After years of procrastination I’m finally researching specific grad programs and starting to size up my potential as a Ph.D. or Psy.D. candidate. I’ve been out of school for over seven years, and part of me feels insane to be considering going back in my 30s, especially considering the debt burden I’ll have to expect. Though I think this is still a better choice than continuing to flounder around in a career field in which I have no interest.
I have been paralyzed by my fear of failure and inability to focus on one field within my varied interests, but I have to remember my past failures do not have to control my future, and that I’ve learned a great deal of self control over the last several years. I’ve lost 150 pounds by learning to control my attentive mind and through this attention choose to counteract the habitual thought and emotional patterns that had me weighing more than 350lbs. Through meditation I’ve started to gain perspective on my thought processes and through such attentive practice have really started to look at the structure of my self-perpetuated identity and how it both serves as a manifestation of my creative choices and is also created and reinforced by the thoughts and habits I internalize and then manifest. Mostly, I’m ready to learn again in a structured and cohesive way, and I’m ready to subject myself to criticism and rigor again.
I want order and guidelines back in my life, mentors to show me pathways I cannot see on my own, challenging yet achievable goals, and institutional structures on which I can rely and in which I can participate. I was created by school structure, and I thrive within it, but I’ve been guarded at giving away my thought autonomy again. Ultimately, I can now see academic structure as my best means of my achieving some kind of mature career autonomy through expertise. There are many old habits I must be wary of falling into, but I think I’m better prepared for these pitfalls now than I have ever been. If I fail this year, then I will continue to pad my experience and work harder to achieve this goal in another year. It just feels wonderful to have a direction and emerging sense of purpose I’ve not felt since I graduated from college.
Finally, I cannot help but think the time for a reboot is now. I do not own any real estate, I do not have any long term relationship commitments, I do not have any children, I do not have any chronic and expensive medical issues, and I do not have a career I personally value beyond its capacity to pay bills. With the knowledge that some of my closest friends in Chicago may move from the city in the coming years it makes the timing of this decision feel less emotionally discordant. I am ready for adventure, and have few great binding ties to my current path. I have no illusions that this will be easy, or even all that enjoyable in the day to day experience, but I want a challenge and I eventually want to work with patients using my creative thinking capacity and hopefully well trained and honed intuitive and deductive reasoning capabilities.