Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Finding The Graduate Student Within

One of the thing I have been struggling with is my ability to focus and learn.

Oh, I can do it in a diffuse, sort of non-demanding way.  I can do a little, read a little, think a little - but true progress always seems to elude me.  Part of it, to be fair, is my apparent lack of dedication to what I am trying to accomplish (to quote a wise guy - myself - "You make time for what you want to do).  But to be fair, part of it also feels like I am always fighting to find a little time to set apart to do these things - and not just the things I like to do:  even at my current employment, I find myself struggling to accomplish strategic things in the midst of trying to get the day to day things done.

So I have been thinking:  What could I change?  Is there ever a time that I was continuing to make progress in my life by learning and doing while still existing?

And then the thought came:  Ping!  Graduate School.

I was always rather good at school and studying.  I like the concept of study, test, measure your progress, get recognition (grade, GPA, etc.) and then to apply the knowledge.  Life tends not to work like that after schooling of course:  Learning is mostly OJT (On The Job) where you can fit it in, and the milestones (tests, grades) are almost never present.

And graduate school (for me) was all that and more, in spades.  I worked full time, studied full time, and had classes every MWF (for Japanese) and every evening 11800-2130 for coursework (which, I might add, is not the most conducive to learning when your workday starts at 0600).  But I did it.  And I learned.

Why?  True, there was those milestones - grades and ultimately a degree - that I could shoot for.  But there was also a certain hunger to succeed, to prove to myself that I could do it as well as (for me) the ever present hunger for more knowledge.

The reality is this:  those skills may be atrophied but they are still there.  And the person that did all that - me - is still around as well.  Yes, I may have lost some of that passion and fire but I have made for it (in theory) with wisdom and experience.

I need to find that hungry for knowledge graduate student again.  He is still here, hiding perhaps under  sedimentary layers of defeat and side turns that were not to be expected. I simply need to knock off the dirt and muck, clean him up a bit, and release him in the direction we need to be going.


Rain said...

I go through that from time to time. I know there is an energetic, curious and creative Rain inside of me. If I let "her" sink too far in though, she gets lost. I find it hard to get going sometimes, but once I start, it gets easier and I'm so happy I started. The worst thing for me is regret. I have too many lost years, and I want to enjoy life as much as possible now. It all depends on what makes you happy though. For me, I want to be active and creative. My boyfriend is happy on his computer or watching movies in bed. Do what brings you joy! :)

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

The thing is, I know I have worked and thrived under such conditions in the past. Why do I feel so roadblocked right now.

Regret. Always the killer, and I have plenty of them. For me, I have to consciously set them aside instead of stewing in them or trying to relive the past and somehow make better decisions (which never really works as you cannot go back in time).

Trying to find the balance.

Rain said...

I hate those roadblocks...I've had them, I still have them, especially in the winter, I can't seem to get motivated some days. But just remember, you'll find a balance but we're always going to be works in progress! :)

LindaG said...

Colleges and Universities have changed so much. I could not afford to go, went into the Air Force instead. But if I was graduating now? I'd find a Tech school. I don't like the way most places of 'higher learning' aren't teaching much worth learning any more; or so it seems.

But if it made you happy, then you should definitely go for it. Good luck and God bless. :)

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

It worked at the time Linda. I have occasionally considered going back but frankly, I find I have neither the time, the funding, nor (most important) the determination. I learn and continue to learn, but the formal path of education seems to be one more door that has shut.

LindaG said...

I am reminded of something that I learned when we were still in NC. It doesn't get much advertising, so they may not do it any more. But Good Will gives, or gave, online classes; and I think they were free. It would be a do as you have time thing.
But I understand all your qualifiers. Funding and determination, most certainly.
I hope you all have a blessed weekend!

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Khan Academy is something my kids use, and also free. I will check on Goodwill. Thank you for the suggestion!