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Master’s degree? Not now

/ 04:02 AM November 24, 2020

Sometimes, I wonder where my enthusiastically idealistic self has gone. Whatever happened to my 18-year-old self’s plan of getting a master’s degree right after graduation? I sure hope it’s still within reach. What if it has been whisked away by some terrible wind — blown by reality and procrastination? I remember crafting my dream board seven years ago. My younger self adorned that board with hopeful dreams: graduating with flying colors, mastering my hobbies, collecting books and shoes, and, of course, getting a master’s degree. The dream board remains a dream board until now, since my enthusiasm for fulfilling the last item on my list is nowhere to be found at the moment.

My college classmates and I often traded plans on how we would go about getting our master’s degrees. How I miss staring at my classmates’ sparkling eyes while we drafted our “life after graduation” plans. But three years after leaving school, here we are immobilized by life and this pandemic — but, truth to tell, mostly by life and procrastination.

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When the pressure starts to scare the coward out of me, I begin to make a list of reasons why I should enroll in a master’s degree, and reasons not to or not yet. I know my family, my colleagues, and my college professors are probably wondering why, three years hence, I have not yet asked for a recommendation letter, a transcript, and, more importantly, their validation. I have heard them saying I should be making my way to grad school since I’m still young, able, and free from “responsibilities.”

To be honest, I have thought about this predicament for quite some time that it has even become an intrusive thought. Thanks to the longest summer ever, I have carefully examined my reasons for delaying my plans for a master’s degree. To start with, I haven’t found a higher reason for pursuing it. I believe this stems from my being uncertain about my career path. I don’t mean to throw away my four years of teacher education, but I’m still contemplating whether this path is really mine to walk through. Plus, this pandemic has given me a compelling reason not to pursue further schooling this year.

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Second, I may be too ambitious (or risk-averse) to envision trekking to Diliman and completing two or more grueling years of fulfillment and shame. Maybe my dream is too good to be real and too distant to reach? If that dream entails leaving my job here in the province and diving into the unknown in the big busy metropolis, is it worth the risk? Am I guaranteed my dream’s fulfillment?

Furthermore, the pressure hasn’t completely roasted me. My friends haven’t decided either. We’re all in that limbo state, but I’m not losing hope. I do have plans. It’s just that now is seemingly not the perfect time. I am certain I will walk down that fancy carpet donning my graduation gown when I am sure of what I truly want. This will make me sound like a true-blue millennial, but I want to pursue what my heart desires. I just hope I get to clear these reservations as soon as possible, or as soon as destiny or fate permits, and I get my motivation back the soonest.

My college professor once told us that if we couldn’t find a way, then we had to make one. To my 23-year-old self: You’re doing well, thriving and surviving, but please reconsider your former plans, okay? Hugs.

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Rebo Jyhad Aguirre, 23, is an English teacher at St. John’s Institute (Hua Ming) in Bacolod City.

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