Where Have I Been?
My new What's Next is multipronged, and won't begin immediately. And, truly, I'm still thinking about whether or not I should actually do this.
I'm thinking about going back to school.
Where to begin. Folks, when I was in Portland, I was at Powell's City of Books and realized the one section I pored desperately over was Urban Studies. Not information science or any permutation thereof, not YA literature or even graphic novels. The next morning a serendipitous walk brought me to the door of the College of Urban and Public Affairs at Portland State. A little key started turning in my head - could this be my ticket out of New Jersey?
I feel compelled to add that I don't hate New Jersey in the way I thought I hated Missoula. I'm not rejecting it because it's different, because it's not home, because I can't live the kind of lifestyle here I'm accustomed to. I'm a seasoned relocator now, and I recognize those kinds of judgements. The Shore is the Shore, and although plenty of people love it here, it will never be my home. I've learned a lot from it though, and I've learned a lot at my job, and I'm going to continue learning a lot here because I'm not going to bolt and sign up for classes at PDX next fall, as my flight instinct is telling me to.
No, I think I'm going to stay here a bit longer and make sure this isn't a passing interest. I'm going to think about it, I'm going to investigate my potential career options in Urban and Regional Planning (like I didn't with library and information science).
Here are a few things I'm thinking about.
- The guilt that says, if you're going to do an urban studies degree, you should do it in Cleveland, where you'll be surrounded by the urban problems you're intending on fixing (my rebuttal: I think given its tendency toward being a black hole for young upstarts with dreams - you can argue with me on that if you like - perhaps Cleveland could particularly benefit from skills I might learn elsewhere.)
- Money. Though I'm the kind of person who can be satisfied with a folding chair, an air mattress, and a couple of plates, I've quite gotten used to having a normal income. Plus, I've never had student loan debt and I don't intend on it, and I don't intend on dipping much into my savings to finance this degree. Which means it would take some creative financial planning.
- Do I want to become a perpetual student? Isn't there sort of a pathetic denial about people that just keep going back to school? On the other hand, I have a coworker who did this for 20 years. He has 2 bachelor's degrees and 3 master's degrees. He is also the most well-adjusted, cheerful person I've ever met, and looks about 15 years younger than he actually is. Hmmm. Maybe I'll have what he's having.
- Do I really need a degree in Urban and Regional Planning to be part of the solution in Cleveland, or is this just an excuse to reject adulthood, which I still want no part of?
- Stay at Ocean County Library for a while longer.
- Live in New York.
- Go back to school in Portland.
So although I've already heard some surprising responses from those closest to me (including my dad somewhat wistfully yearning for his perpetual student days - I thought for sure he'd be the first person to talk me out of this), and although most of you out there have never actually met me, what do you guys think?