Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Madre y Scholar

Motherhood and scholarship are two states that many women have managed successfully.  I wasn't one of those women. But, just because I couldn't do it, doesn't mean other women cannot. Whether its an associate's degree or a PhD, there are ways that education and motherhood can coexist but you have to ask yourself some important questions before you  return to school: 
  • How much time will it really take to finish?  
  • Can you go to school full time or part time?  
  • Is there any way for you not to work while you are in school? (Its worth a try to find out, even if it seems impossible.) 
  • Is the material you are studying totally new to you, i.e. are you changing careers, or are you trying to get ahead in your current field by getting another degree? 
  • Who is there for you to help with your children? Can you really count on those people? 
  • How much do you like the process of being in school? 
  • How do you study best:   are you a night person or a day person? in what kind of env ironment do you study best? do you need absolute quiet? are you capable of studying at home?
The most important thing to do before you even start school is to know what you are getting yourself into.  This was what I overlooked.  Two years before I got pregnant,  I got accepted in a PhD program in theatre history. Just getting accepted into the program was such an ego booster for me that I didn't even think about how drastic a change this would be in my life without a child!!!!   

I decided to go for the PhD because I thought I wanted to teach and work in higher education. I was in the program part time while I was working full time.  I needed experience teaching if I wanted to reach my goal, but I couldn't take a part time teaching job because that would clash with my work schedule. The work load was so strenuous and even though I had been a theatre major as an undergraduate, I quickly had to accept that I was not academically prepared to be in a doctoral program  - Foucault, cultural materialism, The Poetics, semiotics, Eduard Glissant,  Meyerhold, deconstructionism, Walter Benjamin, constructivism, Strindberg, structuralism, The Black Atlantic, Shakespeare, historicism,  Goethe -- Ay Dios Mio!!! 

Perhaps if I did not have to work...Perhaps if I had started a few years earlier...Perhaps if I had waited to have the baby....Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps I could have focused myself better and worked harder on my studies. Perhaps.  But I just didn't have it in me.  By the time my daughter was born my husband was already in trouble. I could no longer count on him to provide me with any real support and it went downhill from there.  I trudged on for a few years, fooling myself into thinking I could do it, but it got to a point where I had to let it go.

Education, like parenting, is one of the most selfish yet selfless things one can undertake. Its all for you really, yet it will benefit the world around you in some way.  They can be done side by side, but you had better know the answers to several of those questions on the above list if you want to be successful at both.

No comments:

Post a Comment