Sunday, October 21, 2012

So what the fork now?

Sorry, I just couldn’t resist that pun:  Fork as in fork in road, not the F-word!   My goodness!!   My beloved mother and husband want me to quit studying.   I don’t think I want to quit studying although the thought of another 5 solid years studying alone in my beautiful study is pretty scary.   Beautiful study as in gorg, not being sarky.   I have painted the walls a fresh lemony lime green and made blinds with turquoise blue, beige and green funky flowers patterned on them.   I have cool framed collages of old photographs on the walls.  Eighties I know but fun to play remember when with.    I have an antique oak desk for work and then in the middle of the room, a 6 seater wooden table which I study on or use for crafts with the kids.    I have a massive sign which I mosaic’d in mirror that says ABUNDANCE.  The irony of that word in one of the toughest years in my life is fodder for another blog post!  Alongside one of the large windows are 2 tall wooden shelves for my books, files and crafty stuff.  Perched on top is the stalk which reminds me of my 18 months spent doing surrogacy coordination.   My study is my happy retreat place. 

But I digress.  The studying.  I study for several reasons.  A sense of purpose and structure in a time when the rest of my life feels like mercury in my hands.  Slippery, uncontrollable, foreign.    I study because the subjects I learn are genuinely interesting and force me out my comfort zone.  I have to challenge the way I think and perceive things.  I have to broaden my world view and learn how others perceive and believe things.   I get to know new stuff, cool!     I study because it’s what I should have done 23 years ago yet I feel it’s never too late to do what we want to do.   I study for the future prospect of a career that gives me some independence.  The past 2 years have taught me that life is unpredictable and being totally dependent on anyone is not a good thing to be.  I have seen marriages as solid as the mountains crumble, people more alive and vital than anyone I know die.    I have had 4 friends lose their husbands:   an accidental tragic death, an affair leaving her with 3 young kids, brain cancer that finally stole him away and then a suicide from someone we all thought was happy and around forever.   I cannot foolishly presume I am immune from such things and I cannot live in anticipatory fear of them either.   I can be practical though and ensure policies are in place.   Wills and trusts are done and I have someone to raise my kids if need be.  I can ensure I am more independent.    Do I sound morbid?    When death comes so close to us and we see the hearts break of those we love, we cannot but help fear for our own hearts, our own families.

So these are my options:  I continue with Unisa.  The plus is the subjects are interesting, the flexibility and the opportunity to tailor make my degree is attractive.  My second major is psychology.  I can study in my own time at home and work around the kids.  I have already done the 1st year.  The big minus is it’s lonely and isolating.  The actual Unisa system is frustrating and it would take me another FIVE years.   For the next 5 years this is my life, every day at least 4 hours and then in exam time full on.   But I get to wear that graduation gown eventually.  I can only imagine the sense of achievement I would feel.  So proud of myself!

Option 2.  I go to Stellenbosch University.    Bonus:  A real life varsity with students and lectures on a campus.   Interaction, discussions, life, new people.   It would only take me 4 years but the subjects are more broad and I know the work I want to get into so not sure if that would work.   Non bonus is sticking out like a very old thumb on a very young hand.    Being stuck 5 days a week with the likes of Daniel, Robert, Prisca, Keagan, Carmin.  I love my son and his mates but in small controlled doses.    Could I really sit in lectures with 18 and 19 year old children every day?   I like young people and they like me.   I am a young 41 year old but I am still 41 and very much a mother.   When I went to hotel school I had done 2 years of modelling and traveling first and felt much older than everyone else.  At TWENTY!    I kicked arse though because I had that little bit of maturity and self discipline.   Shit, I just don’t know.   How would the lecturers view me?  Intimidating?  Irritating?  Embarrassing?   I speak to someone in the faculty on  Monday so will have a real think.

And then option 3:  I stop studying all together.  Give it up and decide what else to do.  I will probably get some kind of part time half day work.  I would like to earn some money again to feed my travel habit ad have that independence.     It’s sort of attractive, the thought of having my life back and not having to be so self-disciplined all the time.  Freedom!
What do you chickens think I should do?   What would you do?   I must say the fact that I have done this 1st year in one of the toughest in my life does inspire me to continue.   I got knocked over time and time again but I didn’t stay down and I didn’t give up.  For stubborn determined me that counts as something.    Oh what the FORK to do???


  1. Mel,

    I am not going to lie, the thought of stopping and having that freedom back sounds soooo good.

    You've come SO far. Whatever you decide don't stop. It has to be your decision though.
    I say go to Stellenbosch and see, hear and feel what it's all about. Don't worry about what others will say or think. If you are comfortable and you think it will work for you then go for it!!

    If not, you have done well so far on Unisa. If you consider how busy your life is (without studying) then I think you have done remarkably well. You really are an inspiration.

    Why not do a "pro's and cons" list of each and see where it takes you?
    Remember to add to your list that with Stellenbosch you won't have the freedom and flexibility that you have now (for all your mom and wife activities). Not sure if that is a pro or con.

    Whatever YOU decide will be the right choice. I think you've done fab!! You rock!! You can do this!!!

    I will miss having you as a study busy should you leave Unisa but seeing as you are ahead of me now I guess that is more for me than for you :P


  2. I can't comment from my own experience but I think UNISA fits with your life right now. Could you have contact with other students about your age, 3 or 4 of you? You could get together and just talk study. No kids, no hubbys, no health issues. That could be refreshing for you.

    You will do what is right for you. Xxxx

  3. Don't stop studying! My vote is for s/bosch