Monday, August 24, 2015

The fork in the road

I should apologize for using an overused cliche in the post title but I'm not going to. I haven't heard this cliche in ages and works nearly perfectly for this post. 

Life is a road filled with twists and turns as well as numerous hurdles. Life is never filled with only good or bad things even if it seems like it may be. And to make life even more exciting, there is always at least one fork in the road we all encounter. I think I've reached another fork in the road. As I reflect and scrutinize it, everything becomes murkier rather than clearer. 

When I was an undergraduate student a professor asked our class what our ambitions were for in the industry. When it was time for me to share, I confidently said I wanted to gain professional experience prior to teaching public relations in higher education. I wanted to have the same impact on others as the impact my professors had on me. For the professional experience, I was determined to be part of a communications staff for a university. After an internship though, I knew I would be just as happy at a marketing communications agency, if not happier. 

Upon graduation, I enrolled in graduate school. I learned quite a bit in undergrad but I learned so much more in graduate school. The focus on strategy, research, planning and so much more was pure heaven for me. I dreaded graduation because graduate school had become my happy place. I was learning so much book wise but I was also finally starting to learn who I was and accepting that rather than focusing so much on trying to fit in and be accepted. 

Upon graduation off I went to the real world with more ups and downs one could ever imagine. Here and there I toyed with the idea of applying to be an adjunct professor but never took the jump. What was holding me back from being confident to make the jump was I had no experience. I now regret not seeking out a TA position while in graduate school. 

Flash forward to the spring when I returned to the University for my sister's graduation from graduate school. I made time to swing by the CoJMC to say hello to my former professors. It was exciting to see them and catch up with them. I didn't get to see everyone but I saw the three who had the most influence on me. During separate conversations with all three of them they each mentioned how I should return to the University and be an adjunct professor. Two mentioned how I should enroll elsewhere and earn my Ph.D. and then return to the University. I'm not sure if it was just lip service from them but I choose to believe it wasn't. Hearing them all say those things meant the world to me and made me think maybe I'm not a failure and I do have potential. I didn't have much time to absorb and think about what they said in deep thought because shortly later it was time to celebrate my sister's accomplishment. 

This past week while chatting with my parents they mentioned how the local college students were back. I chimed in with how the University had the campus involvement street fair that evening and how I wish I was still a student. They immediately responded I should consider going after my Ph.D. 

And now I'm at a fork in the road. Do I continue to on my current path which feels like it is just going in circles with no advancements? Do I seek out an adjunct position somewhere (a friend mentioned some are online which could be a great way to start)? Do I begin to look at Ph.D. programs for marketing communications? What to do? A part of me feels like I have direction but the other part of me feels completely lost. If anyone knows what the future holds, feel free to let me know. 

1 comment:

  1. The future lies in what makes you happy. A lot of crap gets churned up along the way, and sometimes we change our minds, but when a couple more decades go by, you'll find that what makes you happy is still the best place to focus. Good luck with the soul-searching.

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