To me, it was always the start of the time of the year to get all of your ducks in a row and get organized when that first bell rang at the beginning of the school year, and then when moving to college (where there are no bells), a deeper and higher form of practical planning was in order. I have to say though, that the year that I was without school was one of the hardest ones for me in terms of direction.
I took, for the first time in my life, a year away from academics (since before I was old enough to do school back in 1999) and it had many new and exciting things, but also something that I was lacking; a sense of direction and purpose. I know that back in January of this year I was struggling with what I have heard referred to as the “quarter-life crisis” which happens to a lot of us young folks around ages 20-29, where we are feeling like we are behind the bell curve of everyone else. Like the fact that I lived at home throughout my College years, and am still living there in my early University days as I work towards moving out now that I have both a career and part-time school, I feel that I can move forward now, but when I was free to do as I wanted, aside from having to work, it actually made life harder for me, and let me explain what happened to me.
First off, being out of school for a year during the 2018/19 year was a different ball game in and of itself. I was free to do whatever I wanted to do during my off time, and it really hit me back in September of 2018 when I was walking home from work and thought to myself that I wanted to play video games, and for the first time in my life, playing video games was the thing I was supposed to be doing, and I was not using it as a way to get away from doing other things. So, that felt good to me. The problem with that is, there were so many of these “choices” that I could make, that I guess I got overwhelmed with all the choices and was not sure what I wanted to do. I often would just choose to do the same things that I was already doing most of the time, and with that came a monotony after a long while.
It took about 4-6 months of that, plus the fact that I was now working in the career field (and still am as of the writing of this) as a part-timer and had not yet gotten more than a whiff of full-time opportunities within the year that I was out. I learned that in Social Work, showing interest in wanting to move up, does nothing but allows you to get the interview one day when they have one (and I interviewed for a full-time position at one of my workplaces, but did not get it back in April of 2019), seniority is super important, and of course me, having come from the Restaurant and Retail working world, where showing you have the grit and determination to move up the ladder will result in more opportunities, you could see how (even now at roughly 14 months as a part-timer as of the typing of this in late September of 2019) I could get disheartened. The one thing that I did manage to figure out, in order to get myself out of a negative headspace that I was in at the start of 2019 was that I could afford to wait, but while waiting, I needed something else to keep my mind off of my stagnant work situation (or stagnant-feeling situation); school.
Without school, I felt that there was no direction. I knew that I wanted to move towards my Passion (see Job-Mission Hierarchy 1 and 2 for more) and eventually move towards my mission, but I had no clue what either of those things were going to be, and was just thinking that because I did Social Service Worker, that I HAD TO go into Social Work (BSW), to me that seemed like the logical next step, but was not something I was excited about at all you know? It as not until I was hanging out with a friend of mine, who is taking a Bachelor of Public Ethics and she says to me “Marcus, I wish you were in my class, so that you could help me to understand this stuff better”, and something just clicked! THAT’S IT! I will do a philosophy degree and work towards becoming a professor at the post-secondary level! That is the next phase of my life!
I feel at this present moment (while I am only 3 weeks into the longest journey of my life so far in working towards that passion) like a massive weight is off my shoulders. I know that I can handle taking on full-time employment, but there is now no rush in getting there, I can wait and just work part-time as often as I can until my number gets called eventually I know that I can work towards some of the more “adulting” things like moving out from home, while taking part-time classes because the classes (which I pay for out of pocket) will cause me to have to stay in a “saving money” kind of mindset, because I will admit, I saved no money from my year out, but now, doing really well having my first semester fully paid, and second one almost fully paid and I can start saving up for rent to move out by September 1st, 2020 at the latest! I can’t wait!
School has given me the structure that I need to grow, and though I know that it will not be here forever, I am working from Bachelor, all the way up to PHD level, so I know I am going to be here for a while, so might as well enjoy all of the fringe benefits and healthy mindset that come with having school as my guiding factor once more. I missed you old friend, we had been together since September of 2000, we moved up to High School in September of 2010, then onto College in 2014, and I thought I was ready to step away, but nope…you roped me in for maybe even another 10-15 years…haha, I am ready for our next journey old friend!