Academic Effy

Academic Effy

It feels like so very much is going on lately.  So much that I lament the fact I have been seriously and knowingly neglecting my blog.  The crazy part is, most of all this stuff going on is largely in my own thoughts, fully internal – both attempting to cheer myself forward and trying to not second guess myself.  I have so many half-conceived ideas and stories bouncing around in my head, but it seems my concerns and regrets are stifling their fruition.  To quiet my chaotic mind, I have been reading a great deal.  It does not quiet it all however, as so often, fiction mirrors reality…

The largest thought consuming me currently is the internal fight between what I want and what I need.

It saddens me that these two items so often seem conflicting.

I feel selfish in many of my actions of late.  The only thing that keeps me plodding forward is a constant reminder to myself that I have to make me happy first.  This is a very difficult thing for me, as I am forever trying to make everyone else happy.  For the happiness of those I care about in turn makes me happy, as well.  But so often it seems I just cannot give enough.  Therein lies the despair.

A former boss of mine was always praising my work and my work ethic, but was constantly reminding me that sometimes you just have to say, “No.”  As an Administrative Assistant, it logically feels my job is foremost to say “Yes” – to make things happen.  Therefore “No” is a very difficult word for me.  However, in trying to please everyone, and trying to say “Yes” all of the time, I sometimes get myself to a point of frustration and exhaustion.

In this regard, I am no different in work or online or personal life.

Working toward making myself happy, seemingly at the exclusion of putting others high in my priorities, seems so selfish and even counterproductive.

I made a very difficult decision about a week ago, one centered around me.  I am still not entirely sure whether it was the right decision.  I regret that it makes me feel supremely selfish in many ways.  It was after a heavy weighing of many factors, and not just factors now, but factors I felt were most logically ahead of me as well – factors revolving around both my current and future happiness.

As someone who fights often with anxiety and self-esteem and depression, I feel I have been making very real strides in managing these things over the past six or so months, with the help of my counselor.  They are strides in which I absolutely cannot allow myself to backslide.  And lately, I have felt on the very precipice of exactly that.

I cannot allow myself to fall back into the habits that led me down that road.

It is all so confusing, though.  Love is about thinking of others, rather than yourself.  Where then is the tipping point between putting others first and completely neglecting yourself?

Since I cannot seem to find this balance in my life currently, I have decided it is time to focus on me.

The biggest thing I felt I could do for myself is to go back to school.

It is an idea I have been grappling with for literally 14 years.

I started attending college straight out of high school.  I had no solid idea of what direction I wanted to go with it, so I took a little bit of everything – some art, some graphic design, some HTML, a lot of writing.

Writing has always been my passion, yet something that seemed illogical as a career.  The idea of being a novelist and making a living as such is mostly fantastic, and probably only matched by working towards being a professional musician or athlete.  My only other real interests that could possibly translate to a career were drawing, dabbling in cars, the internet, and helping other people.  Drawing and even image editing are something I enjoy doing for myself, but never really seemed what I wanted to do every day for the rest of my life.  I like working on my car, though, living in apartments and other places without any real means to work on mine has dissolved into me hardly changing my own oil anymore.  And I was never really keen on working on other people’s cars, though, I did work in a shop a few times over my sporadic, wide-ranged work life.  I enjoy video games (obviously) and the internet, but I hardly have the mind for long-term programming of any sort.  A line of HTML here or there is enough for me.  For the latter parts of high school, I really wanted to be a psychologist.  I still think being a counselor would be fantastic, but I doubt myself in that regard because of my own emotional hurdles.

College for me lasted for two semesters.  About that time, my 1979 Buick LeSabre gave up the ghost and I was scrambling to get to work, let alone school.  So I quit school, and from there forward I got caught up in working, taking care of my current guy, and trying to find a place for myself in the world without going completely broke.

The one good thing that came out of some of my poorer life choices that eventually landed me in Florida, was becoming an Executive Assistant.  It was my first time ever working in an office setting.  In fact, my boss was quite floored to find out my job previous had been changing oil.  heh  But I came to realize that organizing and helping others was not only something I enjoyed, but something I was really good at.

Do I want to be an Admin all my life? people sometimes ask me.  Maybe.  I really do not know.  I am one of those type of people who gets comfortable in a routine and am happy there.  Being an Admin is comfortable, and has just enough variety that I do not feel stuck in a rut, so to say.  Yet, it does not challenge me in all of the ways I know I can excel.  I dabble in many different things as an Admin – a veritable Jack of all Trades – and am self-taught in most of it.

One of the things that has popped up for me to dabble in is Tech Writing.

I job shadowed a Tech Writer for about a year.  I really enjoy it (despite the fact that my brother thinks it sounds horribly boring – and this from a programmer!).  It is writing, first and foremost.  It also allows for me to be particular and perfect my work.  I am a constant editor.  I will edit something (like this blog post, for example) dozens of times as I write it, and even once or twice when it is done.  (And then, if I do not publish/submit the piece immediately, I will just keep editing.  This is part of what keeps me hitting the Publish button on my blog!  So that I leave things alone!)  Another big thing about work place writing in particular is tone – being professional. being concise, explaining something without sounding condescending, but still explaining it well enough that someone does not still have unanswered questions when they finish.

As silly as it may sound, I enjoy crafting work emails for just these reasons – whether to a colleague or a customer or a boss or even to a group.

But, I keep asking myself, is Tech Writing what I want to do for the rest of my life?  I dunno.  Is being an Admin what I want to do for the rest of my life?

In all honesty, I still have no idea what I want to be when I grow up.

But I think going back to school, for me, is going to be a great first step in finally answering that question.

~ Effy

7 thoughts on “Academic Effy

  1. Getting my Masters a few years ago saved my life – no one can take your education away from you. It’s the greatest gift to your life you can give. Will encourage you every step of the way.

  2. I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up which is unfortunate since I kind of have grown up, lol. I wanted to be a vet but fear of chemistry=math stopped me, hope Kam doesn’t see that.

    The world could use a good tech writer, I can’t count the times I’ve read technical manuals and thought WHAT WHAT? Are they kidding?

    Whatever course you decide to take is a good one. Except graphic design. Graphic design’s too competitive and EVERYONE thinks they know how to do it.

    • Yah. not looking forward to any math classes. :/ But I agree, Tech Writing calls to me most insistently when I read any kind of instructions that leave me more lost when I am done then when I started. 😛

      My other thought, actually, was Web Design, but a friend reminded me how competitive that is these days too.

      ~ Effy

    • So very true that chemistry = math. I see so very many students struggle in general chemistry not necessarily because the chemistry concepts are challenging but because they can’t get their heads around the algebra involved. And I will confess that I am not a physical chemist because I couldn’t get my head around the advanced calculus (differential equations, boo) involved!

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