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Unknowingly helping others

I recently wrote to someone (well actually to Brad when I needed to say my final parting words to him):

“So thank you Brad for everything. Even if you didn’t know that you were [changing my life for the better]. But i guess that’s the great thing about life… You never know when or how you will effect someone’s life for the better 🙂.”

I didn’t think that soon those exact same words would apply to me.

I received this message from a former colleague from where I got my MA. I don’t know her very well… at the most I can say we probably have talked to each other on two other occasions… she was very much my senior in academia to my wide-eyed and awed-at-all-above-me MA student:

Brooke – I know we don’t know each other well; hardly at all. And I know you’ve been having as hard and confusing a year as I have. I wanted to let you know that you inspired me to have the courage to do what I had to do – leave the-school-I-got-my-MA-at-and-she-was-getting-her-PhD All But Dissertation after 8 years.

I had written a pretty lengthy note on facebook to all of my friends about my choice to leave academia and since most of our mutual friends commented on it she must have seen it.

My turmoil and hardships helped someone else through their own turmoil and hardships.

I guess that is the point of why I set up this blog. So I could also help other fellow OCD suffers or academics… but I always knew that if I did help someone it would probably be without my knowledge.

But the fact that someone I know and admire has told me that I inspired them!!! It means so much in the world!! To know that my suffering was not in vain and that I was able to help someone else… someone much more amazing than me!!!

Never did I think when I was writing my long explanation to my friends (I never posted it on here… but I will post it below… with of course a few personal things (like the name of universities and where i live) edited out) that it would help one of them. I just thought I needed to explain myself about why I was leaving something all of them supported me so much in.

So I guess what I said to Brad was true: You never know when or how you will affect someone’s life for the better 🙂

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So now that it is really happening, all my past professors,colleagues, fellow cohort members, family and friends who have supported me throughout the years to reach my dreams and to be the best that I could possibly be deserve an explanation.

For those who have only seen tidbits on Facebook and have asked questions that I have avoided answering, I hope to answer your questions now.

I am officially leaving Academia (well technically I’m taking a leave of absence so I can come back if I realize that it is the worse decision of my life lol). This is not a decision that I have come to lightly. It is something that I’ve been really struggling with since my last year at where I got my MA and this past year where I was getting my PhD. I’m not even sure where to begin explaining why I have needed to come to this decision.

As we all know I have been pursuing this field of social science since I was a wide eye freshman at my undergrad institution. It was something I was highly interested in since the third grade, and because of the amazing professors I had at my undergrad institution my passion for it bloomed. I was given amazing opportunities by wonderful professors who saw my want to learn as much as I could. I then go on and list the plethora of amazing opportunities I’ve been involved in. 

And somehow I did this all in the three years and with a 4.0 GPA! I could not have done it without the amazing mentorship that I had and the amazing support of friends that were always around me. I know I was crazy and stressed a lot of the time, because I was on a trajectory. And I annoyed many of you with my “Omg I’m going to fail!!!” lol. I had a plan though. I KNEW that I was going to be a professor of this social science. I knew I had to get my MA and PhD and then be on my way to a tenured track position. Never in my mind did I think to deviate from this plan (well except at those 3:30am moments where I realized I wouldn’t be sleeping at all that night to get a project done… but then getting the A the next week would make me forget those moments lol).

And then I went to my MA institution and met some of the most amazing people in the whole world. The friends that I met there became more like family. We were always there supporting each other through the 1,000 page readings every week and the enormous amount of papers that had to be done. I met life long friends there that I will never lose touch with. I had amazing mentorship by two amazing professors and my passion for this particular field of social science continued to grow.

The summer of 2011 though changed my life. I know it sounds dramatic, but it did. I wish I could go into the details, but unfortunately that is not something I can go into detail for the whole entire world on Facebook. [for blog people– this is when my OCD become so severe that I could no longer handle it].

I came back to my grad institution after that summer lost, confused,and unsure of where to go with my life. I knew my plan though… so I kept with it. I continued with my plan to apply for NSF (which I totally didn’t get… but my essays were flawless!), PhD programs, and to try to do the best I could in classes (though at this point it was really difficult).

I was a ghost of the girl that I once was. Life was passing without me really participating at all. I could see the disappointment in my professors’ eyes not understanding the 180 degree turn that I took, and I could see the confusion of my friends who didn’t even know how to approach me.

