Limbo

by Grant Batchelder
@batchaelder

As my students work hard studying for finals, I thought back to the last time I had to do that.  In my graduate program, we only had finals for two classes:  the first theory class and statistics.  So not counting those, it has been three and a half years since I had to take a final.  I don’t miss the stress of it, but I do miss the measurement of knowledge gained. Finals were a way to mark your progress towards a goal.  The problem I have now is that there are no set concrete goals.  There is no degree to work towards, there are no finals to study for, and there are no “what’s next.”  I have attained my goals.  Yes, I do have goals, such as a Ph.D., a family, and teaching, but those are things that need to wait.  I am at a point in my life where I am at limbo.  I was told not to apply for Ph.D.’s till I had worked for three to five years.  I do not want a family until I can fully support one.  I cannot teach what I want to until I have a Ph.D.  I think this state of limbo happens to many people throughout their lives, but this is the first time for me.  At least, that was the case before being assigned a mentor.

Last year I applied for a mentor through the Men and Masculinities Knowledge Community and was awarded one over the summer.  We have talked a few times since then and each time it is wonderful and eye opening.  My biggest advice for people just starting out is to have a mentor who has done what you want to do.  During your “Limbo” period, they can tell you how to prepare for what comes next and be ready for those later stages.  Since my first conversation with him, I no longer feel in lingo but that it is a period to prepare for the later trials in life.
Did/does anyone else feel this “Limbo” stage?  How did/are you getting through it?


Student Affairs - the First Years

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