The Master

I’ve decided to take a step back and complete a Master’s rather than a PhD. This is something I thought about long and hard, and really took time to come to the decision. My chronic illness is a factor in that decision, but the biggest factor was writing.

I want my time back so that I can write. A Master’s is really all I need; it’ll open the doors to the types of jobs I want. A PhD isn’t necessarily all that helpful, considering I don’t want to go into academia.

Getting away from writing as much because of grad school made me realize that I was using grad school as an excuse to put writing aside. Not because I don’t enjoy it, but because I have this unfortunate aversion to success – anything good happening triggers my anxiety, and that’s one trigger I’ve never learned how to turn off. Success in any area makes me feel like fate is going to bitch-slap me with some sort of failure to keep balance in the force. Success also means that people have expectations of you, and I don’t much care for that, either.

What a weird place to be, and how different from a lot of writers – while most of them dread rejection, I dread the idea that I could actually be successful. Failure wouldn’t bother me, because the act of writing is so cathartic that I’m happy doing it for the sake of doing it – which is yet another reason why I often fail to submit anything.

This all came together this summer, when I had no classes for three solid months. It made me realize that I do actually want to focus on the writing, and that the PhD thing isn’t that important.

So I’m going to wrap up this Master’s, and see where I’m at career-wise at that point. I have no 5 or 10 year plan; I just sort of go where life takes me. I’ve always been that way with jobs, though I suppose I should start to focus myself a little bit more. I’m in that mid-career stage and now is the time to start cultivating the skills that will get me into an even higher pay grade.

But the writing needs to happen, and I’m pushing myself to submit something within the next year.


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