After a while though with the strength of my family and close friends (who I finally let in… and I am so glad that I did), I began the fight to get myself back. I like to think that I succeed at this fight that I am back to the person that I was. But the truth is… I will never be that person again. I am forever changed. I love the person who I am now, but I do ardently miss who I once was.

But this event, this change, revolutionized my whole out look on life. I can’t go back to pretending that it didn’t happen. I see the world differently now.

I’ve always been extremely passionate about volunteer work and helping those in need (after all I did over 300 hours of community service in undergrad!), but this passion was always put on the back burner for academia. No more though.

I loved academia for the gaining of knowledge. The ability to discover something no one else has. To argue about a point that really had absolutely no effect on society and sound smart doing it!  To be able to empower people through the gaining of knowledge.

It was at this last point though that my true passion lay. I wanted to empower people. The empowerment of people through this particular field though…is really only a side effect of what we do. The past two years I’ve discovered how esoteric the field is and the many aspects of academia is. With my new outlook on life though… I can’t sit idly by pouring over esoteric articles. There are people out in the world who are in pain, who don’t see any light in the dark, who haven’t experienced kindness or love. I can’t with my new consciousness not do anything about it and worry more so about getting an A on a paper so that my professors keep thinking that I am smart or fighting with hundreds of other people to get that one grant that I probably won’t get anyway.

That isn’t what I want anymore…

And I can’t express to you how sad that makes me. I almost completely lost myself Summer/Fall 2011… but the one thing I held onto was my plan… my plan to continue my life in academia… now that I’m giving that final piece up, I’m finally completely saying goodbye to the girl I was. This past year at the institution I was pursuing my PhD I tried to get that girl back. I tried my hardest. That is why I came here. To see if I could get that passion back… but I haven’t been happy in what I do at all. I’m just constantly stressed (which causes unhealthy stress eating and sleep patterns lol), unmotivated, not passionate, and not happy. If I was supposed to be the girl I once was… you would think I would be happy… but I’m not at all…

Until now… I can’t express to you how excited I am about my future. I don’t have a concrete plan, but everything in the world is open to me.

I am about to start my new job (yes the one you’ve seen me posting about) here in the city…the moment that I walked into the office I just knew I fit in. There was something about it that made me feel welcomed and wanted. And I felt that my abilities would be put to good use there. And they seemed to feel the connection too since they offered me the job about 20 minutes after I left the second interview I had with them that day.

As of right now, my plan is to work in the real world for a while and then perhaps go back to school but for a MA in Social Work. As I said I’ve always been passionate about helping people and this passion has done nothing but grow over the past two years. I really am interested in working with the homeless population of my city… I feel like I could do a lot of good there.

I don’t care if my name is remembered or if any of my actions are known by the world… I just want to help people turn their lives around…to feel loved… to feel wanted and a part of society… I just want to help people who are struggling in any and every possible way that I can.

I have met some absolutely amazing people here in this city. I’ve been slow to fit in here, but I’m finally finding my place, and I’m so excited to continue my life journey with the current people surrounding me. So it appears that here in this city I stay… for a least a while.

I’m not going to deny that I am scared. I’m terrified. Terrified that I didn’t give myself enough time at the institution I was trying to receive my PhD from, terrified that I’m not going to be happy or succeed anywhere, terrified that I won’t ever find the place that I belong. But knowing that I have all of these amazing people around me, whether they are in this city or far away, makes me feel so incredibly safe. I know that with them, my family, and God I will be able to continue on to this new chapter in my life with my head raised high.

So anyway… I just want to thank everyone who has been there for me. Everyone who has pushed me to succeed, to reach my dreams, and to just be there for me. Especially those individuals who I forced to read various drafts of various papers multiple times… and those who I constantly told I was going to fail and who kept reassuring me that that isn’t something I can physically do lol. And I want to thank those amazing mentors who provided me with so many amazing opportunities and did so much for me to succeed. I love you all and thank you for everything! You mean so much to me and I am soooo incredibly appreciative that you are in my life!

