Friday, September 7, 2007

Dear Anonymous,

Tonight you said regarding the LSAT:

"Maybe if it's causing you so much stress, it's not the time for you to do it...It sounds like you have a great life already. There will be plenty of time for all of this in the future. Enjoy you life, kid(s) and husband in the meantime! You'll never get this time back....life's too short to fill it with things that aren't worth it. "

I absolutely have a great life. In fact, I truly couldn't ask for more. That is not in question. I suppose the question then is, "Is it worth it to pursue my dream?"

I struggled to finish college. It certainly isn't easy going part time and working full time. That is what I had to do to pay my bills and tuition. It was the road I chose and it was a hard one. I had lots of bumps along the way. I had two surgeries and a husband that went to Iraq. Then, we found out we were pregnant with Sydney. I had the worst morning sickness. I cannot tell you how many people told me over and over again to just quit because it would be easier. "You have a good job and a husband with a college degree. What do you care?" They just didn't get it. I had people telling me, "You'll never finish."

I had members of my family tell me that my desire to finish college was simply driven by "materialistic desires." Right! Didn't you know that I'm rich now that I've graduated? PUHLEASE! Very few people got it then and even less get it now. "You've got a degree. Why continue?" There are many reasons, but the biggest for me are:

-I want to show my children that education is important. I don't want to just TELL them it is important. I want to set the example. What is the saying? "Don't talk about it, be about it."

-If anything were to ever happen to Marc, and I pray it never does, I want to be able to support my family. Could I do it without grad school? ABSOLUTELY! There are many people out there that do so many amazing and incredible things with so much less than I have; however, it would just be easier to set myself up for success. Life without Marc would be hard enough for us.

-On a personal level, I'm full of potential. I feel like I have so much more to learn and accomplish. I have a desire to learn and to teach. I hope that one day I will have a positive impact, not only on my family, but my community. I want to inspire others to set goals and to reach them.

Anonymous, if I gave up on everything that caused me stress, I wouldn't have anything in life. Many people wouldn't. If I always chose the path of least resistance, I wouldn't be here today with my wonderful husband and my beautiful daughter. I wouldn't have finished college and I wouldn't even entertain the idea of grad school. I would have had a very very different life. I won't go into it, but you should trust me. I certainly do not think that everyone should choose my path or make their choices in the same fashion. It is a different cookie for everyone.

I question myself every day. If I didn't, I just wouldn't be me. I don't take the decisions in my life lightly. In fact, just the opposite. The bottom line is that, as long as my conditions can be met (i.e. full time school-home with family at night), I'm going for it. Will it be worth it? If my conditions can be met, I believe it is. Life is about balance. I've been juggling for YEARS! I've gotten so good at it. Why stop now? :) I just hope to get the chance to continue.

WOW! I have to thank you for your comment. It forced me into clarity.

Now, Syd's in bed and I'm off to study.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm feeling very guilty and hoping my comment didn't come across too strongly. I was so surprised to see a post directly aimed towards my comment, but once I re-read my comment I couldn't help but feel like I truly came across like a
b$%&h, and I truly did not mean to. You sound like a very strong person, and I love reading your blog, actually found it after reading Life with Hannah and Lily. I guess I was coming at it from a very personal angle with my comment. I KNOW how difficult law school can be, and I KNOW how short childhood is. Being both a teacher and professor for 10 years before having my own family, I also heard many students in my classtoom lament about how much they missed their parents and that they're never home and when they were they're always busy....it broke my heart. And from that moment on I vowed never to have my children miss time with me becuase I was pursuing "my" thing. For that reason, when my first born came along, all selfish ambition stopped (okay, most selfish) I quit my PhD program for the time being, quit teaching and research and I'm fully their mom. I'm not saying jsut becuase I did it, it's the choice for everyone, but I am saying I've never regretted a moment of it and my PhD program and research is waiting for me when they're older. This is the time I'll never have back. Good luck to you as you go through this...and again I truly apologize for saying anything offensive.
Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Jess T said...

Anonymous-

Thank you for your comments tonight. I can see exactly where you are coming from and why you feel the way you do. I'm not in total disagreement. This is one of the reasons why I stress that I will not go unless my conditions are met. Who knows if I'll even make it in? This really could be a non-issue, for now. :)

I'm grateful for all that I have in my life and all that I have achieved. I know if turned down this year, there is always the next.

I really was serious when I thanked you for your posts. It reminded me: 1) of those that have constantly tried to tell me I couldn't, that I should quit or that pursuing an education is useless (I know not this was not your motive); 2) of my ambition, how hard I've worked and where I want to go; and, after tonight, (3) that there are no time limits on my goals unless I put them there.

Have a great night!

Jess said...

Jess, my mom worked full time, was a single parent and finished her masters degree when Rach and I were very little. Then she completed her PhD while I was in high school and she continued to work full time while she pursued it.

Any you know what? My mom is such a role model for me- perserverance and following a personal dream, setting a goal and seeing it through and doing it while also being an attentive and loving parent is an enormous accomplishment.

