My all-time favorite quote is; “Don’t go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path” by Ralph Emerson. I found this quote several years ago and immediately felt a rush of warm goose bumps cover me. I realized this quote fit me perfectly. I started my unknown path way back before I left the Amish. I fought to understand why I wasn’t content to stay home and be happy like the rest of my family. To end the fighting with myself, I made an executive decision to stay Amish, get married and shoot out babies, but that decision did not stick. I wasn’t meant to follow a path that was determined for me by rule makers.
When I finally did leave, I didn’t really know where I was headed with my life, I just closed my eyes and let things happen. I made my way into college blindfolded (I had no clue what I was doing) and I enjoyed it immensely. I am one of those nerdy werdy students that take assignments dead serious. If I don’t make good grades I go all Amish crazy on myself. I went to a one room schoolhouse and the education ended at fourteen years old with no choice but to stay home and help with womanly duties in the house—- so I wasn’t about to take my college opportunity for granted. However, there were many times I wanted to quit. My brain almost became unconscious from making way through something that I wasn’t sure was even possible. But I kept going and managed to graduate with a bachelor’s degree with above 3.0 GPA. It was all worth the tears and struggle through the assignments that I had no clue how to do.
I was so ecstatic with my accomplishment I jumped right into graduate school, even though I told the whole world I was done with college forever. I was determined to set myself up for failure somewhere, LOL.. Not really, but after a year of taking grad classes, I just want to take a break from school altogether. All my emotions and energy are exhausted. I feel dead inside. I can’t even feel the Christmas spirit in me this year. If anyone is a Grinch fan, come join me 🙂 Or else save me. I went from a science degree to business (MBA). It was a drastic change. Don’t ask me why I chose business admin, because I don’t even know. If someone asks me what I want to do with my Master’s degree, I tell them “absolutely nothing” why make plans?? I hate making a plan of what I want and then have everything go in the opposite direction. Just like I planned NOT to get my Master’s degree, I immediately went in totally opposite direction. If only I didn’t see that quote, make a path where there are rainbows at the end, or something like that 🙂
Not only am I weary of college, I don’t know how I can afford it anymore. I work over 40 hours a week but if I want a life beyond being homeless, I can’t be paying for classes much longer. I had gotten scholarships during my undergrad degree, but for my Master’s, financial aid is harder to come by. Besides, I don’t know if getting a Master’s is what it’s cracked up to be anyway. So, I am wondering if my exhaustion and lack of support is a sign that I should stop taking classes?? Say yes! Maybe take a long nap and then continue my path later on in life. I have come a long way since leaving the Amish, not knowing where I was supposed to go, I ended up with far more than I envisioned. God had a perfect plan for me back then, even though I didn’t understand it at the time and tried to follow a path that only made sense to me. I am glad I took a different direction.
7 thoughts on “Ironically, Don’t Follow a Path.”
Hi Emma, love seeing your blog. My name is Elam Zook. I’m “ex-Amish”. I’m fifty one years old. Parted ways with the church about twenty years ago. I’d love to hear more about your story! How did you get to be a graduate student at twenty years of age?There are so few good literary depictions of our reality. I’m writing a book too. Wish you well!
Thank you for reading my blog! I honestly don’t know how I made this far in college. I started when I was 19 and have been at it for 6 years,( I am giving away my age)..Lol. Good luck with your book.
Leave it for a while. Get some non-academic experience under your belt before you make your final decision. I finished my undergraduate work in 1969 and then hit the work force. In 1976 Barb and I both decided to go back into academia and get our Masters degrees. We had one very young child and I had to leave a fairly lucrative good job in order to attend. We both made it fine and then I set out to get back on the ladder to a better paying job. We have great memories of that time. Best wishes to you for Christmas and in your pursuits.
Thank You Dennis! I was afraid I’d be crazy to give up taking classes for a while, since people always say it’s so much harder to go back. But maybe not! I hope you Barb are doing well, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen you guys. Merry Christmas to y’all!
Emma, you are really funny! You had me lol and I’m by myself… I like the one “shooting out babies” and “go all Amish crazy on myself.”
But on a more serious note, there is nothing wrong with taking a break from school. If the passion has gone out of it for you, then you are likely not going to get as much from it. Perhaps a year or two down the road, you will renew your passion, or even go in a different direction than you’d planned.
I have every confidence that your brain will not go mushy if you take a break. Life experience can also be a good teacher.
God Bless you, whatever you decide to do.
Emma, I heard you about two and a half years ago at the Scholarship Luncheon at Tarleton. Your story moved me to tears hearing your courage to leave the community and life you knew. I have to tell you that I would have been miserable, had I been in your situation. The traditionalism of it all would have just gotten to me. I believe we have to find our own way the best way we can. You, my girl, are very brave! As far as taking a break from school, I think your brain and body both probably need it. I took a break from college for nine years due to raising my two kids to get them up to elementary school. I realize it’s not the same reason, but I did much better when I went back. I even got my Master’s later on. So give yourself time to find out who you are. You are such an inspiration to me. I wish you well in everything you do. You are doing what you were meant to do.
I know this post is a bit old, but, it is still nice to read how you are learning, changing, thinking and having all these wonderful emotions, joys, and doubts about this thing called Life.
Keep writing, lots of people enjoy it.
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