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Backing Yourself Into A Corner

I’m going back to school this year.  It’s happening.

This is merely my official announcement; I half-baked the idea a few months back, and surprised myself a little by declaring it far and wide over the past few weeks.  You see, declaration is the utmost form of social and personal commitment.  With business school merely a musing in my head, I could easily pass it over and move on with nary a thought to what so doing said about me: laziness, fear of failure, making a public fool of myself… etc. etc.  No one would know I’d even considered it, and therefore no one would think me any weaker-willed for not pursuing it.

To avoid just such an easy-out, I went and told a bunch of people.  Friends, coworkers, family members, random acquaintances (just to hear how it sounded and perfect my abstract on the idea).  Now it’s a Thing.  And like I said, I was a little shocked when I started doing this; it wasn’t necessarily my intention.

First, I think I told someone at work, just because they’re the people I see the most, and you run out of funny ways to say you hate the customers.  I was trying to insist that I wasn’t stuck there, accidentally progressing in a job and company and industry I never intended.  Saying you apply to jobs and are going on interviews is extremely nebulous; everyone says they’re doing that shit, and maybe they are, but the varying degrees span a wide breadth, and you might be doing one a month or blitzing out dozens a night (and the sad part is, I’m not sure which seems better.)  But saying you’re going back to school is a solid and finite undertaking.  You WILL be taking a big important standardized test and you WILL be completing a lengthy (and expensive!) application and (if all goes according to plan) you WILL be attending a number of classes, completing assignments, and coming out with (another!) degree.  It’s very prestigious, if only conversationally.

Once I’d told the first person and gotten that twinkle in the eye, that positive reinforcement that it sounded like a good idea, and fairly well-thought-out, I steamrolled the news.  I told everyone.  Casually mentioned it at Christmas.  Asserted it during conversations of New Year’s Resolutions.  Blogged about it!  I gave myself no choice.

I got this brilliant idea about how to put the necessary pressure on myself – through osmosis – from a story about my sister’s friend Ryan.  Ryan has long been sporting increasingly Fabio-esque locks, to many people’s confusion and possible chagrin.  However, being a male, his lovely coif has seen no chemicals or damage, making it perfect for Locks of Love.  Ryan apparently planted this seed in conversation a while ago, with that insidious epithet that he “might” do it.  Now, my sister tells me, “he’s told a bunch of people, so he figures he has to do it.”  Only in hindsight do I see that I subconsciously did the same thing to myself.

The pressure has been good, and important to my growth/development/drive/self-improvement/motivation….  I still wonder if this is a horrible idea, yet another degree and student loan that will leave me exactly where I am.  The part of the planning still to do is sussing that out.  But I’ve learned that my company will reimburse me, and that Rutgers has a part-time program I can attend while living at home and working; my boss has informally sanctioned the idea.  I’ve jotted down application and test deadlines in my planner, and today I bought a GMAT prep book (guys, those things are like $40; I’m not playing around.)  Just looking at the prep book scared the bejeezus out of me; a few years out of school is really like a lifetime, and I admit I never owned a test-prep book before (umm, it’s called scholastic APTITUDE, look it up.)

The whole thing is daunting and intimidating, but I feel ready.  The hard work part is the least of my worries; I’ll study until my eyes water and sleep when I’m dead.  (That’s totally an endorsement for working a few years before going back to school; schoolwork, once hellish, starts to seem like a treat compared to your everyday drudge.)  What’s scary is making it happen.  Can I even get in?  If I don’t, we’ll all agree to pretend this never happened, I’m sure.  Until then, look for me to continue yakking about it, and do try to humor me: after all, the one I’m really trying to convince is myself.

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One comment on “Backing Yourself Into A Corner

  1. I just bought a GRE prep book. Price was through the roof. My ‘aptitude’ better be equivalently amplified.

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