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Free Time

So now that I’m a real person (you know someone with a real paying job… even if it isn’t that much money lol)… I find that beyond 9 to 5pm Monday through Friday… I have absolutely NOTHING to do… I’m not sure what to do with myself…

I love reading and watching movies… but I find that they don’t have the same allure as they did when I was procrastinating.. when I was in school reading or watching a movie was like a tiny rebellion in me… “No! I refuse to do school work!! So I’m gonna sit on the couch and watch this movie/read this book… and feel guilty but also rebellious about my life!!!! I’m my own person! I can choose not to do school work!” ….but now that that isn’t a part of me… yea I still want to read/watch movies… but it seems to have lost a tiny bit of its spark… is that weird? lol

And when it comes to video games… man I could never feel ok about doing that in academia… I felt like an absolutely horrible person for even thinking about playing a video game… because one can get so engrossed in the story line/ need to beat the bad guy in Donkey Kong that you forget what time it is and what you are supposed to be doing… and a WHOLE DAY goes by when you realize you’ve done no school work… I know I can play now… but a part of me still feels really really guilty doing so… and it actually isn’t a rebellious feeling… but a “I’m wasting my life feeling” that I forced myself to have so that I wouldn’t play during the school year… and I can’t get that feeling to go away! Its so annoying!!

So at the end of the day… I don’t want to read/watch movies/ play video games… so what does that leave me open for? Having friends…

I have a serious lack of friends in Chicago… I don’t lack friends in the emotional sense at all… in fact I’m pretty sure I have too many lol… but geographically the only friend I have is my roommate and a girl from bible study who I will call Marisa.

As I think I mentioned elsewhere… I blame most of this on Fred… he kept me away from having friends, and I always had to be free for him if he all of a sudden decided he had time for me in his life… Once I finally got rid of Fred, I was finally able to make closer friends with the individuals in my cohort… but now that it is summer they are all off doing their fieldwork or visiting family/friends… so they’ve basically left me a lone in Chicago… and then I made fantastic friends with the Ex… but of course talking is at a bare minimum with him right now.

I was hoping now that I had more time I would be able to get more fully involved with bible study… but guess what? yes they seem to have decided to go on a summer break… 😦

But the moment I think “Whoa is me I lack friends…” I have a friend from the past remind me how awesome they are and what a great relationship we have. For example over the past two weeks I have had friends from WAY out of town come visit. One of those friends was the friend I call Courtney (who I’ve mentioned in a past post) who was my undergraduate roommate and the other was a fantastic friend (who we will call Rose)  that I met during the worst summer of my life (yea… the OCD going severe summer 2011).

I can’t express to you how much I needed to see my Courtney. She has been going through such a tough time and it has been weighing heavily on my heart. She is just as how I remembered her. There is no one in this world who could ever come close to the amazingness that is Courtney. She is such a strong woman and still yet her vivacious, bubbly, optimistic self. She stayed with me for several days and it was so easy to fall back into our usual talking routine… which is basically talking nonstop lol.

And then Rose came to visit, for a very brief day… but I was so happy to see her. I wouldn’t have survived that summer in Mexico if it wasn’t for her. She is the one who listened to all my freaking-outs and gave me all the reassurance that I needed (although I KNOW I annoyed the crap out of her… I can never mention batteries or cement to her again… two things I was deathly afraid of hahahahahha). Since she was a part of my academic life… it did make me rethink my life choice that I made… but yet it also oddly reaffirmed my decision… Rose is a very down to earth, tells it like it is, normal person, so it was great to know that I could still hang out with her and have fun beyond all my obsessive worries that took over summer 2011.

But still… here I am… geographically alone… with no one to hang out with.

Yesterday after writing my last post though I made a decision. I was going to once again put God at the center of my life, for He is the one I should be relying on to help me through this geographically friendless time. I also realized that my relationship with him seems to have slipped from where it was at. At the climax of the whole Fred thing, I was closer to God than I have ever been. He answered my prayers by sending the Ex and Marissa into my life. I got comfortable though… because I wasn’t having a major crisis in my life anymore… I stopped focusing on that relationship… things didn’t exactly fall apart because of that… but they didn’t go as amazingly as I know they could have gone (except the whole getting a job so quickly) if I had continued to focus on God.

So I made this decision yesterday… and guess what… a prayer has already been answered… guess whose small bible group decided to no longer take a summer break? I know! I’m super excited and its obviously an answered prayer.

