I have been quiet for a bit, but I’m hoping to get back into the swing of things.
Right now I am working on putting together a CV. The process is… enlightening. Initially I wrote “awful” there instead of enlightening.
The (enlightening? awful?) thing about writing a CV as compared to the dozens of resume drafts I’ve produced over the years is that it’s much more reminiscent of two years ago, when I was beginning to think about grad school and writing statements of purpose: they’re so focused on the future, on what you will do instead of what you have done.
I’ve never been very open about my grad school search because frankly, it wasn’t very good, even though (by all accounts) it was supposed to be. The whole thing was actually very symbolic of a problem I’ve had my whole life, one that I think I’m finally starting to shake off, although my goodness, has it been difficult.
The long story short is that I applied to higher ed/student affairs programs without thinking very hard about it because it seemed like that was where I should go, when the truth is that that wasn’t where I wanted to be. I had always been good at school. How could I not get in?
I’ve always been good at school, usually without trying too hard – I just never realized how much of a double-edged sword it would prove to be when the years of not-enough-effort caught up to me and the world demanded: what do you want to be? where do you want to go? what do you want to do? and while other people, you know, knew the answer to that question, I could only think: I don’t know? this?
Which is, of course, the worst possible answer. It shows in the personal statements I wrote for that first round of applications. I didn’t show my statements to anybody for review, contrary to what I knew was the best thing to do, and the reason I didn’t show anybody was because I am a good writer but the content just wasn’t there. You can add an apostrophe here and switch out a phrase there, but you can’t hide what was glaring in those early statements of purpose: there wasn’t a purpose.
The first round didn’t go well. I didn’t get accepted to the schools I applied to, and I half-heartedly didn’t even apply to half the schools I’d selected, knowing that something wasn’t right. Too late I found counseling. All the deadlines had passed before I figured out which program I was truly passionate about, and I was backed into a corner of “take a year off, or start at your alma mater”. The idea of taking a year off was so distasteful that truthfully I don’t think I considered it an option (although, funny enough, two years later I can think of a million ways I could have filled that time). And that’s how I came to start a master’s at the school I’d finished my undergrad.
I’m halfway through my master’s program’s coursework right now. A year from now I’ll start a round of practicum and internships and every day I feel like I’m closer to a purpose. I can articulate more clearly what I want to do with my life now than I’ve ever been able to before. But the CV is throwing a wrench into everything. It’s forcing me to dig deeper and thrust my entire life into the light – enclosed please find an archeological record of everything I’ve done, with dates affixed to show my varying levels of commitment. It feels more like geology than anything I’ve done since I closed my notebook on my last sedimentology lab the week before receiving my diploma. And yet.
This last year, I have been focusing on getting things right. And probably rightfully so – my first year in a new program, and really (for me) an entirely new field. Last week, I finished my last “beginner” class – theories of counseling. The goal was to “begin to develop a theoretical orientation”. (More on this later.) I think that’s a perfect demarcation into a second year – a year that right here and right now I devote to digging deeper, to developing my own purpose, to applications. I’m starting a CV to keep myself accountable. I’d like to upload it later this week. I’d like to update it regularly.
No more excuses. I’m in the groove, I know the neighborhood. I bought a desk lamp last month, for crying out loud* – I am 100% ready to start finding a voice.
(*Not a euphemism. I have just always thought that people with desk lamps have it together, and I certainly didn’t break down and buy one just so I could shatter my own reality perception.)