I’m going back to school. There, I said it. Although I’ve been in classes for the past two weeks, I have yet to say that sentence out loud with confidence and ease until right now. Damn, it feels good. And I feel good, better than I have in a long time.
For the past 5 years, I’ve worked in the wild world of the music industry. From celebrity assistant to record label assistant to songwriter and singer at Universal Music, it’s easy to say I haven’t had much time to breathe. Now at 26-years-old, I’ve decided to cut back on my work hours, take some time for myself and go back to school. I don’t want to change careers necessarily, I still love making music, but I knew that deep down something was missing. I was feeling uninspired, not myself, and essentially burnt out. Sometimes (especially in creative fields), you need to take some time away, come back home to yourself and allow your heart to lead you around for awhile.
My own heart led me to Antioch University. Specifically into a Masters program in Psychology with an emphasis in Mindfulness and Depth Psychology. It may sound different from my career so far, but it’s a subject I’ve been passionate about for quite some time. The decision to enroll was not easy and for months I was filled with doubt and fear. It felt like my soul was ignited, lighting the way to a new and exciting place. But at the same time I was also terrified, dimming down the light with judgement and hesitation, afraid to see what would come next.
For anyone feeling afraid about making the decision to go back to school (or making any sort of big life change), know you have the ability to transcend that fear. Fear is a normal part of being human and once we overcome it, we realize it didn’t necessarily end up being as real as we thought.
My Top 5 Fears About Going Back To School (And What Actually Happened in Real Life)
Fear #1: Other people will judge me for going back to school.
Real Life: Once I started telling my family and friends that I wanted to go back to school, everyone was incredibly supportive. My own fear, coupled with everyone’s reactions, reminded me that I care way too much about what other people think. When I know something is right for me, I need to trust myself and not let others (or my fear) tell me otherwise.
Fear #2: I won’t have enough time to work and go to school simultaneously.
Real Life: Graduate schools are extremely accommodating. There are people in my classes who have families, kids, full-time jobs, part-time jobs and all other sorts of life commitments that they are able to balance with school. Classes are offered very frequently throughout the week and you can take as many or as few as you want. So far, I’ve been able to balance my time between school, music, family/friend time and even a dance class!
Fear #3: I don’t know if I can justify the cost of going back to school.
Real Life: Looking at the the situation more as a long term investment really took the pressure off of the financial aspect for me. Higher education leads to increased skills, better job opportunities, more impressive resumes and gives you as the student a deeper, more specific expertise in the field. There are many different opportunities for financial aid, scholarships and work study programs that can help with tuition significantly.
Fear #4: What if the program is not what I thought it would be and I end up not enjoying it?
Real Life: The program has actually been better than I imagined! But even if I were to change my mind, it’s really not a big deal. Without judgement, I could simply drop out or transfer to another school. Maybe I just needed to go for a quarter to see that it simply wasn’t for me, but if I never try I’ll never know. You also don’t have to pay full tuition all at once so there wouldn’t be a big financial loss in leaving after the first quarter.
Fear #5: I don’t know if I can justify the rational of going back to school
Real Life: I am someone who has relied on intuition over logic for every major life decision thus far. Maybe my way of justifying is more through feeling than reason, and that’s okay. It’s like Steve Jobs said, “you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards…believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well worn path; and that will make all the difference.”
I am so happy that I made the decision to go back to school. I am studying something I truly care about while learning alongside a tribe of like-minded wonderful people. It has also helped to re-inspire my creativity and I am learning to be more honest with myself than ever before. If you’re thinking of going back to school, I hope you meet any fear you have with love, learn a valuable lesson and let it transcend you into your next chapter.