Experience over achievement

It just happened to dawn on me that we are at the last day of the month, and today was supposed to have been the final day of my stressful PhD application. As any readers who know me personally are already aware (I didn’t widely circulate the news), I decided last week to stop my application and take time off from school to work on my writing and other interests instead. This was a difficult decision, and I’m still not entirely sure it is the right one. But it will be interesting and different, and I can’t really ask for more than that, can I?

I think often about a quite from Jim Carrey, when he was giving a graduation speech to the Maharishi University of Management. Here’s the quote that I mean:

My father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that was possible for him, and so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant, and when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job and our family had to do whatever we could to survive.

I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.

I’ve been chewing on this quote for a while, especially in regards to going on to start my PhD. I don’t think my motivations are quite right for it, yet. I have never not finished something I have started (at least in the bigger picture) and the idea of beginning something so tremendous and possibly not succeeding in it, or becoming disenchanted with the experience, is frankly terrifying. So I think taking a step back is the best choice. With time I can reevaluate my priorities and determine if continuing with grad school will be beneficial with what I want to achieve.

I want to be ambitious and pursue things that I dream about, whatever that looks like. Whether or not I succeed, I’ll learn along the way. Rather than collecting degrees on my wall, I want to collect skills and memories. I’m trying to reprioritize, and value experiences over achievements. I think that’s a worthy goal for the future year.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s