I've come to the following conclusion: had I to do it over again, I wouldn't come to graduate school. I wouldn't pursue my doctorate. I would remain in my classroom and teach, reading and writing in the hours afterward. It's an uneasy conclusion to arrive at, especially since my institution has been kind enough to support me during my time here. Please don't confuse this as being ungrateful; I'm not. I am unsure that what I gained is more valuable than what I gave up. Damned hindsight.
I've been working at a local elementary school as a reading teacher the past few weeks, working with a small group of students before school lets out for the summer holiday, and am reminded of the rush when that certain circuit connects in a child's brain. Suddenly, the symbols on the page not only make sense but they mean something. I've missed these tiny epiphanies. I've missed the social-ness of teaching. Being a scholar is such isolating work. I am not an isolated person.
My qualifying exams begin in three days. Thirty days, three questions, sixty pages. I keep thinking about the whole experience, wondering why the hell I'm doing this to myself.