At times I think I fucked up. I certainly fucked up things in my marriage last summer. I'll spend the rest of my life making up for them. But beyond that, I was supposed to provide a certain measure of life for my husband and I and our eventual family. My drive to do well came from him. I thought that if I could do what I was supposed to do and do it well, that it would secure our future and also secure his own opportunities to advance. Not to mention our children's.
I was supposed to go to Yale, Princeton, or Cornell (SFRSHS schools 1, 2, &3). I was supposed to be not only the first person in my family to earn a college degree, but also the first one to earn a PhD, particularly from an Ivy league school. I was supposed to be the one to secure upward mobility. I busted my ass to earn straight A's in college, to get research experience, and to get good GRE scores. I thought I did everything I was supposed to do. Yet I did not get accepted by a single R1 school, let alone the Ivies.
And the most fucked up thing? I wasn't applying to them because of what they were - if that was the case I would've also applied to Stanford and Harvard. I really wanted to apply to Oxford but could not for the life of me make heads or tails of their admissions process. I always dreamed of going to Oxford, moving to England, bringing up children with British accents. Good thing I didn't apply - it would've meant just one more major disappointment.
So now I sit here with a tentative acceptance to an R2, a school that I will visit in just a couple of weeks. My husband is really excited at the prospect of moving there, but I don't know if it's because he thinks a move is inevitable or because he really does want to get out of New England for awhile. Even if we do go, chances are we would have to move again for me to complete a post-doc in order to be competitive in the job market.
But is this what I really want?
I changed my mind when applying to grad school countless times. At first I was just looking for faculty who were researching gender - regardless of whether it was a social, clinical, or counseling program. I removed the clinical programs because I didn't want to add an extra year of internship, and then the counseling programs followed suit. Then I started looking for schools that would allow me to also research psychology and law - something that I thought could give my research a more practical focus.
And that's how I think I fucked up. There are not many psych and law programs in this country. If I had stuck to my interest in gender I would have had a wider pool of programs to apply to. Granted, the rockstars of gender are all retiring and no longer taking grad students, but there were certainly up-and-comings that would have been great to work with.
But it's all irrelevant. It's my turn to sacrifice for my marriage and my family. If my husband really wants to move to R2 city and I don't hate it when I visit, I will go and I will do the best work I possibly can. And if I visit and hate it, then I will stay here, try to find a new job, and become a mom with the possibility of revisiting my doctoral aspirations in the future.
I sat here tonight watching House, and wondering if I should've just gone to medical school. Besides the fact that I don't have the stomach for it, I also can't afford it. But my thoughts have somehow turned from trying to figure out ways to do what I love to figuring out what exactly it is that I love. I used to want to be in the FBI. Now that I'm old enough and have the degree, I hate the idea that I can be moved anywhere in the country that they want to put me. Right now I feel like I just want to make more money than I make right now at a job that's more interesting than the one I have.
I've thought about everything from PR to book editing. I'm tired of struggling to get into my field. It's getting to the point where I'm not sure I really care anymore. Psychology would be much better with me in it, but fuck 'em if they don't want me and don't see that.