This Tuesday I will embark on my second semester at the University of Edinburgh. Between undergraduate and postgraduate I had an 8 year break in the “real world” where I worked in corporate and non-profit worlds. Some choose to go into postgraduate studies immediately after undergraduate studies. At that time in my life, I didn’t feel postgraduate school was necessary for the direction I wanted to take my career, but flash forward years later and I had discovered that the direction my 22-year-old self wanted was not at all what my 30-year-old self wanted. My 22-year-old self had never even visited San Francisco, and now my 30-year-old self can look back on 8 years years in a city that transformed me. I am now ready and going through a new transformation (I’m like a very mundane Dr.Who). Although my life had started to switch gradually over time to a new direction, I recognized that in order to fulfil this metamorphosis, I required more education. So here I am. Back at school to change the course of my life for the better.
My greatest joy in being back at school is the ability to just learn again — something you would have never heard from my 22-year-old self, but it does truly feel like a luxury now. Instead of “office life” where I was being charged with having all of the answers immediately and being pulled in a million directions in a world within which email and video chatting has accelerated the pace of expectancy of those answers, I now spend hours reading about new topics and asking questions about them without concern of judgement of ignorance. Don’t get me wrong — school is extremely hard work, but you spend your time learning about other people’s opinions, learnings, and findings in a topic you care about. You form your own thought and find yourself becoming a burgeoning expert and master…with much to learn yet. You are growing at a rapid pace here at school and balancing the expression of your own thinking while absorbing the lessons from seasoned people in the field. This push-pull is exciting, challenging, and fulfilling. I suppose I am finding a confidence to follow my own path while growing my humility and appreciation for those that have trodden this path before me.
One more semester and a dissertation to go before I return to the world of employment. I’ll be ready for it when it arrives and will be happy for the opportunity to apply my education (although I could do without the 8:30am meetings…. no-one wants to see me before a first cup of coffee has kicked in), but for now I am eternally grateful that I was given this opportunity to break, redirect, and grow. I am enjoying this transformation and hope many more are to come.