It seems my blogging has been neglected of late, hasn't it? I guess I've been busy. I think a better word is distracted. I'm going to be even more distracted over the next few weeks. It's time for summer ISLE. No, this isn't some wondrous beach resort where I enjoy fun and sun. Quite the opposite, it is a grueling 9 days living in a college dorm while taking classes from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Sunday and weekends are included. Yes, 9 straight days of preparation and instruction.
I'm not looking forward to it. Last year I was scared. I was just beginning to come alive again. Like the tiniest buds of April, I was just seeing the first glimpses of hope. This was my first big challenge in a long time. Could I handle it? I wouldn't know until I tried. Despite common perceptions, I'm a very shy and insecure individual. A whole new group of people, most of them much younger, some the age of my children, would be my cohort-mates. I'd even get to share the intimacy of bathroom sharing with one of them.
Here is my Professional Personal Action Plan update from last year - turn your speakers on for the finale:
I did survive. I did fairly well. I felt good about myself when I was done. I had done something I'd never done before. I'd slept in a dorm bed. I didn't leave there with friends for life, but at least I knew names and faces of most of the people in our group. A few have left since then, and tomorrow at 10 a.m. we'll be together to be oriented again to life at ISLE.
I'm not ready. Oh, I have my classroom - pre-homework - done. I am not packed, but that's typical of me. I'm not ready emotionally. The same fears I had last year have surfaced and been compounded by knowledge. I KNOW what ISLE is like. Despite telling myself I did it before, I can do it again, I'm stressed.
I never went off the high dive. I would imagine how wonderful it would be, but since I had never learned to dive I never scaled the heights of the ladder. My fears kept me from plunging face first into the water.
The high dive was for diving only,
no holding your nose,
no belly flops,
The high dive was for the fearless.
Occasionally I'd jump off the low dive with nose plugs in place. I always regretted not scaling the ladder and diving into those 16 foot waters.
Tomorrow, I'll scale the high dive. As I finish packing, as I load the car, as I arrive on campus and as I drag the provisions of 9 days into my room, I will be taking each step up that ladder with fear. I have so many self-doubts. Today, like so many days, I ask myself,
"Why does an old woman pursue a doctoral degree when she has few years to benefit from it and no job?"
That is a good question. I don't have a good answer. I only know that I don't want to regret not jumping off the high dive again.