First Person: I Left My Career Behind

When I graduated from Roanoke College in 1996, I chose to accept a job with a small, mail order pharmacy. Over the next four years, I flirted with the idea of going back to school; however, although I would file applications to graduate schools from time to time, I did not seriously consider leaving my position with the company for several reasons. For one thing, while I may have grasped the concept of aging at an intellectual level, I did not have any experience with the subject. I felt as if I would stay young forever and thus did not feel any pressure to go back to school. At the same time, I did not know what vocation I wanted to pursue. Finally, I was concerned that I might not perform well in graduate school even though both my standardized test scores and undergraduate GPA were quite high; I worried that I did not have enough self-discipline to do the work required for my graduate courses.
Courtesy of Microsoft Office

My feelings on the subject began to change in December of 2000. One night, I was playing a word game with family and friends. I could usually come up with needed words at a lightning fast pace; however, on this night, it seemed as if my synapses were not firing as quickly as they should. Looking in the mirror, I also realized that other things were changing as well; I was losing hair and some fine wrinkles were forming on my hands. I realized for the first time that I was aging, and I felt that I needed to make a choice concerning whether or not to go back to school. I pondered the matter for several months and made my decision in late 2000. I still did not know whether or not I could produce graduate level work or even which field I might want to pursue a degree in. Regardless, I decided I wanted to become a college professor.

After researching the matter, I opted to resign from my job in May 2001 and enroll in a graduate level, Liberal Arts program. I felt that this decision allowed me to try out a number of fields to see which ones I enjoyed. I could also determine whether or not I was ready for graduate school. During this period, I lived at home, thereby saving money on rent and food. At the same time, I had some savings and used a portion of these funds to pay for the graduate courses. Finally, I worked part-time as a realtor. I did not make much money at this profession; however, I earned enough cash to pay for some of my schooling.

I ended up matriculating in the University of Virginia's graduate program in English with the goal of using that degree as a stepping stone to a Ph.D. (though not necessarily one in Literature). I obtained the M.A. degree but decided later on that I did not want to become a professor. In retrospect, perhaps I made the wrong decision when I left my job; however, at the time, I believed it was the correct choice.

-- Anthony Hopper

#careers #business #finance #personalfinance #personalinterest #education #school #graduateschool #English

No comments:

Post a Comment