But with all this free time… I need to focus on not becoming comfortable and continue striving in my relationship with God. Because if I have learned anything about relationships from the past year its that one person (in this case God) can’t pursue the other individual… they have to pursue each other… my role isn’t idle but very much active.

So I am hopping once I get my relationship with God back on track He will provide me with other avenues to make more relationships (of the friend variety for now… I need a break from guys lol).

Well at least I have a game plan for this Free Time… and I can only see good things coming from it if I keep at it! 🙂

 
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Posted by on June 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Finishing the End to Start the Beginning

SO the semester is almost over… thats why I haven’t posted much… much stress inducingness…

BUT I also have exciting news…

This last week was the last week of classes and this coming week is Finals. One of my finals was due last week, one is due on monday, I have to finish grading essays ASAP, and then I have to proctor my students’ exam on Wednesday.

So I really have a lot to do and yet so little at the same time. A lot because that is a lot of work in one sitting, but so little because I AM ALMOST DONE.

BUT this past week I also had an interview with a firm in my city for a position as executive assistant. I was told about the job on Monday by a recruiting agency (I’ve only been working with them since the week before this one and this was the first job that they thought I would be a great candidate for!), they gave the firm my resume on Tuesday, I was called Thursday for an interview on Friday, had the two interviews on Friday, one in the early morning with the HR personnel and then with my actual boss in the afternoon… and 20 minutes after I had left they called me to offer me the job!!!!!

I am SO uber excited about this. From the moment I walked into the firm, I just knew it was a place that I could fit in and work well. It had a wonderful atmosphere. THe individuals I met were some of the most warming people I had ever met.

I can’t believe that I have a job! And in a wonderful place! I know its going to be the perfect place for me to be while I try to figure out what I want out of life.

We haven’t figured out my exact start date yet, because there is some issue of the exact leave date of the individual I’m replacing… but still I HAVE A JOB!!!

School is basically over… but it isn’t over… I have to finish these last two essays and the grading… yea I could do them poorly because I’m done with academia… but if I ever return to academia even for a short while… your transcripts follow you everywhere… so I don’t want to bomb…. I just want this ending to be finished already!!! I want to start my new beginning!!!!!!

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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A long week

So this week has been rather long… it was actually long starting on Monday… and considering that is basically the first day of the week… that says something..

So to quickly summarize my week

(1) Worried about BF b/c he got his appendix taken out
(2) Pulled an all nighter Sunday night for a huge paper that I had due on Monday… pretty sure I didn’t do well on that paper considering that what I wrote about didn’t actually fit the topic…
(3) Forgot that I had a presentation in a class until Monday at 6:00am… after only 1.5 hours of sleep
(4) struggled through the morning to get ready to present by 10am… did pretty bad… not horrific… but like when i was presenting I couldn’t read my own notes… which isn’t good
(5) Went home to take a nap prior to pulling second all nighter to finish a project for the next day and couldn’t sleep at all…
(6) No motivation for project…
(7) BF broke up with me bc he said my feelings were too strong for him and his weren’t close enough… said we could be friends… not having slept in 36 hours I quickly got off the phone with him (seriously it was like a 45 second phone call) so that he didn’t hear me break down in hysterical sobs
(8) Hysterical sobs for a couple of hours
(9) Attempted to work on project
(10) Accidentally cried myself to sleep
(11) Had to teach the next morning… ended up letting my class out after only 15 minutes b/c I was afraid of hysterical sobs during class
(12) Spent the next 4 hours hysterically working on my project… my only motivation was fear of being humiliated in front of my class (b/c the project was a lecture)
(13) Somehow survived lecture… but def didn’t do too hot considering I didn’t practice it at all, so I didn’t time it, so I was afraid of going over, so I talked about a million miles an hour
(14) Shopped… shopping always makes me feel better… and it did but only for the time that I was shopping
(15) Got home… cried some more
(16) tried to sleep but failed (which is really saying something b/c usually when I’m upset I just sleep… but I was so upset that I was crying which is like a 10 on the 1 to 10 upset scale… b/c I never cry)
(17) watched titanic… tried to drown my sorrows in icecream… actually didn’t work… I actually couldn’t eat all my icecream! I’m not sure if that has ever happened before
(18) and then finally at like midnight fell asleep
(19) had to wake up at 6 am for class… didn’t wake up til 7am… rushed to school and got to class 15 minutes late
(20) and now I’m sitting here typing instead of preparing for next class that I have in 30 minutes that I didn’t read for at all…

