Just a brief thought from the Department of Doubting Oneself:
WHAT ON EARTH MAKES ME THINK THAT I CAN GET A Ph.D IN ANYTHING? Am I on drugs? Do you know how long that will take, and how much work it is? Not to mention that they don’t just hand out Ph.Ds willy nilly, like candy. They are for smart people; not people who occasionally still listen to hair metal and have an abiding appreciation for reality television. There’s a difference between authentically being smart and simply having a head full of useless facts. That can only take one so far. The final round of Jeopardy, maybe. The halls of academia? Archaeological dig sites? Doubtful. The idea that I could ever become an expert on anything (except, maybe, The Beatles) is ludicrous. I, advising people what to make of ancient artifacts? It’s a laugh. That’s the sort of job for a grownup; someone who actually knows what s/he is talking about. I can’t even remember to put the trash out at the curb half the time. How am I going to cram all those facts into my head AND get them to stick AND figure out how to apply them to actual situations?
Besides all this there is then the question of whether all this education will actually be used for something. Really, is some university going to offer a position to a by-then-40-something greenhorn? If one does it is going to require a move, possibly one of a considerable distance. There is certainly no use for an archaeologist in Dinkytown, Oklahoma. Do I really want to uproot the family? Will the family even agree to be uprooted? I told R. that I’d be open to moving for a job if I really ever do graduate but I am not sure he took me seriously. Do I really want to embark on a career path that may turn out to be utterly useless? I know that education is good for you whether or not you actually use it in terms of career, but couldn’t the argument also be made that it’s selfish of me to take 8(?) years’ worth of time away from my family and incur quite a lot of expense just for a lark? I could stay home and read my Archaeology magazine subscription if all I’m looking to do is entertain myself.
So. Anyone who thinks that this freak-out has been brought to you courtesy of the fact that I now have a date set to take the ACT test, raise your hand.
Edited to add: For those who aren’t clear on the situation, I am starting from square one with this whole education thing. I have not been to college a day in my life. I think if I’d at least started and had a couple years under my belt it wouldn’t seem so daunting but I am looking at going from being a high school graduate who never even took an admission test to becoming a PhD. Starting at age 36. It is looking like a LONG haul from where I’m standing.