I am still in school. By the time I finish, I will have ten years of higher education and six years in graduate school. I haven’t wasted any time. I haven’t taken more than the regularly alloted amount of time to finish any of my degrees. In fact, I finished my Masters degree one term early. (That wasn’t too unusual for the program though.) Recently, I learned of the opportunity to move to a different branch campus, a position that includes a likely fifth year of funding. The thought of a fifth year puts me immediately at ease. Surely that would be enough time to finish the dissertation and do it well. On the other hand, if I finish next year, I can get a "real" job teaching and make a lot more money than I make now as a graduate student. Why not just take the option where I have money since I’ll be teaching either way, right? The reality is that I am terrified of a real job and a tenure-track position. I have moved every two/three years throughout my entire adult life, moving from one job to the next, one school to the next. I’m not sure how well I’ll do if I have to stay in one spot for the next decade or two. (My professors assure me that you usually don’t stay "forever" in your first tenure-track job, but, in this economy, I have seen people who do.)
I am deeply commitment-phobic. This is evidenced in my continual moving and my reluctance to get married or even commit to a long-term partnership. I hope that this attitude changes because part of me does want security. I am torn between an urban existence, where I am able to go to Bikram, watch good films, and attend readings from authors I admire. Or, living a rural existence, where I milk a goat for thirty minutes every morning and every evening as my meditation, where I have the solitude to read and eat the food that I’ve grown. I am usually quite happy in relationships. In terms of love, I am capable of deep, intimate relationships and find them to be worthwhile. So, I don’t know what the next year/two will hold. But I can say that I am terrified of the change. I will no longer be a student, and that might mean some degree of permanence that I’ve never had before–that I don’t think I want.
The PhD program, on the other hand, has been amazing. I have learned so much. I’ve had amazing, supportive teachers. I’ve met smart, fascinating people. And, for the most part, this program has been void of the terrible departmental bickering and hostilities that I have experienced at other places. It appears that this place at this time was absolutely perfect for me.