AND to top it all off… before ANY of this crap happened… over the weekend I decided that I was going to have a final decision about my future in academia by Friday. Like I already made an appointment to talk to the graduate advisor of my program… all my email says was that I wanted to talk about my “academic career”… which could just mean I want to talk to him about my trajectory… but really I think its going to be the “this is my last semester” talk…

And its going to break my heart… yes I realize that I truly need to get out of academia its not good for my health… but academia is me… and without it who am I? I don’t know…

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Decisions, Decisions

So yes… I am partly writing this post in order to avoid doing work… but also because I need to figure things out…

In a month and ten days I leave for field work… and I am terrified…

It was the last time I was doing field work (Summer 2011) that made my manageable OCD become severe… it was during field work that I realized that I no longer wanted to live (when my OCD was bad… not now… I def want to live now)… it was during fieldwork that my world fell apart… not that it had really been together… I mean the year before was really manageable (Fall 2010- Spring 2011), actually it was pretty great… but I must admit even though I didn’t know what it was then the year (Spring 2009- Fall 2009) before my good year my OCD was moderate/severe… and thinking about it… it was worse when I was doing field work…

I’ve actually only had one pretty good OCD free field work experience (Spring 2010)… well actually two if you count another time but it was only for two weeks and it wasn’t the aggressive kind of field work I normally do…

but this time around I will only be doing a week or two of the aggressive kind of field work… but its during the less aggressive field work of Summer 2011 that my OCD reached its peak of badness…

Sorry for all the talking in circles… it would be SO much better if I could just describe to yall what I actually did… but my academic field is too small and I fear being discovered lol

Its just my OCD has been really good… I mean in part it might be because of all the drama that has been happening in my life which has been distracting the OCD brain… but I just don’t want to chance it…

My therapist and I started talking about this on Thursday…

and man did my OCD go wild of thinking of all the things that could happen in the field… like it got to the point where my therapist and I were laughing about it… it went something like this..

“And what if I have to throw a battery out while there because its explodes? but you can’t throw batteries out down there because it will leak into the ground and get into the water… and yea it would be a small battery and wouldn’t hurt anyone… but maybe it would cause someone to get cancer! and it would be all my fault that someone would get cancer! and this area is really poor so like they wouldn’t be able to get any treatment… and they would die from a horrible disease just b/c I came down there and my battery exploded!”

and it just kind of goes on and on..

I mean part of me feels like I just need to get back on the horse… but… as my therapist pointed out… sometimes people aren’t ready to get back up on the horse and they try and just make it extremely worse…

I’m scared… I’m scared of getting there and realizing I can’t be there and having to come back… because that would also mean I’m totally done in this field… there would be no return for academia because you can’t have that without the field work… they go hand in hand…

I’m so scared of quitting though… I don’t know what to do with my life if I quit… I don’t know who I am if I quit… I’ve been chasing after this dream since the third grade… I have a 6 page Curriculum Vitae!

I’m also realizing that I am scared of what happens if everything is good during field work? And there is no OCD freak outs? Does that mean I need to continue in this field? Does that mean I’m supposed to be in academia?

I’m scared of continuing… I’m scared of quitting… I’m scared of not knowing…

I’m scared…

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Ice Cream and Undying Passion

Ask any of my friends or family members… I am obsessed with ice-cream… definitely to an unhealthy degree. lol.

The best: chocolate chip cookie- dough… but of course when life is going really badly and I need to feel better… Ben and Jerry’s Half-baked is always there for me and my sadness…and well if you have looked at my blog recently you probably can come to the conclusion that Ben and Jerry’s Half-baked and I have been BFFs. lol

Seriously… I think all occasions should call for ice-cream… whether really happy occasions or really sad…

But sometimes… ice cream and I have to go on ‘breaks’… Ice cream always knows that I love it… but sometimes all the saddness and the Ben and Jerry’s starts adding on the pounds… and well this passion of mine becomes unhealthy… right now ice cream and I are on a bit on a hiatus because of the cold… while ice cream may help my heart and fill my stomach it can take the bone chilling cold from outside and make it become an internal feeling… and we all know I hate the cold… sometimes I just get tired of ice-cream… although I LOVE it… sometimes you can have TOO MUCH of a good thing… I always return back to it though… I can never go that long from it…

So what this all boils down to though is that I am passionate about ice-cream. 🙂

Even though this passion is often unhealthy and it can often burn me out… I always find myself returning to it…

LOL… so why this long ode to ice cream? Well I believe that in order to be happy in life… one needs to be passionate about what they do… and as we all know… I’m questioning my current life path… am I passionate about it?

