The title’s for all you “Grease”♫♪ fans out there. Although, in terms of my life, the lyric should change to “Grad School Drop Out”. That’s right readers, you heard it here, I have decided to withdraw from graduate school and pursue other options.
It may seem sudden (which I guess after 2 weeks of class it is!) so let me explain.
At first I was really nervous, like, why am I even thinking about leaving, why do I wake up dreading class, how can I be so unenthused about practicum or internships/and starting to practice the applied work? I should be excited and ready for all of this, it’s the program I signed up!
Well, looking back I think I rushed into grad school a bit. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do with my BA in Psych and I had always been interested in Marriage & Family Therapy (MFT) and at the time it seemed like a really great opportunity, the degree opens you up to a variety of clients and therapy techniques. MTF is the *only* program that requires (before you get licensure) training in providing therapy to a few people or even a group, besides just individuals. It seems marketable and I thought I’d been done in 2 years, applying for licensure, and off to get my first Big Girl Job. Sadly, that its not exactly how it goes, and instead of go into all the details lets just say that before you can be an independent MFT, you have to go to school for 2 or 3 years, do 300+ hours of practicum, thesis/oral defense, then graduate, then apply for national licensure, pass the test, become an LAMFT (licensed associate MFT), then do another 2 yrs/4000+ hrs of supervised therapy, then maybe go to become a licensed MFT. In addition, even after you are an MFT, you might still not be working in the area you want (ie: I am more interested in Family Therapy or working with couples, not so much the mental health/assisted living/mentally challenged group homes, which apparently is where most people end up…).
So, in addition to that discouragement, I came to the realize that I am burned out after completing my undergrad. I am tired of going to class, writing papers, regurgitating facts for a test, power points presentations, etc. I think after being in the honors program, completing a thesis last year, and seeing everyone in my classes prepping for grad school that I got swept along for the ride. With being a good student, grad school is sort of a track that gets “pushed” on you a bit. And don’t get me wrong, grad school is a great option and there are tons of good reasons to attend, but it’s definitely not for everyone. And even when I was applying for grad schools and doing interviews I was having doubts about the field I was going into. Would I make a good therapist? Was I creative and assertive enough? Would I have a good connection to people? With all of this going on, I was accepted to a few schools and decided to give it a shot. It was a great opportunity. And heck, I thought I could really do it, and it’d be the perfect niche for me.
Yet, it wasn’t til I got here that I realized I just wanted that excited about school. In fact, all my excitement over the summer was about real life finally being here, getting married, moving to the city, and even the possibility of getting an interesting job I might not have found in small town Illinois/Iowa.
So, after much though and consideration, I chose to withdraw from the program. The good news is I was able to cancel my student loan & get reimbursed 100% for 3 courses, 75% for 1 course. After that I’ll only owe a couple hundred$ to the Uni but once my balance is paid – I’ll be a debt free woman. :) So all in all this little venture didn’t cost me very much, but I did gain a lot insight about myself and what I want.
In the end, I just do not feel the same drive and passion that I will need to complete the program and give it my all. And the fact that I do not feel, at this point in my life and current state of mind, that I will truly be able to give myself to the field, and provide people with what they need in a therapist, makes it a better choice to step away.
I wish my heart and motivations where in the right place and as strong as they were when I applied but sadly they are not. And not having the right motivations makes the already challenging experience of grad school seem impossible. I don’t feel that it is right for me to continue on, only to graduate into a field that I do not now think I am a good fit for. I want to look back at obtaining a degree and say that the experience was worth it and that I was able to give back just as much as I put in and really make a difference through my commitment to the program/school/field/clients.
Anyway, after contacting the school, figuring out financial aid, alerting my professors, and officially withdrawing – I actually feel so much lighter. And to everyone, because I know how you people worry, we are fine money wise. Mr.C was going to work and pay everything while I went to school anyway so if I am unemployed for a little bit it will be okay. However I am sending positive vibes out into the land of employment in hopes of falling into something good. I be applying to a few YMCA jobs as well as a theater box office staff position.
And although I felt bad for a little while about dropping out of grad school especially since we moved all the way to Minneapolis just so I could continue my education – I am not feeling bad about it anymore. This is a great city with plenty to explore and new experiences to be had. It’ll have more job opportunities too. And it’s a nice place for Mr.C and I to branch out to and start out our new lives together.
In the end, after all of this, I feel confident with my choice and from this point on, I’ll only be lookin’ forward. Hello world! :)
I’d like to thank those I told before this publicly announcing it. I appreciate your understanding, encouragement, and support. One person’s response really stood out for me, she said, “It’s admirable that you know that much about yourself to know this may not be the direction for you. And it takes a lot of strength to do so. Focus on you, find your passion, do what make you happy. And most of all, enjoy your upcoming wedding!”. Thanks, A., for that. I really appreciate it.
And I’m going to do just that! Live in the moment, really enjoy these last few (3!!) days until the wedding, and savor every second I can during the wedding weekend.
In other news, I am hurrying to finish up last minute wedding projects. The programs are printed and folded. The guestbook needs to be assembled but once it’s done it’ll be awesome – it’s really fun and different – hopefully everyone likes it. I’ve got wedding party photo list to create. To top it off, my mama has been working hard at home to pick and preserve the flowers we’ll be using at the wedding because…. frost is supposed to happen tonight and tomorrow night. Yikes! I’m sure there are a zillion other wedding things I’ve forgotten to do but it’s too late now.
Time to finish up the laundry, do some dishes and cleaning, and prep for heading home tomorrow night. After Mr.C gets off work tomorrow (between 9:30-10:30pm), he will be sleeping in the car, and I will be driving us the long 6 hours home. Arriving early in the a.m. on Friday, we’ll try to catch some z’s before wedding weekend begins! Wish us luck! We can’t wait to see most of you at the celebration.
P.S. enjoy this little gem from early today:
My Facebook status from Wed. 4:03 PM ….. “has been working on laundry for 3 hours now: 3 loads, only two could go in the washer, ran out of quarters, one quarter short for being able to do one more, wet clothes hanging up all over the apt, plus apparently one dryer likes to shut off whenever it wants too so you come down an hour later expecting dry clothes & get a soppywet mess – ahhh…apartment livin’ :)”