Posted by: unlikelygrad | January 9, 2009

Not all bad

Experts say that the people who are most likely to lose weight are those who first come to accept their “fat” self.  I assume success with grad school applications is likely to be the same: after all, if you don’t like yourself and your past, how can you write a personal statement that’s positive in nature?

As I said in my last post, I don’t regret a single one of my years away.  In fact, I think that without that time of self-discovery, I would have got into a career I absolutely hated.  Here’s what fifteen years as a stay-at-home-mom-and-more did for me:

  1. Got me excited about learning.  It’s kind of funny that this didn’t happen while I was in college.  I did like college; I enjoyed my required classes, and I even took a class that I didn’t need to take, just for fun.  Still, I was never a rabid independent learner the way I am now.  The reason for this change?  I homeschooled my children.  I didn’t want to merely cram them full of trivia; I  wanted them to get excited about the process of learning.  And so I modeled the process for them by reading extensively, learning new skills, and discovering new interests.
  2. Taught me how to teach.   Anyone who thinks stay-at-home moms always stay at home is sadly misguided.  Every stay-at-home parent I’ve ever met has been involved in volunteer work of some sort or another.  For me, that generally involved teaching.  So I taught my kids at home, other people’s kids at co-op, other people’s kids at church, adults in community-ed classes, and adults at homeschool conferences.  Eventually I taught other people’s kids for money.  It’s amazing how much people will pay per hour for a competent math/science tutor.
  3. Let me figure myself out.  If I don’t have something hands-on to do on a regular basis, I get depressed.  It was good to learn this before, say, going into a career as a tech writer (one of the jobs I originally considered).  If I don’t get to teach on a regular basis, I get restless.  And so on…
  4. Taught me how to deal with people.  I’m still pretty shy, but at least I can do business now.

This isn’t all I learned in the last fifteen years, by any means.  I could go on and on, but I’m not good at bragging.  My point is that this is a valuable exercise for anyone wanting to return to career or school after being out for a long time.

Next: how I got started on the road to grad school.

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