Academia (for me) is very unhealthy… in fact the field work for academia is what caused my OCD to become severe.. it also makes me a constant perfectionist that I don’t know how to not be that makes me constantly freaked out about work and have absolutely nothing of a social life… academia makes me feel lonely… because I don’t have many friends b/c I’m constantly trying to be a perfectionist about it… and also I don’t get enough sleep because I’m always trying to stay up to do work that I haven’t done because I just don’t have the passion or want to do it.

But maybe it is just because I am burnt out? After all I am passionate about ice cream… but I can have too much and I need to take a break… well… I’ve taken breaks… winter break… summer break… many weekends… and am I really ever craving for the semester to start again or to get to my work? Not really… I may be craving to not be bored any more… but that is kind of just like craving for food in general compared to ice-cream… I never crave to jump into research full steam ahead! or into the reading I need to do… in fact I always dread it…

but I am passionate about certain ASPECTS of my field… I love how the research that I do helps others… and that I am educating students so that they broaden their minds and see how beautiful the world really is.

so should I risk being unhappy in all other aspects of my academia just for this one portion??

You know what else I absolutely love? The Potato… I love potatoes… they are seriously the best food in the entire world… I am completely and utterly passionate about eating potatoes…

EXCEPT… I refuse to eat potato salad… I HATE potato salad… yes I love the potato… but I don’t like the mixture of it with mayonnaise, onion, pepper, egg, and celery… individually all of those are pretty good… but somehow mixed together and with potatoes… it really makes me want to vomit… therefore I am only passionate about one part of it… but all together I hate it and therefore I don’t eat it.

Can I apply this to academia? If I only like one aspect of it (and it isn’t even the main component of it like the potato is in potato salad) is it worth wanting to feel like I want to vomit all the time?

I think the answer should be no… at least that seems most logical to me…

Can’t I find other things in which that one aspect is a part of that I love more? I love various potato casseroles, MASHED POTATOES ARE AMAZING, baked potatoes are amazing, chips, and fries, soup with potato, potato pancakes, really potato in anything (EXCEPT wrapped in dough.. but that might just be because I culturally grew up eating perogies and have a mental block against them lol).

So therefore can’t I look for a different career path in which I can help people and empower them that doesn’t have to be in this field of academia?

But I’m good at making potato salad… but I still hate eating it… I’m good at academia… and I still hate being a part of it… making potato salad though for others and them enjoying it is really nice… but in this one case.. I think it is ok to be selfish… this is MY LIFE after all… if I can only cook one thing in the world for others to enjoy and for me to eat… why make potato salad just for others if I don’t want to eat it? How about finding something better that uses potatoes… and you know what?… I may not be good at making it for others at first… and they may dislike it… but I will eventually learn and get better at it… and enjoy the food I am finally making…

but can I really correlate food to career paths? But shouldn’t passion be passion? It should be all the same?

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Slow reader…

Ok… so I am being a terribly slow reader at reading Captivating… I just keep getting distracted… I seriously think I have ADD… seriously thought process in my brain:

“This book Captivating is so great. I can’t wait to learn from it all and finish it!”
“I also can’t wait to finish that pizza in the fridge”
“Speaking of pizza, I can’t forget to check on my meals on chefville”
“Oh, they have a new game now called Coasterville I wonder whats that about”
“Hmmm, I wonder how Marlene’s job at disney is going these days”
“I miss that girl… oh that day I set our apartment on fire”
“Speaking of fire… what is that smell”
“Ack! The pizza is burning!!! Fire!!!”

Of course it is much funnier in my head… but oh well… what can one do about that…

But anyway… back to Captivating… I came across another part that really spoke to me… especially about my current life difficulties with figuring out what I should be doing with my life path….

