I know, I know. A higher education is supposed to open doors. More degrees = more opportunities, and all that. And since I am someone who in fact works in higher education, I must believe in it, right?
The answer is yes it does, and yes I do. I definitely wouldn’t be where I am if it weren’t for my master’s degree, and the fact that I have one at all is a great point of personal pride.
But tell that to the 15 extra pounds I packed on—and still haven’t lost—in year one of grad school.
Grad school, though great for intellectual development, is not exactly the prime place to optimize one’s girlish figure. Major stress + no free time + a billion late-night caramel lattes is not a good combination. Oh, the love-hate, addictive relationship I have with those lattes.
And then there’s the actual content of those grad-school classes. Grad programs, particularly those for Higher Education, are all about sensitivity to diversity and personal identity development, so most classes become sociological debates. Combine two years of this as a full-time student with a year of GA-ship in the Women’s Center, and you develop this near-constant, uber-feminist, damn-the-man, “what do you mean when you say ‘gay’?” mental feed that is very hard to turn off. Super Bowl beer commercials aren’t advertisements, but the misogynistic media oppressing women (and what does that body wash commercial say about men’s identity development?). Pop culture vampire movies are blatant demonstrations of white privilege. And can you believe the lies that Disney sold us as children?
You want to see my inner social-justice crusader go ape? Try suggesting to this 20-something, master’s-holding, recently engaged (after much related overanalyzing) individual that it’s selfish for a woman not to have children.
Yes, life was much simpler—albeit suckier—before grad school. When you’ve been constantly exposed to those kinds of debates, it’s really hard to just turn them off. I overanalyze everything. And you, dear reader, usually get a taste of that inner insanity in this blog.
The latte habit isn’t easy to kick, either.