I have decided to put off grad school indefinitely. At least, grad school for a doctorate.
"What??? WHY?? WTF is your problem, JLK???"
It's actually quite complex. My first response to this question is that I just don't give a shit anymore. Yeah, psych is still really interesting to me. But all of the bullshit I have to go through just to get to do it? Fuck that. I've got better things to do with my time and energy.
Academia is not like other jobs. Psychology, especially, is incredibly competitive. If you want to, say, become a lawyer, you get an undergrad degree, get into law school, and when you graduate you take the bar and become a lawyer. Same thing with becoming a doctor. Or just about any other job in the world - you study your shit, then you go out and do it. That is not the case with academia and definitely not with any branch of psychology other than clinical.
At some point during my tenure at my MRU, I lost sight of what my initial goal was - to teach in community college where relationships are meaningful, professors have control over the content and schedule of their courses, and where differences can be made. I was so dazzled by the thought of being "important" in my field that I forgot what my entire purpose was - where my loyalty lies.
My desire for a PhD was all about ego. I have always railed against the idea of becoming too specialized, too focused on one or two tiny aspects of a field as a whole. I think this practice, particularly in psychology, is detrimental to the progress of the discipline. But I wanted to be "Dr. JLK."
I was also incredibly selfish. My husband is not an academic, nor will he ever be. I never really thought about what it would mean to drag my husband and eventual children all over the country in pursuit of grad school, post-docs, adjunct positions and hopefully at some point a tenure-track professorship.
Please keep in mind that I am not judging anyone who has made the decision to pursue academia regardless of family status. I'm just not a person who is willing to do it.
Truth be told, if Yale called me up tomorrow and said "We made a huge mistake - we'd like to admit you for this fall" - I would go. But I am not wasting another second of my life trying to prove to some unknown admissions fucknut that I am good enough to slave for them for 5 years. I won't do it. It is utterly masochistic and I don't want to be part of a system that arbitrarily decides who is worthy and who is not.
Being separated from my husband last year combined with his being gone this year for the military has forced me to re-examine my priorities in life. My marriage, my family is more important to me than anything else in the world. I hear these stories about academics who live apart from their spouses, who have to keep 99 balls in the air just to keep their family functioning. Fuck that - it's not for me.
I can spend my life trying to make a difference in my field - trying to be important to strangers and to get my name in future textbooks, OR I can spend my life trying to make a difference in the lives of people I care about. To be an important influence on them - even the ones I haven't met yet.
No one, no matter how much he or she may have loved her job, ever says on their deathbed "I wish I had spent more time at work."
Nope, it's not for me. I won't lose another fucking second of my life to the pursuit of something that is fueled (for me) by ego and a desire for recognition. I have a good job. I have summers off, 5 weeks of paid vacation a year, I work from home, and I have all the freedom I could possibly ask for. Sure, it's boring. But it allows me to have a life outside of my job.
I may go for my master's so that I can teach. I know I'll get into any program I apply to at that level. I'll have my babies and raise them the best I can. And maybe when they're grown up I'll want to go get my PhD.
But I will not waste another second of my twenties trying to get somewhere that I'm not currently wanted. I am not being defeatist, I am not giving up, I am not quitting. I am recognizing that it's just not fucking important. I am nearly positive that continuing on the path I initially set out for myself will result in much more regret in the long-term.
And I have more than enough regret in my life already.