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Friday, September 27, 2013

Well, That's That

It's a heavy heart kind of day.

I withdrew.

I withdrew from graduate school. That 22-year dream.

If I may quote True Grit, "Aaahh, that di'n't pan out."

I can't do the distance learning program. I can't do school alone. I wanted the degree, yes. I wanted the possibility of the doors it might open for me to teach one day at high school or college or institute level. But even more than the Master's degree, I wanted the education. The full-bodied, robust education. And I can't get that with distance learning.

It was too isolated. Too isolating. Really, it worked like a very expensive recommended reading list. For a little over $500 per credit hour, someone will tell you what you ought to read. That someone will tell you when you ought to read it by. And that someone will give you a few questions to try to answer from your independent reading. No discussion first, neither in any type of grouping nor individually with the list maker. Post your responses on a forum where the leader or classmates CAN, but do not have to read them. Expect no replies or comments.

I had no idea whether I was building a firm foundation or not. I had no idea whether I was getting the material or not. I was just pushing forward in the few moments of the day that I had to work on it, trying to squeeze some usable content from a massive black wall of pages and text, and feeling the panic of the deadlines for posting those possibly-never-even-read answers to the questions always bearing down on me.

And that's not me. That's not how I learn. So I realized that I'm just miserable in this, and that it is terribly expensive, and there are costs upon us from every direction already. It would be detrimental to keep on.

I've always said, to myself, to my young adult friends trying to find their way in this world: If it is a calling, God will open the doors for you. But if it is just an interest, he won't.

I might need to apologize to those young friends now for how succinctly and confidently I usually made that statement. Sometimes, God opens doors and then closes them again. Sometimes, the signs seem so confusing.

I never felt so affirmed in anything as when I visited the campus and sat in on three classes and met professors and students and administrators last fall. But that was on site. That was in class. That was with bodies, and eye contact, and voices, and hand shakes, and dry-erase markers active on white boards with circles and arrows and really badly drawn maps. Not paper and letters and cold computer screens and unreturned emails and unacknowledged forum posts.

Today was the cutoff for withdrawing and having any tuition returned. I'll get 20% back. It will buy each girl one modest Christmas gift. It seems appropriate to pass it to them that way. I feel a deep, heart-need to spend that with great wisdom, so they each get something they'll cherish, because the cost to me, right now, is more than financial.

It's another letting go. Another dream relinquished.

I'm becoming nothing but an open palm.

Tell me there's good in it. Help me to see.


Stefan Ramirez said...

Nor can I dear Lady.. I am tactile, I am people oriented, I need a class room and a person teaching me to master a skill. Its in our wiring... It isd a strength in my opinion. Sometimes convenience isn't the best, modern technology or not...:-)

--Rebecca said...

For all the technology we do have at our fingertips, it's still nothing without humanity and time and commitment and investment and interaction applied to it, is it?

It's like speaking with the tongues of men and of angels. That has a great capacity to do much, but without love, it is nothing.

And so it is with technology. Without that human element, for which it really exists anyway, it is nothing.

Carolynn Markey said...

Oh I'm so sorry! I'm glad you are so honest with yourself.

--Rebecca said...

Thank you, Carolynn.

I hope you still get to achieve all your dreams.