I wish I could tell you what a decisive and bold soul I was, marching right up to my husband and announcing my return to higher education and beginning a new career. You’ll be delighted to know, dear reader, that I am just as uncertain and fearful as most.
My certainty grew over time. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. While toiling away at my miserable jobs, I was visualizing myself doing the kind of work I saw when I observed the speech therapists in action. I would imagine what it would be like to go back to school. Daydreams began to sneak into my sleep as I saw myself constantly on a journey or a quest for something I knew was within my reach.
Once I felt pretty certain that I wanted to pursue a career in speech therapy, I knew my next step was to get my husband on board. I couldn’t imagine going back to get a master’s degree unless Scott was behind me 100%. Going back to school was going to be hard enough, I didn’t want marital trouble compounding the stress. I’d need his emotional and financial support more than ever. Sure, you can do it on your own, but it’s a lot harder. Besides, I didn’t want to mess up a good thing.
I’m so incredibly fortunate to be in an awesome marriage with someone who reciprocates the same respect, admiration, passion and appreciation that I feel for him. If he didn’t see the value of getting the degree and a new career, I’d have to take a hard look at my decision and my marriage simultaneously. If he was strongly against an action such as that, it would be for solid reasons that I might have overlooked, not just some emotional insecurity or egotistical bologna. (Don’t get me wrong. He has a VERY healthy ego. But he tends to use his powers for good rather than evil.) All things considered, if I couldn’t provide the solid facts and a convincing enough argument to get him to agree that it’s the best move for us, I shouldn’t be going to graduate school in the first place.
But there was no One Shot Wonder conversation where everything was decided. Like quitting smoking (I’ll have to blog about THAT experience some time) it was a gradual progression of questions, discoveries and decisions.
Conversations with my husband increasing turned to career choices, my dissatisfaction with just “working”, our financial future and ways we could make things better, faster. There was really no big MEETING. The strength of our relationship is our constant and incredibly honest communication. We don’t ask “What’s wrong?” without expecting a real answer and “Fine.” is not an acceptable end to a conversation. (Works with kids, too. Drives ’em nuts!) Like many couples, we talk in bed, in the shower, when preparing meals, doing chores, riding in the car and occasionally over email while we’re at work. As we went along over the course of a few months, I would bring up new points and hear his objections and concerns. Then I’d go back to my computer, do some research and bring the answers I found into our next everyday discussion.
The biggest objection to overcome was the “return on investment”. The media is constantly talking about the increasing number of unemployed and underemployed graduates who are defaulting on their student loans. Scott’s initial view of a master’s degree was something general, like an MBA, that didn’t have any specific career path linked to its completion. Once I explained that this degree was training me for a specific set of skills in an industry which had a need for more practitioners and a 95+% employment rate of graduates (varying between university websites), he was more interested in hearing more. When I showed him the salary range on the employment page of our local hospital system relative to the cost of the degree at two colleges in our area, he was even more interested. After that, it was all logistics.