Quick word of warning this is a long quote… but I think I need to include all of it so y’all can get more of the meaning…

“Why did God curse Eve with loneliness and heartache, an emptiness that nothing would be able to fill? Wasn’t her life going to be hard enough out there in the world, banished from the Garden that was her true home, her only home, never able to return? It seems, unkind. Cruel, even.

He did it to save her. For as we all know personally, something in Eve’s heart shifted at the Fall. Something sent its roots down deep into her soul- and ours- that mistrust of God’s heart, that resolution to find life on our own terms. So God has to thwart her. IN love, he has to block her attempts until, wounded and aching, she turns to him and him alone for her rescue.

‘Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes; I will wall her in so she cannot find her way. She will chase after her lovers but not catch them;she will look for them but not find them.’ (Hos. 2:6-7)

Jesus has to thwart us too- thwart our self-redemptive plans, our controlling, our hiding, thwart the ways we are seeking to fill the ache within us. Otherwise, we would never fully turn to him for our rescue. Oh we might turn to him for our ‘salvation,’ for a ticket to heaven when we die. We might turn to him even in the form of Christian service, regular church attendance, a moral life. But inside, our hearts remain broken and captive and far from the One who can help us.

And so you will see the gentle, firm hand of God in a woman’s life hemming her in. He’ll make what once was a great job miserable, if it was her career that she found shelter. He’ll bring hardship into her marriage, even to the breaking point, if it was in marriage she sought her salvation. Wherever it is we have sought life apart from him, he disrupts our plans, our ‘way of life’ which is not life at all.

[the authors then proceed to tell a story of a woman named susan who had a horrible abusive child hood and when life became hard she went into a defensive posture… she needed to learn how to be vulnerable once again… the woman then writes:] ‘Every day I must choose to lay down my defensiveness and allow the healing balm of Jesus to attend to my wound and allow him to be my God, my Strength, and my Defender. He told me that I didn’t need to defend myself anymore, that was his job, he is my Defender and Advocate Would I let him be that for me? I said yes. There was a huge weight lifted off that I can’t fully explain'” (Eldredge and Eldredge 2005 89-90).

I have used my current career path as a way to find life ‘on my own terms.’ From late high school into the beginning of college… I had my heart set on being a missionary… actually I’ve wanted to a missionary since kindergarten… or at least pictures of a board in my kindergarten class room that had our names next to what we wanted to be when we grow up tells me so.

But I was also focused on making my family happy.. sadly not God… but my family… so I went the path they thought I would enjoy the most… the path that they basically told me to do… it was also the only way I could prove to my family that I was smart.. they only believed you were smart if you were in a math or science… so I had to get straight As to prove that a social science could be included in that… my main concern was and still is “I don’t want to fail my family or my life”… and I never think about “I don’t want to fail God”… but that is what I should be thinking… when I die, all i want to hear is God tell me “Well done, dear one”… but how can I if I don’t know if I am on the path I should be on?

I usually characterize the end of my second year of college (which I did in three years) as the time when my OCD really started acting up in my non child hood life… but in reality it was the summer between my first and second year… that was when the Pure obsessions began and I began obsessing over obsessing…

I don’t remember much except for the fact that I was taking two summer courses, I had to drive to get to my summer courses over a bridge (major OCD trigger), and I was having a quarter life crisis of what to do with my life.

I had started to realize that the field of social science that I was in was not for me… but I didn’t know what else to do with my life… all I knew was that I loved community service so the logical thing for me to look into would be Social work… I spent the summer refining my application to the social work school at my college and sent it in… I got in… but the week that classes began I started obsessing that I was destroying my life by not going full force into the social science that I had chosen… my advisor in the social work school was really getting annoyed with me b/c in the week of add/drop I probably added and dropped my courses three times before I finally just told her that I couldn’t do it.

What scared me was that I was ruining my life… then as my OCD slowly progressed… academia is what I began to hide within so that people wouldn’t notice that there was something wrong with me… I could hide my perfectionism within it because who didn’t want to get all As to get into the best grad programs? It steadily got worse as I began to give things up that I loved (such as being Director of Community Service for a program I was part of and spending time with friends) in order to feed into the perfectionism because I was terrified of failing… the only way I could defend myself from failing was to put ALL my time and effort into academia… I felt alone… I had to defend myself… I had to protect myself… and then as my OCD got even worse (hard to imagine lol) academia became my prison… the place I remained so that I could somehow have a small impact on the world but remain apart from everyone else… it was my way of defending everyone else from me (because I believed I was such a horrible person)…. it was my way of controlling the world and me.

