Graduate School

IRIS XV • learning to fly
Credit: flickr / Themis Chapsis

I went back to school because I didn’t think I knew enough to go and join the real world, yet.

Then I got to graduate school, and realized it wasn’t the place to learn it.

I’m not a better programmer than I was before I came. I know a little more about some things, but not a whole lot.

But – graduate school gives your space for other things. Defining my thesis topic has give me a better idea of what interests me. I’ve been able to experiment with different presentation styles, and become better at public speaking. I found that I had something to write about on this blog – and – still incredible to me – people would be interested to read it. Discovered that I can bring something to the table in conversations about technology, and education, and the future. Expanded my horizons by teaching and presenting in French. Learned how to write better. Learned to read academic papers, they’re not always as boring as I thought. Realized that other graduate students know no more than I do. Some may even know less. Tried this being a leader malarky. Tried to find balance in my life. Experienced being an expat. Felt lost. Felt lonely. Felt a great sense of achievement when I realized I’d come over with nothing and built a life.

Saw that the amount I didn’t know was even bigger than I expected. Realized a PhD was not the place going to help me get that knowledge.

Gained confidence – I still don’t feel I know enough, but realize I never will. I no longer want to postpone joining the real world, in fact – I’m excited to be a part of it.

Some people say graduate school is a terrible idea. But I’ve got as much out of it as I expected to – perhaps more – it’s just it wasn’t the type of value I was expecting.

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