I finished my MS at Portland State last June. Two months later I found myself living and working in Astoria, Oregon by way of several happy accidents. My degree directly applies to my work, which I love, and I made the decision to get it very deliberately. I also knew I was going to get a second graduate degree before I was even done with the first one. I just wasn’t sure which degree I’d choose.
My choices were counseling psychology or creative writing. The first would be a likely gateway to a second career, and was also part of the decision making process for my first degree. Really I’ve dallied with the idea of being a therapist for years, since the mid-90’s at least. There are components of it in what I already do, and certainly the role of ad hoc (read: unlicensed) therapist is one I find myself playing in my non-worklife too. I haven’t completely ruled it out, though certainly time could do that for me at some point. There are a finite number of years I have to do the things I want to do, after all.
The second choice was creative writing. I applied to the program at PSU, but never completed the process. Cold feet, work upheaval, stuff… but mostly cold feet. I’ve been really introspective lately, as well as feeling the weight of time and middle-age. I never used to worry about having enough time, but these days I think about that often. So if I’m ever going to DO this thing called writing, if I’m going to take the time to hone my craft, there needs to be a thing to push it ahead of putting food on the table (or at least EVEN with that), and so here I am, working towards an MA in English and Creative Writing.
I’m still chickenshit though. I initially just applied to the English program, which is very lit heavy and writing light. Because… reasons. Mostly because I was afraid to do the writing degree. Talked myself out of that. Actually, that’s not even true. I just changed it without thinking about it too much. I’d had to submit writing samples for the English degree anyway, and they were able to use those to make the decision. So here goes!
I just finished the first week and I already see the shape of the demons I wrestle – and this isn’t even a writing class, it’s critical theory! Impostor syndrome raises its ugly head, as does my fear that no one likes me. So dumb, really, even as I write it I realize that, but I have to name it so I can see it and address it head on every time. Otherwise I end up quitting, and I’m so tired of that. I’ll power through mostly by just putting my head down and pushing through the demons. I don’t know if that makes them go away, but it least it keeps them from stopping me.