For the second guest post, in a serious of guest posts from women whom I admire I just knew I had to invite Vanisha from Vanisha's Life in Australia. I have been a long admirer of Vanisha and her blog, in some ways our lives have many parallels. Even though Vanisha is young enough to be my daughter, I feel as if I have so much I can learn from her. I just hope one day our lives will converge and we can meet in real time. Make sure you pop over to Vanisha's blog and say hello.
What Will I Do With My Education
Julie invited me to be part of her Educating Women Series at a moment where my days seem to be consumed by education of the formal variety. I'm 27 years old, and I am currently 12 weeks shy of submitting my doctoral thesis. I have been in university for almost nine years and have attained numerous qualifications. The PhD was something I wanted to do for me - to push myself and because I love nothing more than writing, research and reading. Now, as I come to the end of this journey I am often asked what I'm going to do next.
For the longest time, I thought I was going to be a mum. I figured that in the final year of my PhD I would be beautifully round and pregnant. A few months ago I found out that that it would not be the case. You can read my infertility related posts here.
Motherhood was something I was going to do for the next few years. It was something I wanted more than anything. "You're doing a PhD so that you can stay home and have children?" Yes. And No. I'm doing a PhD because I can. And I can have a PhD and stay at home. I'm allowed to choose that. To have a career. Or not. To stay at home. Or not. Or to do both. I just wanted to stay at home.
Now, things are a little different. I'm considering a few things. Blogging full time. I love my blog, I love what I've done with it, the friends I've made and the connections and relationships I've fostered. I'm considering teaching (primary or secondary school) - ie - studying more. To be able teach I'd have to do a Diploma in Education. I'm tossing up ideas.
This "indecision" is not because I don't know who I am or what I want to do. I think it's because I have a strong sense of who I am and have a firm belief that I will excel at things that I am passionate about. And I am passionate about a few things. So there is my dilemma. I know what I'm good at, and I know what I love (though some of the things I really love I'm not really good at...yet).
I will however do two things with my education. I will make a difference in my country, even in a small way. It maybe in the form of a teacher at a school, a mentor, a researcher or perhaps I will take thislittle reading space initiative and turn it into something much bigger. I am determined to make a difference. This is necessary.
The reading space I helped set up
The other thing I will do with my education is more personal, and it is to respect, own and enjoy my right to decide on my path. The education I have had may have been an "opportunity" but I had to make the opportunity work. The entire process is filled with my work, struggles, hopes and joys. I got me to this point - though obviously not on my own - and because of this I will not feel bad or guilty that I may be 'wasting' all this talent or education by deciding to be a blogger or a clown or whatever I decide! I will make a difference in my own way.
I think it's important not to assume that just because a person is well educated that they seek a career. Some do and some don't and that choice and decision needs to be respected. I understand why people say that I must do certain things because there is no one else - believe me I understand, especially in places like the Pacific. Taking up an academic position or public office is not the only way to contribute. There are people who want these things and I strongly encourage that they continue studying and working towards these goals. But it's just as important to support, or at least respect, those who wish to contribute in other, perhaps more unconventional, ways. My education is a significant part of who I am, but it is not the only part.
Please Note: Images and words are Vanisha's unless otherwise indicated.