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I nearly didn’t get the Alphabytes“M” written, because I’ve been more than a bit wallowed down in the mood of the topic, and have been feeling quite frankly antisocial. I’ve got a tendency for depression and a lot of stress right now, and occasionally I just feel trapped and hopeless and despondent. So, here I am, churning in black bile, bitter, introspective, and generally grumpy and indisposed toward light banter and pleasantries. If you want to skip this entry, do feel free. I would if I were you.

I don’t know what my damn problem is. Just tired and stressed and burnt out. Too broke, sick of my job, feeling useless. Mostly it is the job thing, and general burnout, though the fact that we can’t seem to keep up and keep even with the bills and household expenses is getting more than a little tiresome. I just have to face the fact that we’re a low income couple and can’t expect to pay the bills and have anything left over afterward, even if we don’t indulge in any extravagances. Meh.

As far as the job goes, most of the time I like my job okay. I mean, it isn’t much of a job, but they keep paying me and it can be pretty interesting sometimes, but sometimes it hits home to me how much I hate working on the phone, and the petty office drama and politics just makes my head explode, and the monotony of filing, and just the whole pointless treadmill of the entire shebang just takes all the starch out of me. Mostly, it chaps my hide to understand that about 1/6 of my income goes into paying back my student loans and that I am getting exactly no good whatsoever out of all of the work, time, passion, and expense of my education.

Don’t bother telling me that the point of a liberal education isn’t to make a lot of money, it is to broaden the mind, because I already know that, and when I am not depressed, I do appreciate the scope my dilettante education has given me, but on those days when I am trying to decide if it would be okay to be a week late with the light bill or transfer money out of my savings account to cover it, don’t talk to me about enriching educational experiences, okay? I can’t get a teaching job because I don’t have a teaching certificate, and I have looked into going back to school for certification and cannot afford it. I can’t teach at private schools because I don’t agree with private education, and besides which, the pay isn’t really much better than what I get as a receptionist, anyway. I’d more than happily take a job copyediting, but at the moment nobody seems to be hiring. Those are the two options I hear mentioned the most, and the one I can’t pursue, and the other doesn’t seem to be an opportunity at the moment.

I can’t help but feel disgusted that I didn’t know any better than to get a BA in English literature, and then go on like a mad person and get an MA in Medieval studies. Was I high? (Rhetorical question, I wasn’t high, but the way I am, nobody can actually tell the difference). What the fucking hell was I thinking. I should have at least gotten a journalism major or a teaching endorsement or something that proved I was a potentially productive member of society. And as regards the MA–did you ever make a bad decision, and while you were making the decision, you were thinking, “Oh shit, man, this one is going to come back to haunt me?” Well, I had the “Wow, this is a really bad idea” feelings of ookiness when I was applying to grad school, and an abnormal case of jitters during the summer before I went off to grad school, and now I wish I had gone with that “Woah, Michelle, step back sister” impulse, because all grad school did was put me hellishly in debt, destroy any confidence I had managed to build around my intellect, suck up two years of my life, and leave me with a degree that the world views as a punchline and I bear as a chip on my shoulder. Yeah I have an MA in Medieval Studies. Want fries with that pigfucker?

Two people whom I admire, Wench and Mimi Smartypants have both looked over the abyss of grad school and stepped back. I distinctly remember looking down the barrel of this Bad Idea and fingering the metaphorical trigger and thinking, “man, I don’t know…” and that is one thought one should take seriously. I know it was a bad idea, and I knew that nothing very certain would be awaiting me at the end of grad school, and I knew I would be in bad debt, and I knew I would be surrounded by people a lot smarter, more prepared, and competitive than me, but I thought, “Fuck all y’all, maybe I will succeed,” and while I got my degree, it was a Pyrrhic victory when all is said and done. The time, the money, the confidence, all for a singularly silly and useless degree. What the everloving hell was I thinking?

This article says damn near everything I wish I could say. I wish there was some sort of “shadowing” program that all English Majors in universities could take part on, kinda like “Take Your Daughter To Work Day,” only maybe it could be something more like “Honestly, Get A Second Major,” where afflicted students were placed with the ranks of graduated English Majors who have since found themselves in jobs that have nothing to do with their degrees, require no skills whatsoever, and barely pay off the debts they incurred as students.

Look, I know as how we’re not suppose to have regrets, that we’re supposed to embrace all the pitfalls and fuckups that made us who we are, etcetera, but dammit, how exactly can I feel so happy slappy when I’m up to my neck in financial distress because of some extremely daft choices I made resulting in a useless degree and a monthly reminder of my poor judgement and folly in the form of a little booklet of payment slips to send off to that bitch Sallie Mae?

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