I’m Going Back to School: There I Said It Out Loud



I’m going back to school this summer. It’s hard to say that out loud, because it means it’s real, that I’m committing myself to it. Committing myself to school means truly admitting that at thirty, my life isn’t what I always imagined. The images of myself with the white picket fence, the man, the 2.5 kids, and the dog are not anywhere near reality. My actual reality is more like cats, condo, and career—the single girl’s trifecta.

Even though this isn’t where I envisioned myself, I love my cats, condo, and career. I’m so thankful for this life I didn’t pick out. Would any of us be where we are if we hand-picked our own deck?

I need to know that I can still achieve milestones; this isn’t where things have peaked, so I’m headed back to school—business school to be precise. I don’t have the foggiest idea where the next decade will take me. But I know this: I have breath in me and I’m willing to take the next step (even if it’s bafflingly filled with economics.)

Hitting the classroom again is a promise to myself that I can still do hard things. I need to keep taking that next step forward even if I don’t know where it will lead. It this is me letting myself dream a little bigger for my life, and choosing to rock the path I’m on with everything in me, despite the questions that accompany me every step of the way.

And oh, do I have questions.

Am I doing the right thing?
Is this a fool’s errand?
What exactly am I trying to accomplish?
Is it worth giving up the things I know I’ll have to set aside the next two years?
Is it worth it even if I get to the end, as I did with my undergraduate degree, and say to myself “what was THAT all about?”

(Note to my 17-year-old self: piano performance was not the most practical degree option.)

I worry I’m choosing ambition over creativity. I wonder whether entering business school is a cop-out when I could be doing something just a tiny bit more noble, trying to save the world for instance.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be on some sort of guaranteed path, something neon-lit, with promises that all will be well if I just head down this specific trail? Wouldn’t it be comforting to have a guarantee of meaning and value, to know that questioning and the tentative steps forward will add up to something more than what I can see today?

Shhh, questions. Shhh.

Shhhh, self-doubt.

Take a breath. Chill.

It is well and it is good. I am well. I am good.

I don’t need to create an outcome. I don’t need a guarantee of success. All I need to do is take that next wobbly step forward. It’s time to leap out in faith that something, Someone, will catch the fall. Here’s to the great unknown.