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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Addiction to Education

I have a myriad of addictions. Some healthy, some not so much (think: Coca Cola and chocolate). I am addicted to books. I collect them. Although, they often rest on my shelves beckoning me; begging for my time. However, my insatiable literary appetite is often trumped by insatiably hungry children beckoning me to come hither for a brawl over dolls or something of that nature. So, it takes months (usually) for me to get through a book. Other addictions I have include writing (shocker, isn't it?); WWII era music (to listen, sing or dance to); purchasing colorful and uniquely designed scrapping paper (of which I have less time for than reading); and last, but certainly not least, higher education.

While most people are content with a diploma or GED, I was not. After lopping off my hair and running off to Parris Island, I still intended on obtaining a college degree. I wasn’t the best student at the point because sadly I was either too busy with work to make it to class each night and/or I had other plans. Yes, I was a slacker and foolishly did not take full advantage of my military tuition assistance. Nonetheless, upon leaving the service, I set my sights firmly on completing my Bachelors. It took me about 6 years of night school/weekend classes and online courses, but I did it. I started and then stopped for about a year, then started again and stopped because of my ridiculous billable hours requirement at the firm, and then started again (for the last time) right before I gave birth to one of my kids.

Yes, I was 8 ½ months pregnant when I resumed classes for the last time in undergrad. By the time I graduated with my BA, I had two beautiful children who I am proud to say were present at my college graduation. All in all, it was a tumultous and very long road, but the end reward was so sweet. I graduated magna cum laude and as a member of the Alpha Chi Honor Society. Woot, Woot! What made this all so special, aside from how long it took? Well, during this period, not only was I giving birth and raising babies, but my husband was deployed for almost the whole time. Oh, and I was periodically working too. It was insane! I spent many a nights rocking/nursing babies while analyzing research and dissecting literary metaphors.

Phew. That was a mouthful.

Anyway, my loving, sweet, devoted husband breathed a sigh of relief when I graduated. He was elated (I’m sure for a number of reasons). The primary cause for his happiness was that when he was home from deployments, my nose would no longer be stuck in a book. Au contraire mon mari. Within a year, I had applied to graduate school and a fellowship program. Unfortunately, I wasn't accepted for the fellowship, but I a fabulous grad school accepted me and promptly started billing me too. ;)

At this point, I was pregnant AGAIN (I know, I know, fertile Myrtle over here). I had two little ones and a baby on the way and I was starting a new job. Boy, did everyone think I was crazy! I did too. Nevertheless, in amazement I graduated with my Masters and my husband again breathed a big, ginormous sigh. (Yes, ginormous is a word--look it up.) Of course, some will say that with an English degree almost anything is possible. Maybe I SHOULD start making up new words.

Following the latest commencement, with a Masters under my belt, I began to contemplate PhD programs. My husband scowled and refused to entertain the thought. So, I researched and conversed with myself about it. Fortunately for him, I didn’t find one (yet) that appealed to me or was within my reach. He, not the quintessential student, doesn’t understand my passion for school. I imagine that he thinks I'm a bit loopy. Personally, I think he’s quite a lucky man. After all, I could be sitting around doing nothing with no plan for a lucrative career or a way to contribute to retirement or children’s education funds. Hey, someone’s has to plan for the future, and I’m that gal!

At any rate, that fellowship I applied for in the past, well I applied again and was accepted this year! It’s a fantastic program and one that actually ties in with something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time and correlates to some of my previous training. So, yay! I got the fellowship and am awaiting classes to commence in the fall. I think my husband has given up and has resigned himself to the fact that while I mean well in my housewife duties, it’s more of a hobby. I squeeze it in between assignments and juggle childrearing at the same time.

As an aside, I will say that you'll will probably agree that I'm off my rocker. When my oldest was a baby, I used to read my assignments aloud while she lay on my lap, cooing and gurgling. It would soothe her to sleep (likely boring her when I studied Freud) and would give us some time together while I did school work. To this day, she is keenly interested in my studies, and while I have to censor the topics a bit, I do try to engage her. She has a thirst for knowledge and that makes me proud. Of course, I pity the man she marries, because if she’s like me, he’ll be phoning his father in law playing on the words of George Strait, “If she’s so much like her mom, There must have been times you felt my way…”


Suzie said...

I did it too. I wrote my disseration while pregnant defended while pregnant again. i miss school now that Im a doc I got no more classes to take.

Just a Girl in a Port said...

Wow, you've got me beat! No dissertation here. That must have taken some intestinal fortitude to manage. All I would have wanted to do is take a nap, not defend anything. LOL

Thanks for commenting. I really do think you have a great blog.