Though I have always liked school, my excitement about it has waxed and waned over the years. I think I liked early elementary school, probably less so as I got older. I hated the great majority of late elementary/junior high, and I despised high school, though high school at least taught me something occaisionally. I adored college. My first year of grad school had it's moments, but mostly felt like mediocre job training.
But things are looking up.
I am only taking two classes this term, and neither one of them seems, so far, to be bullshit. This is a great improvement over my first year. One of them will be challenging. Really challenging. Challenging like Reed. The other will probably just be not so bad, but the not-so-bad will culminate with a final project on subject matter that is interesting to me, so I'm not complaining.
The challenging class, though, has me thinking thoughts I had assumed were behind me for good. Thought about going back to real school after I finish my Baby Beaurocrat masters degree. Thoughts about having those three magical letters after my name that mean I can force people to call me doctor. Thought about classes that would take me back to the way things were at Reed and even help me move beyond that. Thought about reading thick books with colons in their titles and slaving away on a dissertation.
When I pull my head out of the sky, I realize that that stuff comes at a really high cost. Years more of being broke, for the final result (if I'm lucky) of being given a piece of paper that only qualifies me for jobs I don't want and couldn't get it if I did want them, at least not without moving to BFN. Ending up with a career that competes with Mark, with none of Mark's passion for the career. It is just not responsible to get a Ph.D. for the sake of getting a Ph.D. After I finished my bachelors-for-the-sake-of-a-bachelors, I promised I wouldn't do it again. Why do I want to do it again, and on an even larger scale?
And for what? Why can't I be satisifed with reading the books on my own? Is it really necessary to sit through classes and write papers in search of a degree that I don't need? I'm 26 years old. I have a mortgage. I have a family. I am too old to be in it for the journey.