The fateful words by Yoda seemed the most apt title for my blog entry today. It seems that in my life, I can only do, or not do; there’s really no in between. I require and exert such intense focus on whatever I’m doing, that I can’t easily span between subjects, disciplines, or modes of living. Such an attempt would exhaust me.
Consequently, this morning I am struggling with an internal debate from a journey that I undertook yesterday. I went to visit Dr. Keri Cronin at Brock University – a wonderful, and very kind, woman who agreed to chat with me over potential PhD work. She has a fascinating research agenda based around visual culture and the advancement of understanding in human/non-human relationships (mostly with animals). She has written on the topics of vivisection and farm animals; she’s a passionate vegan and co-founder of the Niagara VegFest (Keri Cronin on WordPress). The program I’m considering is based out of Brock and would encourage me to delve into the world of the humanities, best embodied in the Congress 2014 conference offerings. The Brock campus was also beautiful, and after meeting with Keri I went for a hike at nearby Short Hills Provincial Park (pictured right and as featured image).
By all accounts, it’s a very exciting and intriguing possibility for my next step in life. So why, when I think about starting the application process to this doctoral program and putting my name in for various funding options, do I get a heavy pressure in my chest and a feeling of dread in my heart? It could be because I’m academically a little burnt out, after going straight from my undergraduate to graduate schooling without a break. It could be because I’m trying to balance this aspiration with job applications on the side. Although I know it’s a good idea to have multiple options, I still find it hard to hold a desire for both work and further schooling in my heart simultaneously.
I have had a long and passionate love affair with school and learning. However, as I age I realize that there is more to life than passively sitting and absorbing knowledge. There’s a whole world out there, one that I’ve been neglecting for my books, my writing, and my studies. I hesitate to commit to another five-year relationship with academia when I’m not certain that I can stay in such a monogamous relationship. I’d always be thinking of my brief dalliance with being an intern, a parks ranger, a carpenter. I think that I have to be honest with myself and with school right now – I’m not ready for you, I need some time alone, I want to think it over.
I can’t try, only do.