Life has been pretty insane lately. I had three job interviews last week (that ranged from good, to "oh god, how badly did I fuck that up?") and finished a paper this weekend that had been delayed by my hard drive crashing. I was supposed to be working on a take home midterm today, but I've been thinking of dropping that class for a while (I don't need it for the master's and while I wanted to have it out of the way if I decide to come back and finish the PhD, I don't think I've been doing well enough for it to even count for what I wanted). Not wanting to write the midterm finally forced me to make up my mind, and I'm definitely dropping the class. And I think it's the right thing to do - I need that time and energy for my job search, which is more important right now, and as of now I'm leaning towards not coming back for the PhD. But I still feel bad. I've never dropped a class before and I just feel lazy and guilty and the Professor has been a huge mentor to me and is one of the nicest people in the world.
And it's just got me thinking. I'm 100% positive that taking this leave of absence from the PhD is the right thing for me to do right now, and I'm excited about making more money and doing something new and not worrying about my future in academia 24/7. But I've also had my identity tied up in getting a PhD for all of my adult life. And when I decided to drop the class I was sort of like, "sweet! Don't have to write that midterm! But...what do I do now?" And what if I feel that way when I leave my program? It's been miserable, but where will my sense of purpose come from? The jobs I'm applying to right now are just that: jobs. I mean, I'm lucky as hell that I've been able to find some opportunities (well, knock on wood, nothing's finalized yet, but things are looking good) where I could make decent money, build my skill set, and work in supportive environments. But I'm definitely not passionate about it. And I always thought I'd do something more meaningful, you know? And on the other hand, maybe I'm just being a total snob because everyone has to work, and they don't always get to do something world-changing, but that doesn't mean what they're doing isn't important. Blergh. Sorry if this is all over the place. Just needed to rant a bit.