There are a lot of people who come to MSPP shortly after graduating from college – maybe spending a year or two working. And then there are people who come back after working for 5, 10, 20 years. Or more. I fall into the latter category.
There are many students who come to MSPP later in life. A few hold onto their professional life and work in addition to school and internship demands. Some have children and take lighter course-loads or attend part-time. Others have babies while they are enrolled in the program. MSPP, and most of the practicum/internship sites, are incredibly supportive and flexible when it comes to trying to balance school and life demands.
I decided to pursue a doctorate after spending years working in the non-profit world. Now I’m in my early thirties, married, and a full-time student. I love my classes and my internship, but I cannot wait to be finished with school. Most of my non-MSPP friends are established in the field of their choice. Many are starting families or buying houses. A few are contemplating career changes of their own. I still have papers to write on the weekends.
I frequently remind myself to live in the moment, yet this is a constant struggle for me. I think I filled out my 4-year plan before I even began classes. I am looking forward to the day when I can contribute to my household income, when I can afford to travel, when I can be fully present without feeling like I should be working on this paper, or doing that reading.
Regardless of age, we all make sacrifices to pursue a degree that will lead to professional fulfillment. And I have never regretted my decision. I look forward to having a career that is intellectually stimulating and emotionally rewarding. Five years from now, with a toddler trailing behind me as I do yard work, I will likely long for my student days. And I will still be writing, just not papers for school.