So I have a slight fear of commitment.
It doesn’t come out often. I’m very good at making small decisions like in buying clothes or picking restaurants, but when it comes to things like signing a commitment to attend a school I can’t afford on my own in a country I’ve never been to for a degree I may never use, I get a bit anxious.
The honeymoon period of applying to and getting accepted to schools came to an abrupt halt as my cursor hovered over the button to accept my university’s offer.
Except scared is exactly what I became. Suddenly, I wasn’t sure of anything.
I grew painfully aware of all the consequences I overlooked, all the insecurities I ignored, and all the ways I could fail in epic proportions. My bliss went up in a puff of smoke.
Rather than a strong, independent woman taking charge of her own life, I felt like a dog walking around in human clothes barking, “Hur hur hur. Look at me, I’m a grad student. Hur hur.”
Or worse, that my fairy tale year was really just a massive joke that I was the butt of.
When people asked me what I was going to study and why, I never knew what to say.
Sure, I have tons of reasons, and they’re valid. I have an interest in becoming an academic librarian, which typically requires a specialty degree (history for me), but since I’m not married to the idea of librarianship and would like to experiment in other history-related professions, it makes sense to get my history degree before my library degree. However, that’s really just what I say to justify my actions. I honestly just want to study history and travel – it barely has anything to do with my career – so I live in fear of someone calling me out on my shit.
Since I’m not going into it with a specific career in mind (hell, I don’t even have a specific thesis topic yet), I feel like I’ve already set myself up for failure.
I still don’t really know what I want to be when I grow up. What if I get a Master’s degree and it doesn’t get me a better job? What if I end up exactly where I began, only with more debt?
Or what if I get my degree only to get a job that wants me to have a different degree?
I also have the hopes and dreams of my friends and family riding on my shoulders. My parents especially are so proud that I’m doing something they never did and am taking my life into my own hands. But what if I fail?
What if my thesis isn’t good enough? That I pale in comparison to everyone around me and end up spending my once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as an international laughing stock?
And I’ll do it all to satisfy my own whimsy.
Who am I to do that?
What are my alternative options, though? My safe plan of working my way up through some small public library?
That’s when I snap myself out of it.
What is my sense of self, confidence, and happiness worth? Priceless, right? Even though I’m not doing this for the “normal” reasons as part of a well thought out career and life plan, I’m still going for good reasons. Doing something I love is a good reason. Is it so bad to do something just because it makes me happy?
My life is mine, and a life of safety and stability comes with the price of boredom and predictability. I’ve been to that side, and I was miserable beyond words. Now I pay for my thrills with unpredictability, which scares the snot out of me, but I’ll gladly pay the price.
So the better question is, who am I to deny myself such an adventure?