The Indecision Blog Post

by Eric Mason

I often note my favorite quote in my blogs. That is, “Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone.” Within the last week, I have received two offers at phone interviews. One school lies out West, somewhat close to where I am now. The other is an institution within an hour of my hometown. Both are very good opportunities yet are on opposite sides of the spectrum of comfort.

One of my biggest fears in life is “settling.” I would love children and a family and a stable location someday. With a career in student affairs, that may not happen. I grew up fourth-generation in my hometown. Moving out West was a change in scenery and cycle. Gone were the days of complaining of nothing to do in my dying industrial hometown, for I lived in America’s Playground. I strived daily to learn more about my assistantship in learning support, a field new to me at the time. I would be “Eric Mason, M.Ed.” at only 23.

But things change.

Reality sets in. My time here comes to a close. Learning support is not new. It is a mature and familiar field. I will be “Eric Mason, M.Ed.” in two and a half months. My resume notes of five years of a world in higher education. Never before has my life-post graduate seemed so clear.

Graduate school has turned out to be a tease of real life. I am living on my own, but my parents still help me out. I seem to work 10+ hours a day, but I am not employed full-time. I had always said that I would not return to Central Illinois, but an opportunity could present itself that I do. This move does not have to be permanent, but it could be.

I often consider a move back to Central Illinois to be the “settling” I so longed to avoid. Being “home” makes me uncomfortable as I so much change in myself and so little in those I grew up alongside. This is not true, however, if I return on my own terms. A job in my field is the antithesis of living with my parents while unemployed. Should I take the second job, the one out West, I stand to move to a city in which I do not know a soul. Either move to an area I know everyone or a city in which I do not know a soul: two options, both equally terrifying.

I will end this with a quote from T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.”

“There will be time, there will be time
… Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.”

Life is short. We are defined by actions. Enjoy these first wild and hectic years of a career in student affairs. Opportunities will be taken, and chances will be missed. We can always begin to rewrite and revise our life story, should we see fit to do that. Years from now, we will look back on the formative years of our careers and stand in awe with what was to come. Mistakes will be made, but those often make the best stories and lessons learned.

Student Affairs - the First Years

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