Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Student Mom

So, I'm in the process of applying to grad school right now. If all goes according to plan, I will be starting a master's program in English literature come January 2014 (of course, there's always the possibility that I won't get accepted to the program I'm applying to, which means I'll have to hang my head in shame and tell everyone, "Just kidding! Not going to grad school! Ha ha, funny joke!" except it won't be funny at all, it will be terribly humiliating, so let's just not think about that possibility right now).

Anyway, when I tell people that I'm going back to grad school, I get various responses, mostly along the lines of, "Are you crazy?"

Yep. Pretty much crazy. Because not only will my husband be starting a very demanding, 60+ hour a week job at roughly the same time, I'll still be a full time mom. And if all goes according to plan, I'll be starting grad school with baby #2 in the works, and my first trimesters are not pretty. So I may be an essentially-single full-time mom vomiting all over the place while trying to wrap my head around writing papers with citations all over again. Then there's always the financial compound, where we will be desperately trying to dig ourselves out of the huge mound of student loan debt we just accrued during my husband's stint in law school. So you know, throwing money at my schooling (plus childcare) is kind of nonsensical at this point.

But we've fully embraced the insanity of our approaching situation, and we're just going to deal with it.

So anyway, the second question I hear a lot when I tell people I'm going back to grad school is, "That's so brave! Let me know how the process goes for you, because I want to do that someday too." You see, I'm friends with a lot of smart, intelligent, wonderful women who could have done brilliant things in the world if they had decided to pursue careers or further education. But the majority of them chose to put first things first, start families, and focus all the best of their energies to raising their children. And yes, with all my heart I believe that my children and family will always come first (I will have no qualms about quitting grad school if it throws our family balance too far out of whack). But again, these moms are still intelligent women who sometime dream about that day when they can trade in diapers for diplomas.

The thing is, once you've been out of school for so long, it's REALLY HARD to get back into it. For you non-mothers out there, Mommy brain is a real thing. I've lost dozens of brain cells just from the sleep deprivation, let alone the mind-numbing monotony of reading "Goodnight Moon" for the fiftieth time in an hour. Seriously, the synapses just don't work like they used to. Plus, it's hard to know even where to begin. Thinking about stuff like the GRE, or brushing up a writing sample, or getting academic letters of recommendation, can seem so overwhelming when you've had no contact with the academic world for years. It's enough to discourage someone before they even start, so I thought I might use this little corner of the internet to document and share my process of going from full-time stay-at-home-mom, to becoming a full-time grad student/mom. I plan to call this series "A Student Mom" and cover everything from studying for the GRE to balancing student-life with the responsibilities of motherhood. I'll probably post to this series about once or twice a month, so look for the first post some time next week.

I hope this series is useful to someone out there. I also hope this doesn't devolve into a place where I vent and complain about how INSANE I am for making this decision to go back to grad school. But as this blog is likely to revolve around the books I read for class once I'm a student, I thought I might as well talk about all the other aspects of this process too.

Of course, I have to get in first. Wish me luck there!

1 comment:

  1. Oooh, I am VERY interested in this series! I hope to go back to school at some point, so I'm looking forward to hearing your ideas about the process.

    Good luck!!!