I Withdrew from Grad School

When I first met the Masters in Teaching cohort that I would be joining at USC that fall, a lingering hesitation materialized before me – one of these things doesn’t belong.

It was me.

I had fooled myself into believing that being thrust into the situation would enable me to fully capitulate it. After all, I had given hundreds of dollars and countless hours to the application process, and I was admitted into one of the top graduate programs for education in the country.

But as I sat amongst my colleagues that day, I was in for a rude awakening.

“I don’t really care about the pay,” Violeta, a multiple subject candidate, said. “I just can’t wait to have my own classroom and do this for the rest of my life.”

That sentiment did not resonate with me.

I took some time to reflect on how I had gotten to this path. For the past two months, I unplugged from social media, chose to be around supportive and motivating people, and wholly delved into personal exercises to reaffirm my grit.

I read.

I wrote extraneous lists.

  • Simple Pleasures of Life
  • What I Like to Eat
  • What I’m Thankful For
  • Pros and Cons of Living at Home
  • Pros and Cons of Dropping Out of School
  • What I Like to Do at Work
  • What I Don’t Like to Do at Work
  • Pug Names

And most importantly, I allowed myself to do nothing.

If you had read my prior post, “Six Months, Six Lessons,” you should now come to the understanding that I had no idea what the crap I was talking about (who’s to say I do now?). I believed that teaching was my calling, but I couldn’t match my level of enthusiasm or passion to my USC classmates. I felt constricted in creativity. I dreaded the restraints of red tape in bureaucratic work.

And while withdrawing from school temporarily felt like taking one step backwards, I was able to see myself through a different lens. Every decision that you make in life leads you into the next one. If had not given my best effort to this whole “grad school” thing, even for how short-lived it was, I would not be where I am today.

In the free time that was to follow, I crafted and executed my final lesson plan:

Uncertainty is Certainly OK.

I see a cycle now – thought I had it all figured out, then not, figured out, not again. The pressure on my shoulders was self-imposed, and it’s time I lift the burden.

What a relief it has been, for it has clarified what I value most.

Going forward, it’ll be fun exploring my work persona and trying new exciting projects to get closer to my future career. In creating one of the lists I mentioned above, I’ve discovered something worth pursuing. A little secret project of mine for now…

Stay tuned! I’ll share with you all soon.

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