Out of every single person I know I think you are one of the few that could achieve anything you want with grace, style, lots of love and care toward your family and without sacrificing your personal life which I know is very important to you. A lot of people couldn't handle it (those are the naysayers) and frankly I don't think *I* could do it myself but I know you can and you will.

I am one of your biggest fans and I will be a very loud cheerleader for you!

Love to you,

Jess

Bonita said...

Isn't it great when a commenter offers something that causes us to gain greater clarity! I certainly like your attitude of wishing to provide an example to your children, as oftentimes they will follow the path of least resistance..."if mom and dad didn't do it, why should I". But I'm picking up on so much energy here, I think your family will be dynamic whatever the parents do, and your children will see that energy and go with it. Good things are ahead...

Jess T said...

Jess and Bonita-

Thank you so much for your sweet words.

Jess, I love you to death. I just wish you were closer. :)

rachd said...

Huh. I was going to say what Jessie did about my mom being a single parent and maintaining a 4.0 GPA in her Master's program while having two toddlers at home. It is possible, don't give up on your dreams!

I wish you all the best as you approach this, Jess, and I KNOW you'll be great! :o)

Anonymous said...

Dear Jess,

I have never posted before, but I wish you good luck with your college pursuits. My feeling is take the LSAT as soon as you can--and remember, if you don't like your score, you can take it again!! It isn't like it is a one shot deal.

My husband left a horrible horrible (but extrememly high paying job) to pursue his dream of social work (yes, social work) in his mid thirties. I am working two jobs full time (that is, two halftime jobs to equal one fulltime job) to support us (my husband and 2 kids--ages 2 and 5 on only 1/3 of what our family income was when he had his horrible job before) and I have to tell you, we have never been happier and stronger as a family. We know we will have tons of student loans when he finishes, and social work isn't exactly a high paying career, but I cannot even begin to tell you the change we have had. I would take being poor and happy over being rich and miserable any day of the week. Plus, he is going to do what HE wants to do with his life when he graduates at age 38.

I would like to someday get a Ph.D., but I know I can do that when I want and it will be later in life (I keep telling my boss I'll start when I am 40--about 5 years from now)--it isn't something I want now, but it is something I want so I understand. Make sure you pursue your dreams--you, your kids, your husband will all be happiest when every single one of you is happy, and if that other college degree will make you happy--GO FOR IT!! You can do it if you want it--and you will be amazed at how much you love it--you will just know.

Good luck!!!

Detroitmama

Ruhiyyih Rose said...

Way to go, Jess T. You would have wondered your whole life if you had not gone for it. I don't like living with those kinds of regrets, either! :) Happy studying!

Anonymous said...

I have to be the nay-sayer and agree with "anonymous" above...I have no doubt you CAN do it, it's the question of "is the sacrifice worth the outcome?" and only you can decide if time spent at school and studying is worth the time missed with family and enjoying life. When you add such a huge commitment, something has to "give" somewhere else in your life and unfortunately it's family.
I don't think pursuing an advanced degree is the (only) way to instill an importance of education in children. I know stories of many women who didn't even have a college degree who went on to have children who were extremely intelligent who greatly knew the importance of education.
Anyway, those are my 2 cents. :)It's an interesting topic to "debate."
You are faced with a crossroads in your life of a really important decision. Best of luck to you as you go through this process. It's not an easy one!
Love your blog!!! Thanks for sharing your life with us all to comment on :)
Have a great week!
Sue in Florida

Anonymous said...

If I can leave one more comment to Sue in Florida, I pose another question--and this is just me thinking for all the other mamas out there in similar situations...

I don't think the question is, "Is the sacrifice worth the outcome,"
but, and I am trying to word this as carefully as possible because I don't want it to come out wrong, but, another question could be, "Will I feel sad, angry, resentful, etc if I don't do this now or don't do this ever?" Does that make sense? I guess the balance has to come with your mind, too. I completely understand not wanting to sacrifice time with family to pursue your dreams, but I also worry sometimes women start feeling resentful of family if they think somehow they felt "held back" from pursuing something they really wanted to do.

So, it depends on who you are. I will always wish for more time with my kids and family, and that is why I am not choosing to do school again right now (which in my case, would be free because of my job--and it is HARD to pass up free school!) .

But I know school and work combined with my husband going to school would be too much, but I do not feel bad about it. There is no nagging feeling in the back of my head that I can do better, have a better degree, etc. right now.

However, I did have that feeling a few years ago, and it was hard enjoying my son as a baby when I kept thinking I could do something more.

I hope I don't sound selfish or weird or out of line...I guess I am trying to look at both sides of the coin and it is all up to what you want now and how you think it will affect you mentally, physically, and emotionally. :)

Peace!

Detroitmama

Jan said...

I have really loved all these comments. I guess my advice (unnecessary for sure!) would be to follow your heart. If the LSAT and law school are for you, your heart will tell you. The rest can be worked out. It really can. Lots of good wishes and prayers coming your way. Keep us posted!