On Graduate School

If I were asked to rate my happiness in graduate school in a scale of 1-10, I probably won’t be able to answer it.

And it pains me to say this (maybe because I have too much pride in my work/education) but I’m not exactly happy with graduate school. Not because I can’t handle it (okay, partly because of this, perhaps) because as far as political economy goes, it isn’t a stretch for me to adjust to concepts in my program — four years in the Department of Social Sciences didn’t fail me altogether, to say the least — but I think the problem here lies with motivation.

Motivation plays a big part for me. I am (unfortunately) not the type of person to last well and long if immersed in something I don’t feel like doing. Yeah, cliche as it may sound, but it’s true. And so far in graduate school, I feel like I chose the wrong program. I rely heavily not mainly on how and what I’m going to do, rather isn’t it more important to ask yourself why you would want to do it before everything else?

So I came along the curb after 2 months in the program; 2 months of constantly waiting for the adjustment phase to ebb. Because maybe, hey, this is all a little too overwhelming for me; maybe I just haven’t been able to come to terms with myself being 100% comfortable with the entire system yet. I can’t blame it on the night classes because I’ve had heaps of those in undergrad, but the travel time and the office time and — time, time, TIME is of the essence. And I feel like I’ve been wasting a lot of time slaving myself away for this degree that I am so unsure of.

Case in point, I’ve been asking myself what I want to do after getting this degree, and every single time i come up with nothing. Seriously nothing. Against my own will, I am always so blank. I try to find ways to connect my interests with what I’m currently studying but if that isn’t enough to drive me nuts, then wow. In a more linear way of assessment, I don’t see myself being a foreign liaison officer, which is the most common path International Studies graduates venture on. But myself? For some reason, I can’t picture myself anywhere else with this degree other than being in the academe, and don’t get me wrong, I want to teach but it’s not exactly the ultimate path as to why I decided to get a master’s degree in the first place; it isn’t something that I want to do right after studying, and I don’t even know what I want to do after studying.

I come home from school at 10 o’clock in the evening, twice a week, exhausted all the time that I literally only come home to sleep at night and bathe then change for work in the morning. It sounds like a bunch of lame excuses in order for me to convince myself that I don’t want to do this anymore, but it’s working. And at most parts, I tell myself two things: 1) you can’t get through things if you don’t sacrifice anything, and 2) you can sacrifice things but you’ve got to get it in your head that you can’t abuse yourself in the process.

This is all very difficult for me right now. The easiest way out of this situation is to drop my studies and continue working, save up until I have enough money to get into art/film school. Which means I’m going to have to invest patience in this as well, I really have to. The high road is one where I continue on with this, not give up and give it my all, but that’s so much easier said than done at this point in time.

Why do I complicate things for myself? Why am I pursuing a degree that I initially thought was good for me but ended up being so… bland for my tastes? (Personally, I wouldn’t want to bury myself in a pile of political readings. Pretty sure there are more ways to learn than to just read.) I don’t know, it just doesn’t ring something in me that tells me I should go through it and just graduate as soon as possible because in hindsight, if I get my degree on this I might look back and say, “I could’ve devoted that time just working a job I like, traveling to places and saving up until I get myself in an industry I actually like.”

So this is me sighing, asking myself once again: what do I really want to do?

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