School is for learning, not performing

Right now my husband and I are in Hawaii so he can get his PhD in physics. While this is great for him, it has posed some, shall we say, frustrations for me. Without going into too much detail, let’s just say that due to the high cost of living here and crappy job market conditions, my own career goals seem to be interminably on the back burner.

I really do want to be able to teach philosophy one day, but we can’t afford for both of us to be in full-time programs at the moment. Plus, I do NOT want to spend any longer in Hawaii than we have to (a blog post in its own right for another time), so the prospect of extending our stay by three more years, after the three we have ahead of us, so I can finish a potential PhD sounds exhausting.

BUT since I work on a university campus, guess what I have access to? Classes! I haven’t signed up for a full semester course yet, but I am going to sit in on a graduate philosophy class this week and get a feel for the class, the schedule, the readings, and the rigors of graduate philosophy work.


I have to admit that, excited as I am, I am quite nervous. What if I come across as an idiot? What if everyone knows so much and I know nothing?

Then I remembered that, duh. Classes are for learning. This isn’t a place for me to demonstrate what I know and impress the class with my brilliance, but to wrestle with concepts and arguments always a little beyond my current abilities, to stretch myself and get to higher planes of competency and knowledge. That’s legitimately exciting, and much more desirable than showing up and realizing I don’t have anything to learn because I am sooooo smaaaart. So I’m going to go into the class fully ready to be the dumbest person there and thus be the one who learns the most and gets the most out of that one class. Also, I’m working hard to reframe my nervousness as excitement. School is for learning, not performing. Maybe that should be my philosophy of reading, too. A blog post for another time…

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