February 1, 2011

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda

This Thursday, I have a meeting with the graduate studies coordinator of a program I am considering. Yup! So that's the first news; I'm considering grad school.

Grad school was never on my radar before, but now, when I work at a university and get tuition benefits from said university, grad school is on my radar. I mean, come on, how could I pass up those benefits, right? So many people have told me that this is the 'right thing to do'. I told my mom I had this meeting and she ecstatic! Because 1) shes proud of me for being awesome (aw, thanks, mom!) and 2) that means I wouldn't be moving away in the next 2 years.

See, if I don't do grad school, we want to move. To mountains. Where we can ski in powder and have all sorts of adventures that just don't happen in flat, flat Minnesota. Also, because new places are fun and I want to go to there.

Or at least we've talked lots about moving. We are very indecisive and have no idea what to do with our lives. Move? Stay here and continue with our awesome jobs? Go to grad school? Buy a house?

One person oh so helpfully told me to make a pro/con list to decide what to do. Because obviously one side will clearly out weight the other? I don't think so. I made the pro con list and it looked something like this.

Moving West: Pro list
- mountains! (aka skiing opportunities so I can finally learn to ski powder/bumps/anything other than ice)
- won't be wishing, ten years down the road, that we had
- life experiences with new places and new people

Staying: Pro List

- we have jobs and health insurance
- could go to grad school
- security
- "there's always vacation"

In other words... moving west is what we WANT to do while staying and being adults is what we SHOULD do. Bah humbug!

Here is something that surprised me today, though. I was out to breakfast with some co-workers I had at a past University job. They are older, have been very successful in their careers, and are generally awesome. I completely respect their opinions and was hoping to get some advice with this dilemma from them. I told them I had this meeting with the grad school but was unsure what we wanted to do. They both, without missing a beat, said go for the wants and the fun. They sited my young age and told me how they had both done lots of fun things in their twenties but both wished they had really taken that leap and went for what they wanted.

Not what I was expecting, but hearing them say it made me feel excited. It made that little part of me say, "Yes! Exactly! Listen to them!" And now I think we should. I want to take that leap and not do the grown up thing and do the fun thing. The thing that may or may not be the best career choice but will probably be the best life choice.

So. Anyone got some cool communications and natural resource positions they want to give us out on the west coast?


  1. Two things: 1) Whenever times are tough, I want to move West. I my imagination, though, I move to the desert. Because I want to be like Georgia O'Keefe.

    2) I have a post-grad degree that I am not using and don't intend to use in the immediate future. Sometimes I hate it. "Why do you make me so overqualified, post-graduate degree, you?" Sometimes I feel smug about it. Like when I fill out surveys and they ask me about my level of education. "Smug" is some variation on "proud." What I guess I'm saying is, education is great, and subsidized education is even better.

  2. Education is great - especially the subsidized kind. But I also have the post-grad degree that makes me feel bad ass when admitting to it, but never use and don't need for any of my real life duties (though the level of commitment, time management skills and the research/writing skills etc you get from any program are only a true benefit)

    I can totally relate though since we just opted for the "holy crap we're moving across the country" choice. Moving west was definitely something we wanted - the fun. But we kept thinking maybe in a few years, then the opportunity really fell into our laps out of nowhere and a lot of people said what your mature wise co-workers said "do it". Granted, I think we are walking into good professional opportunities on TOP of being near the sea, mountains and all other good outdoorsy CA activities but what it came down to really? We don't own a house, we don't have kids, I think I'd be more terrified to up and try to re-root our lives when I'm closer to 40 and only more settled where we are...so we're doing it.

    At least for a little. As we keep saying - this is just the next adventure. And we can always move again or come back ....

    good luck in the deciding - I know how anxiety ridden it can be!!

  3. I need my post-grad degree to get the kinds of jobs I want, so while it was expensive and hard, it was worth it. I feel like going into debt to get a degree you aren't positive you need is a bad deal. But subsidized education is hard to turn down.

    But something inside me wants to tell you to move west. That sounds adventurous and fun.

  4. Okay, so here are my two cents (because you didn't actually ask).

    I moved away from my family for grand adventures before I had kids. Seemed like a good idea at the time. Then I found myself pregnant, working crazy hours, with no support system. I'm not saying it's never a good idea to move, but it's definitely something I regret. I wish I'd kept moving west for vacations and stuck a little closer to home.

  5. Thanks for the input, ladies! (even if I didn't ask, Sarah!) I read tons of wedding advice without really letting it sink into my head. Now, I'm really trying to take note of good advice when I'm lucky to receive it.

  6. I am in for my grad degree, because I want to. But I took several years to figure that out and was happy there. :)

    I'm from Montana and have plenty of friends all over the West. I want to live in Portland, actually!

  7. hooray! another higher ed worker! congrats on looking into grad school (my particular workplace got rid of continuing ed so going back to school involves lots of paperwork and tuition remission, etc etc blah blah blah). I am going to join the group and say go for fun too! I love how you called it the best life choice, I think that really says it all