrowed so much money, and, mostly, I’m scared that I won’t ever be able to pay it back. I’m scared of moving to a city, moving out of my comfort-zone, and I’m scared of having my own apartment for the first time in my life. I’m scared I won’t have enough cash to survive it all.

Truth is, whenever there is this substantial an amount of fear circling around any one specific event or change – that’s how you know it will be really, really good for you. That’s how you know that the event will change your life forever. That’s how you know that you really need to move forward bravely, jumping in with both feet, expecting the very best, and allowing the rest to fall into place around you.

I’m a bit of a scared person, generally. I feel intense anxiety whenever I move into the realm of the unknown. But that’s what What IF Wednesday is all about, right? Diving in, surpassing your self-imposed boundaries and restrictions, and realizing how amazing life can be when you do things that scare you a little.

So, I buckled down. I researched the professors. I drew up a mock block weekly calendar. I found the best case class scenarios. I hit the “register” button. I didn’t allow myself to hyperventilate, because: I am the strongest and best person, right at the VERY second, than I have ever been before. I am capable of huge and exciting things. Never say no to a dream, just because the financing is daunting. I am entirely capable of supporting myself, 100%, and I will never go hungry. In other words, I jumped.

I’m still scared, but it will be ok.

I will survive this.

And I’m pretty sure, I will be grateful that I took this step.

Do you have anxiety about taking huge steps in your life? How do you get past it?