If you've read my past few month in review posts you'll know that I've been job searching with little to no success. I decided very early on into my masters degree that I didn't want to pursue a PhD like some of my peers. I firmly stated that I was done with school, that stepping foot into a university again would not be for me, and that I wanted to go right into the job market. I knew finding a job would be difficult, but I stayed determined and found contacts despite nothing really going through.
Then, I was having a conversation with a few colleagues and some old professors, who were casually mentioning how great it is to be an academic, as you get to keep learning. I began pondering how I had so many unanswered questions from my major research paper for my MA, questions that had to be reduced to footnotes because they just simply couldn't be answered in a paper of forty pages. I began to consider how I had left my paper hanging, that I wouldn't get the chance to revisit it again should I choose to head into the job market so soon. It felt silly to let that learning side of me fall away so quickly. So, I changed my mind. I want to get a PhD.
I told some friends at first who are currently doing their PhD's and they were extremely supportive. They gave me resources and helped me narrow things down to a few schools that would suit my project best. I met with professors at schools I was interested in and established contacts. Everyone at the schools I'm applying to have been so nice and supportive, and while I didn't really feel confident that I would be able to get a position in the job market, I feel confident that I can do a PhD. And that feels great.
When I went to talk with an old colleague about my recent future shift, they sarcastically stated how indecisive I am. I was a bit offended, as I had gone to them for help and they immediately started judging my character based on the fact that it takes me a little bit longer to firmly decide what I want to do. I was like this when choosing to do a masters degree as well. I didn't think I wanted to pursue a masters, but after some suggestions by a few professors I jumped into the opportunity, perhaps a little bit later than some of my other friends who knew off the bat that they wanted to continue learning, and I ended up being very successful in the MA program. While it may take me a little bit longer to decide things, I can firmly say that I have never regretted a decision I made on my future after it was finally made.
I think people forget that indecisiveness and changing your mind is often a symptom of mental illnesses. With my OCD and intrusive thoughts, I tend to overthink every decision before it is set in stone, worrying about every possible outcome and every pro and con. Something that I am constantly working on in therapy is the idea of accepting uncertainty, that I may not be certain about the outcome of every decision I make, but accepting that uncertainty will help me make decisions faster and focus less on the worrying. The point is, I don't need people besides my therapist pointing out how indecisive I am. I know this, and I'm working on it. I need them to know that even if I don't have a decision made before I've even finished what I was previously doing, that doesn't make me any less of a smart person, any less of a successful person, or a person undeserving of new opportunities. It just means that I need a little bit of extra time to come to those conclusions, and I am aware of this extra time I need and will adjust myself accordingly.
I haven't yet submitted my PhD applications as they are due in the new year, but I know that whatever the outcomes of the applications will be, I want to continue to apply to PhD programs until I get in. I feel happy to stick with this decision. I'm here to tell y'all that changing your mind on anything in your future is ok. It is not worth sticking with a decision that makes you unhappy simply because you are embarrassed of how you'll be perceived if you decide on something else. If you're not confident in your decision, then the final decision hasn't been made yet. This post goes out to my fellow folks who just need a little extra time. Take your time on making that decision, and you'll find yourself much more successful in the long run.
Are you indecisive? Have you ever changed your mind on an important life path?
Emily @ Paperback Princess