Wednesday, June 10, 2009

"The Road Not Taken"

The poem by Robert Frost touched me from a very young age, seventh grade or so. It is the only poem I have ever committed to memory, and I still say it in my head from time to time, just to be sure it's still there. I have found, over the course of my life, that it continues to be relevant. Each choice, whether big or small, leaves something behind. There is always a road not taken. The road under discussion today is a big one: my college degree.

I have piddled around with college since the summer after high school. I have quit and gone back more times than I can count. I have changed my major at least three times. And I still don't really know what I want to do when I grow up. So I'm going to walk away.

I realize that I could change my mind somewhere in the future, and maybe I will. But what I've decided is this: for now, college is off the table. I know that I *could* do it. That has never been in question. But it would require a great deal of work and preparation. At best I would finish in about three years, but five years is more likely. And I'm not talking about five years of fall/spring classes with summers off; I'm talking five years of head-down, in-the-books studying. And, to be honest, there is a lot I would miss in those five years.

I want very much to travel, and there would be no time or money for that. Realistically, not even for weekend trips within Texas. It would be hard to work and be a student at the same time; I know many people do it successfully, but I just don't have the discipline for it. And if I try to work AND study AND maintain some type of good relationship with my fiance...well...I just don't see how that can work.

I've spent the last 15 years saying I would finish eventually. I'm not going to do that anymore. It just puts pressure on me where there doesn't need to be. The fact is that *if* I eventually finish my degree, I will be doing so for me, not to establish or better my career. The truth is, I don't really WANT a career. I enjoy having a skill set that allows me to work in different fields and learn new things every few years. If I spend the time/effort/money to get a degree, won't I feel forced to work in that field the rest of my life?

So. School is no longer under discussion. And we'll see if this road not taken makes a difference.

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