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To Grad or Not to Grad

December 13, 2006

I’ve been done with school now for almost a week and I’ve been enjoying the life without school, even with the crazyness of the holidays.  That last week was particularily intense (not because finals week usually is.  It actually is usually one of the easier weeks for me because all of the performance classes have already finished up and don’t have finals.) because I have been making some life decisions about school and what I want out of it.

As many of you know, the last term, or more has been difficult for me at times.  I have gone back and forth about whether or not grad school was really the best choice and if it was going to reap the return I expected.  Actually, not really reap returns I expect, but reap returns equal to the blood, sweat and tears (especially tears) I was putting into it.  I am still undecided about the benefits, but overall I know I need a break.  So that’s what I’m going to do, take a break from school.

The fact is I am interested in teaching violin, and the school is getting in the way of that dream more than it has been benefiting.  I have known this for a long time now, but have tried my hardest to tell myself that I would be done soon and I just needed to push through.
However, I’m not going to be done soon.  I spent last year working toward the pedagogy part of my degree, and for many reasons (many that I do not feel disclosing here, but if you really want to know you can get ahold of me) didn’t decide to continue in that program.  That left me getting a whole masters degree in one year, or spreading it out longer.  Since I couldn’t bear the thought of going on longer, I wanted to squish it all together into one intense year, but that hasn’t worked too well. My unhappiness with school has become impossible to ignore, and some things really help you see things clearly.  After reading that post, and bawling every time I looked at it, I realized there would be no pushing through, there had to be change.
The thought is that this is only a break, and I will go back and finish it, probably gradually piece by piece.  I feel really good about this decision, and am really looking forward to building my career as a musician and a teacher.

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. December 14, 2006 3:26 am

    Good luck with your decision. Having been there myself, it’s really hard to see the direct value in grad school and being a musician unless you are planning to go on to teach at a college or something and need the degree specifically. From the sounds of what you are planning on doing, it may be good to re-evaluate. You can always go back and there is certainly nothing wrong with taking a break! Enjoy it!

  2. December 14, 2006 5:40 am

    Jodie,

    Some of the hardest decisions lead to the best changes in life! Best wishes!

  3. Gillian permalink
    December 14, 2006 6:32 am

    As long as it works for you, go for it. What you do, contributes to the next thing, always. Good luck.

  4. December 14, 2006 9:03 am

    {hugs}

  5. December 14, 2006 9:03 am

    huzzah!
    (and Cara’s post had a big impact on me, too)

  6. knittykitty permalink
    December 14, 2006 2:14 pm

    you go girlfriend

  7. Jodie permalink
    December 15, 2006 12:42 am

    Thanks for the supportive comments folks. :) It felt so good to finally get that out on the blog, I’ve been thinking about this post for awhile. I’m sure I’ll be updating quite a bit as I figure out how to survive better on my own.

  8. December 15, 2006 5:16 am

    Congrats on taking charge of your life and making such a difficult decision! All the best for you, chica.

  9. Gray permalink
    December 27, 2006 5:43 am

    I though that I had made a comment here shortly after you made this entry, but it must have failed when I posted it.

    In any case, I know that music school is really hard and stressful. One of the reasons that I never did that myself is that I knew that it was much harder than the other kinds of schooling I considered.

    I wish you the best of luck, and that you are able to take advantage of the time off.

    -Gray

  10. Jane permalink
    January 6, 2007 4:51 pm

    Hi Jodie, I teach at UO and I also knit, so I was doubly interested in your wiki. What a tough decision you had to make. I think you made the right one though. Have you ever packed up your whole house and loaded it into a truck and moved to somewhere that you didn’t want to live at all? Probably not. That’s what it would be like to register for school, pay for it, and attend classes when your heart just wasn’t into it. I think you need a break. It also looks like you have a lot of really cool interests, and that’s really healthy. I think you’ve made a good decision. You’ll know if it’s the right time to go back to school. Best of luck in whatever you end up doing!

  11. Jodie permalink
    January 6, 2007 10:12 pm

    Things are going well over here in non-grad school land. I feel much better about it everyday, and I’m sure I’ll be posting a proper post about it soon. Thanks again for the support, it means a lot.

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