It definitely feels like fall this morning – I’ve switched to wearing greens and browns this week, I popped my umbrella in my purse on the way out the door, the garden is spitting out its last in a furious desire to spread seed – so here we are.
I start Grad School next Wendesday, and for the first time in twelve years I had a back-to-school dream. You know the one I’m sure – showing up for school only to find you aren’t enrolled for the semester, in addition to discovering I had the wrong pre-reading list and so wasn’t at all prepared to start school anyway. It was mercifully brief, a few flashes of confusion and then the dreamscape shifted to something else entirely, but it reminded me just how much new challenges nag at our psyche – that the back to school dream is a script we all know so well.
Outwardly I don’t feel nervous about starting school again – I *have* read most of the reading list over the summer, and I am looking forward to having some intellectual discipline in my life again. I’m also a lot more confident than the last time I started college/university (which for the record, was 17 and a half years ago). The intervening years between then and now have given me a much broader perspective on the world, and a boatload of experiences which give me the surety that I actually have enough mastery of life to earn a Master’s degree. And because the program is exactly what I’m looking for in graduate education – I’m really pretty excited to get started.
But the dream. Is it that school anxieities from childhood are so embedded in us? Or latent imposter syndome just waiting to spring late in the semester giving us an early warning? Or just a nod to the transition from one mode to another – while my professional life is staying the same, I am shifting my intellectual focus towards something entirely new. And I should note also that my lack of graduate degree to date has been the source of some feelings of resentment and inadequacy about my path in the past – so perhaps I am also afraid I won’t resolve this goal for myself even though I’ve taken the first steps by getting into the program.
Despite some of my dreamland misgivings, I take all this as a sign I’m doing the right thing for myself. Challenges are expected to bring some anxiety – and anticipation is a part of the desire quest. So for the first time in twelve years I am back to school and *so* looking forward to it.