Hardest. Decision. Ever.

I am really thinking about taking some time off from working on my master’s in mass communications. I say “taking time off” because I don’t want to say the word “quit.” I have come to realize that perhaps the result is not worth the sacrifice. I knew going in that when I got the master’s degree I would not automatically get a raise or a new career. I love my job right now. I think I started the degree when I was at the hospital because, even though I liked it there, I was not where I wanted to be career-wise. Now I feel that I am more on the right path.

I love my job. I love being a writer. One day, I would like to be an editor.

This does not require a master’s degree.

I feel like I am devoting all of my free time, what little of it I have, to school. There are times when I feel that it is holding me back from excelling at my job. Sometimes I would like to take stuff home from work to work on, but I can’t because I have homework.

I just really want to focus on my career, or on my LIFE, right now, and I don’t think that being in school is going to help much. Or any.

I talked to my boss about it, and she thinks that the only reason I’d need the master’s is if one day I’d like to teach, or if I want to go back into corporate America and move up the ranks. No thanks.

Plus, I can always go back, right?

The reasons I don’t want to quit? I don’t like quitting. I consider myself intelligent, I think others do, too, but for some reason I feel that I need a higher degree to validate that. (How’s that for doing it for all the wrong reasons?)

Also, I don’t want people to think I couldn’t handle it. I could handle it. I am handling it. I got my mid-semester grades today and I am making As in both classes.

I can handle the work and the subject matter. But the time I give up for it vs. what I get in return is not convincing anymore. I should not dread school; I have always loved it. But all of this theory and research and reading several hundred pages every week is just not cutting it anymore.

And knowing that there is a 99% chance nothing will change when I finish the degree (career wise), there isn’t much incentive left.

I think I am also a bit competitive with Ian, as he’s working on his master’s in biostatistics now. But it’s not the same program, so I need to stop feeling like I am less worthy if I quit. When he gets his master’s he’ll be able to move into a whole new career — that’s what he wants and needs. Not getting my master’s doesn’t make me less intelligent than him, does it? It can’t be that black and white. Everyone is intelligent in their own way, and I can’t even compete with him and his crazy-smart math brain. I know where I excel, and he knows where he (realllly) excels. He really is too cool for school. :)

So… if I’ve got my career already, what the hell am I doing punishing myself over this? Why is it so hard for me to just leave the program? I don’t have to burn any bridges… I can always go back if I need to.

I feel like I spent so much time in undergrad working or doing stuff for school that I missed out on some fun. I am afraid of the last of my 20s slipping away with my nose buried in books. I rarely leave the house on weekends anymore so that I can scramble to read my readings and write my papers. I am behind on everything in my life.

Why do I equate death with stopping? Isn’t it ok for me to NOT have 600 things going at once? Isn’t it ok for me to have a life? A hobby? Time to focus on myself and on my career? Does it mean I’m lazy if I actually have time to breathe?