Baby Bird Time

fighting imposter syndrome one blog post at a time

Month: May 2016

Grad School, Part 2

So here’s the part I didn’t mention about the graduate program: when I spoke with the admissions counselor back when I found it, she told me that they limit the number of tuition exchange students that are accepted each year/term. I told her that while I was very motivated, I wasn’t in a hurry, and I would wait as long as it took for a spot to open up.

But every time I thought about it or looked at the webpage, I felt the same excitement. Just that thrill of this is it, this is the next right thing. I haven’t felt that in a school/professional capacity in a long time. I don’t know if I’ve felt it at all in any capacity in a long time. And as much as I don’t want to do anything, and as much as I want to start all the projects at once (blogs! Lifebooks! Coloring books! Videos! Photobooks! oh spring, the things you do to me), I’m excited about it. I know it will be difficult. I know it is another degree that will not help my ability to find a lucrative career in any way. But I want it. Intensely.

So the tuition exchange limit was starting to frustrate me.

And then I had the crazy thought, borderline magical thinking thought, if I could write a really good admissions essay then maybe they would want me, and they would be like, we like you! Come to school anyway! We want to recruit you because you are so cool and awesome! Look at your knowledge already!

This is the baggage of growing up watching too many Disney Channel original movies – this starts to seem like a plausible scenario.

I wrote an essay, and then I chopped it up and cut it down to fit the 500 word limit. I threw out my first few drafts and finally winged it. I made sure it was moderately structured. I quoted Harry Potter and Dr. Karyn Purvis. I stopped avoiding using the “I’m a foster parent” reason and told the truth – I want this degree for my own education, and I want this degree to be able to speak more authoritatively for the sake of my children.

I got my (academic) acceptance, which was no surprise in any way, and yet even then I was oddly anxious about it. Even though I already have a master’s degree (summa cum laude, yo) and the requirements are a bachelor’s degree with a 3.0. I was nervous. But acceptance didn’t mean I could start any time soon.

The admissions counselor called me today and she said they received my official transcripts (I was accepted based on a copy/paste of my unofficial transcripts), and also that she had spoken with her HR (?) director and congratulations, they had decided to offer me acceptance as a tuition exchange student for Fall term. The director “was so moved” by my personal statement they decided to let me start in Fall.


I started crying on the phone, because I’m a grown up and I do what I want.

So come September, I’m going to have to actually do things!

Two things

I’ve got two ideas competing (or not – perhaps they are working hand in hand) for my ability to hyperfocus and fixate on them.

a disclaimer:
guys, it’s spring
and I have coffee

FIRST! I want to start a blog. I know, I know. How many times. So many times. Except this time it’s real. I sound like a lovestruck teenager. THIS ONE’S REAL. No, but seriously, this one is. This one’s paid for. I spent actual money. More than I wanted! And I have feeeeeelings. Just this overwhelming drive and rightness, like okay, it’s time.

Which has meant that I’ve done some messing around here and there, and I’ve got two full pages of post titles. I haven’t bothered to actually write any of them beyond throwing down a title to remind myself, but! Baby steps! I’ve signed up for mailing lists, yo! I’ma check out books from the library! I WAS BORN TO DO THIS! etc etc

SECOND! I really want a doctorate, but I can’t have one because I’m poor and lazy, and my main reasons for wanting one are when pre-friendβ„’ told the story of her kid’s IEP meeting in which she was getting angry, said she needed to step outside for a minute, took a break, and came back and said, “I’m going to need to ask you to call me doctor.”

And that is what I want. I want to be able to say exactly that and also be like, well, I did my dissertation on xyz thing and now you will listen to me.

But see above: lazy and also: poor.

So I found another master’s program. I even considered another bachelor’s, just to be able to say “I have a degree in this real subject” and not youth ministry, but bachelor’s programs are way too much work. I found a master’s program in early childhood education with a specialization in trauma.And while it’s not my dream program, it’s potentially free and it’s online. And it provides me with the main things I want, which are guided graduate level study in early childhood trauma, and more importantly, a credential to throw around when the school system tries to get sassy.

I’m An Expert in This Kid

I need to say this now before I lose my nerve.

It crystallized in my head this morning but it has been brewing there for a long time, I think without me knowing.

It’s bold and scary to even acknowledge mentally to myself because I know how much I screw up.

I’ve seen threads and approximations of this idea in a few places that always resonated with me – that professionals may know a lot of things, but as a parent, I know my kid. I am fully on board with this idea. I also read the line somewhere – and I wish I could remember where – that I may not have a degree in xyz, but I have a Ph.D. in this kid.

I liked that one especially, because I’ve done the equivalent of an advanced degree in reading and studying over the past two years. I took it as not a flippant disregard for advanced degrees – I love advanced degrees and can’t get enough of them – but as an adequate description of the amount of time and effort I have put in.

So this is my terrifying revelation right now, if only because realizing it in these words make its scary:

If you do not have a background or education in trauma (particularly child trauma), I am more qualified than you in regards to my kid.

Do you know (no, you don’t) how utterly terrifying that is for me as someone with imposter syndrome and a degree in youth ministry and higher education?

Do you know that that very terror is the thing that makes me feel deeply within me that I am right? That if, as someone who spent college studying concordances and grad school studying student retention, I can begin to learn, so should you? If I throw out particular studies or professionals or terms and you don’t know what I am talking about, that’s on you?

This is the stuff that consistently makes sense. This is the stuff that consistently provides a framework that gives meaning to my kids’ behavior. I do not want to be the most qualified person in the room because I know how terribly unqualified I am. I know how much more I want to learn and need to learn. I am desperate like a person dying of thirst to not be the one taking the lead on some of this. But I’m sick of pretending otherwise.

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