For several years I’ve talked about going back to school. I knew I wanted to do it, but I couldn’t really decide what to study because there were so many great options! Nearly two years ago I figured it was now or never. I posted on social media asking for help considering two different graduate programs, one with a counseling focus and the other in leadership. The results were interesting.
While most people were super encouraging, saying stuff like “you’ll do great whichever one you choose,” one person, in particular, seemed very decisive. When I initially read her response, I saw: “Seems to me your gifting leans more toward administration. Consider organizational leadership.”¹
I’ll be honest: in a sea of cheers, this initially felt a little like a slap. I had spent a few years counseling adopting and fostering moms and was definitely leaning in that direction. So when this person suggested my gifting might not be suited for that, I felt discouraged. Had I wasted that time trying to do something I wasn’t really good at? Was it that obvious to others (like this person)?
Nevertheless, deep inside I suspected she was right. I had *wanted* to think of myself as a counselor, but there was something holding me back from taking the leap professionally. Meanwhile, I had stepped into more leadership in my job and felt a growing excitement about it.
So when I read that comment, my path narrowed such that I made the decision right then to pursue a degree in strategic organizational leadership.
Eight weeks after that I had my first homework assignment in 20 years. And now, 20 months later, I’m finished!
Now that it’s over, I have something to say to all you people who commented on my original post with stuff like, “Do it, you’ll love it!” and “It’s so much easier the second time you go to college!” WHAT?! You guys might have forgotten that I went to art school for undergrad. ART SCHOOL. I stayed up all night painting, drawing typography (yes, drawing the actual letterforms), and creating cities in correct perspective, but never writing papers. I didn’t even know what APA was! [And for the record: YUCK. I cannot believe someone actually requires Times New Roman for anything, especially 15+ page papers! I proudly boycotted that part the entire time and was gladly willing to lose points in order to use a better font and achieve a happier reader experience. ;-)]
Speaking of which, I do feel sorry for the professor who had to grade my first literature review. I turned it in and got a response asking if I wanted to try again for half credit. That bad, huh? Apparently, when you review “literature” on a topic, those articles must have been peer-reviewed. My kids were like, “duh, Mom, you can’t use .com sites for school papers.” NOW THEY TOLD ME! I found out there’s a completely different Google for that!
Suffice it to say, I learned A LOT over the past 20 months. I’m still processing a lot of it but I’m excited to share more over the coming weeks and months.
The most common question I’ve gotten leading up to finishing is this: “so what are you going to do now that you have a Master’s degree?” Huh. Call me crazy, but I never really thought about that when I signed up… I just knew it was something I needed to do.
That’s actually a great way to sum up the past few years, actually. It’s a bit like following a breadcrumb trail without understanding exactly where it’s going. I know God’s leading me down a path, but he hasn’t seen fit to show me exactly where we’re headed. Funny thing is, I’m completely OK with that. I’ve come to trust him to lead me.
I’m someone who hates to know the ending of a book too quickly. In fact, if I can figure out the plotline in the first 50 pages or so, I won’t read the rest. I love suspense. I enjoy running all the scenarios in my head to try and determine what’s going on; I find satisfaction in figuring things out just before the author reveals it, but I don’t want to know much earlier.
So at this point, I’m still picking up breadcrumbs and learning just a little bit more of the storyline, one day at a time. I can’t wait to see how God uses this in his great story!
(1) Funny sidebar that explains this post’s title: When I returned to the original thread before writing this, I found out I had missed a word in her comment! She actually said: “Seems to me IF your gifting leans more toward administration. Consider organizational leadership.” Because of how she broke them up into two distinct sentences, and as a result of my tendency to skim instead of read, I missed the conditional part. Go figure. The thing is, I believe I saw exactly what I needed to, in order to give me the kick in the pants to pick up the next breadcrumb. Zero regrets. Tons of gratitude.