Self Worth

Grad school: it has taught me how I measure up.

Grad school: it has taught me how I measure up.

Admittedly, it was my schadenfreude that inspired me to click on the article entitled: Ivy League Schools Are Overrated because I applied to an Ivy League school back in high school and I didn’t get in. Not that I deserved to, based upon the metrics that they laid out as part of the admissions process-  it didn’t matter how many generations of legacy I might have been or how much “spark” my personality had or how many extra-curriculars that I did my grades were nowhere near good enough to even put my application on the table.

They wanted perfection and could choose from the best: why would they choose me? I’m not even sure that the admissions people made the wrong choice, although I still do find it a tiny bit satisfying to see someone else point out that the system is completely out of proportion.

The idea that higher education is supposed to teach students how to think isn’t new to me, although I’m coming to see it through new eyes since coming back to graduate school. It was interesting the idea that one might have to learn how to have a soul: or, at least, learned how to articulate the soul that they have.The assumption that a soul is given, unearned, I think prevents us from considering the possibility that we might need to learn basic care-and-feeding procedures for having one.

Many of the things I’ve learned about myself in the course of going back to grad school are care-of-the-soul things. Working too many hours without rest isn’t good for the soul. Too much stress for too long with no relief isn’t good for the soul. Refusing help isn’t good for the soul. Bad nutrition isn’t good for the soul. Complaining and excuses aren’t good for the soul.

But how many hours is too many? And how much stress is too much? And when do I need to ask for help and what do I do when I ask and don’t get it? These were all things I had to learn and re-learn through many trials and many errors. And OH MY am I still learning them. I hold myself to high standards but I’m not a perfectionist. Maybe that was my failing when it came to applying to an Ivy League school and maybe that was my saving grace that allowed me to experiment and make mistakes so that I could learn how to find solutions.

At any rate, I like to think that the very extreme amount of money that I’m pouring into this tuition will provide a good Return on Investment when it comes to finding work in the real world when I graduate in May, but in the meantime it is an investment in myself that is already paying dividends.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on December 28, 2015.

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