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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Investment versus Return

When I decided to transfer from Tabor College in Hillsboro, KS to Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, CA and my dad saw the cost difference, he simply said to me, "I'll gladly pay for any education you want to pursue, but with costs that high you have to ask yourself if the investment will be worth the return."

He wanted me to consider what type of job I would pursue after school and if I would be able to make enough money to essentially pay for my education (not that I would be literally paying it off, because my father blessed me by paying for it, but I got the idea). Of course it would! So off to APU I went.

Upon graduation I didn't know where to go or what to do. I took a trip to China, but ultimately stayed in Azusa where finding work was quite a challenge. I ended up working at a very fun little art gallery and then 10 months later went to Buenos Aires, Argentina to study Spanish for 2 months. I got back, got engaged, got married, and started the Public Administration masters program through Walden University online. I had wanted to pursue creative writing through Fresno State, but didn't make the cut-off for applying. Two very different majors, huh?

I've learned in life that I am very impulsive. This didn't dawn on me until last year when I impulsively cut bangs without even looking in the mirror. I don't mean that I trimmed already existing bangs, I mean I grabbed the long shoulder length hair in the front of my head and hacked across them with kitchen shears. It was so incredibly impulsive. As I tried to repair the 'flaws' in my hack job it dawned on me just how ridiculously impulsive I was.

Why did I choose public administration? Well, because I like to lead and to organize. However, what I really knew nothing about before starting this course was anything about politics and/or the economy. Not really anyway. I have enjoyed the classes because they are intellectual and I am learning a lot and I enjoy to learn, but I become afraid about what I will do with this masters I am working towards. Then not to mention I go and get pregnant and have a baby right about the half way point of the whole program. I don't regret having our precious bundle for one single second, but it does make completing school work a little more daunting and undesirable. I mean, who wants to sit down and focus on text books and politics when they could be holding their 4 week old baby? Exactly.

I would really like to teach at a Junior College just one or two nights a week once I finish my masters. Yet, while I would LOVE to do this, I can't help but think how inadequate I would be to teach on the subject of Public Administration. I mean, I am barely just learning. Now, communication studies (my BA degree), that is an area I feel more fit to discuss. Can you teach at a JuCo in the study area of your BA or does it have to be your MA focus? Goodness I don't know. I just know one thing I have always known: Once I started having children I knew I would be torn between always wanting to be home with them and wanting to work.

Obviously I would choose my kids over work in a heart beat. At the same time, however, I remember the investment, not just financially, but physical and mental energy over 6 years, that I have made. When I consider the countless hours of studying, writing, and stressing out, I want to reap some benefits or rewards from all that hard work. Once again, I don't just mean financially, I just mean I want to put to use the things I have learned. Teaching at a JuCo is the most desirable to me, because it means I could be at home during the day with my kids and Lee could be with them when I worked one or two nights a week and they wouldn't have to go to a baby-sitter or day care.

And as I finish up this current quarter--desperately--I am thinking on these such things. School has been so overwhelming that it is hard to imagine starting back up again in December after taking a quarter off and not finishing until September. Do I have it in me? I guess so.

Just two final papers to start and finish by Sunday, and then one more week of small papers and I will be done with this quarter. Maybe after taking 12 weeks off I will have more motivation once again and not be so overwhelmed. I hope so.

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