But what this passage brought to light to me was… first of all… I am not my defender! My only defender is God… no matter where I try to find my salvation… whether it be in academia… or in a relationship that I thought would save me from myself… I cannot obtain it unless I go through God. I also cannot control anything (something I have a very hard time accepting lol).

I need to turn to God to save me… save me from this fear of failure… this fear of my obsessional thoughts… this fear of ruining my life and others… My life is really miserable a lot of the time… I keep turning to God and for a brief moment I am with Him and everything is ok… but the moment I get my fill I leave thinking I can live on my own without him… but I can’t… I need Him all the time… every moment…

I need to follow in God’s path.

But then I keep thinking… maybe I’m just getting cold feet about academia… maybe this is actually a trial… and I am supposed to remain in academia and it is just Satan trying to convince me that I shouldn’t be here… but I keep looking at all the evidence…

(1) The number one reason most people are in the field that I am in is because of the fieldwork… everyone loves it… I hate it… I absolutely hate it… there are some aspects about it I LOVE… but those aspects are the secondary aspects that surround the main field work…. the main reason for doing the work and the actually doing of the work we are supposed to be doing… I hate… it is PURE misery to me… and I have done field work MANY MANY times with the same results every time…

(2) I hate the in school portion… I constantly hate having to prove my worthiness to my professors just for a paper with an A on it..

(3) I hate academic conferences… I know most people love the drinking part the most (I don’t drink so… yea).. but people are usually pretty interested in the things being presented… i hate it… I hate sitting there having to listen to someone talk for 15 minutes… my thoughts are constantly “can this be over already?”

(4) I hate obsessing over doing work and never allowing myself to do anything else because I haven’t finished my work

…..

You would think that all of those are pretty big red flags… but I do love to teach the material, I do sometimes like research (it really depends on the topic… and then I only like doing the research portion… I hate the writing it up portion), I like that I get As…

but really… if that is all… why pour the one life I get into this??

My friend Jodie recently told me that after a long discussion with her mother that she is quitting her job. She dislikes it. She isn’t sure what she wants to do right now… she had her heart set on med school but didn’t get in the first round… but she knows that her job is making her into a person she really doesn’t like… so even though she makes great money… she is going to quit… and she is 5 years older than I am… part of me is afraid to quit because I fear it will put me behind… but if she can quit and be ok with it at 27… then I should be able to quit at 23 and be ok with it…

I wish I was as brave as Jodie… I hate what academia does to me… This is my 6th year in academia (3 years undergrad, 2 years MA, 1st year PhD)… out of all those years… my favorite is my first year of college (b/c well it was my first year away from home!) and then the first year of my MA program…

Thats what keeps getting me in trying to determine whether I should quit or not… I had a great first year in my MA program… yea I was a basket case the majority of the time… but I had an amazing group of friends… but just because I made the wrong decision in going into academia doesn’t mean that God abandoned me and wouldn’t provide me with a great group of friends… I keep trying to think of the material we learned… did I like it? honestly? yea I kind of did… I was still passionate then about what I do… but I was also new to my area of specialization and was getting to know the information…

urg… that one year is what is throwing me off…

I just don’t know…

I just wish I knew how to hear God’s voice better… people keep saying He will lead you in the path He wants you to go… but honestly… I have NO idea what that path is… I’m good at what I do… look at my transcripts and it will show you… I got a 4.0 in undergrad… 3.9 in my MA (two freaking A minuses!– and lets not forget I got diagnosed with severe OCD during my second year of my MA), and I got all As last semester… but am I good at it because I am controlling that aspect and forcing myself? If I was to let God control would I still be here? Or would I be elsewhere?

Urg.. I don’t know… I thought when writing this post I had a clarifying moment of “Academia sucks! I need a new life path!” but now… i’m just as confused as always…

Sigh… well at least that is one thing I don’t fail at… confusion… I bet I am the best out there at being confused… 😉

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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