Do I regret my degree?

Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

I know I’m not alone when I say that I feel I was placed on a conveyor belt when I entered pre-school. Go to school, graduate, go to college, pursue an advanced degree, get married, get a good paying job, have a family, retire, breathe.

I went straight from pre-school, to K-12 prep school, to college, to graduate school, to internship, to fellowship. Throughout this process, I’ve come to realize that now that I am “done”, I’m 28 – almost 29- and just now starting to work towards some goals.

Feminism is about a woman’s right to chose what she wants. If I could choose, I’d choose to stay at home. Right now, I don’t have that luxury. Maybe I never will but I can dream, can’t I?

With a huge student loan for graduate school, the pressures placed on practitioners by insurance companies which then impacts patient care, working well beyond 40+ hours a week away from home, most days I do regret it. Other days, I love the high-energy dynamic of my job, my colleagues, and the kind words from other staff or patients that fill me with joy and I think to myself, “It’s so worth it!”. To offer some perspective, I have a Psy.D. (Doctor of Psychology) degree in Clinical Psychology.

However, my heart is always at home. I feel, scratch that, I know that if I hadn’t gone into such huge debt for my degree, I’d be in a much different position. I am happiest at home, I am happiest with my family and it truly saddens me that I spend the majority of my life with people, who at the end of the day, are strangers to me.

So – do I regret it? Some days yes, some days no. I may never have a straight answer and the truth of the matter is that, it’s okay. It’s okay to be confused long after you’ve finished your degree. In fact – I think that’s the time that most of us would be confused. When everything becomes reality. It’s no longer textbooks – it’s your day-to-day.

I recently had a brave friend state “I believe in the power of vulnerability”. That’s what drove me to this post. I’m being vulnerable that I’m not sure if I’d do my doctorate all over again.  That I feel bad for wanting to stay home when so many women before me fought for my right to have a the opportunity to work, to go to college, to earn a doctorate. That whenever I say “I’d love to stay home” most friends – particularly females- look down or make a face. However, truly absolutely nothing would make me happier. I daydream about a house and kids and being stay-at-home-mom. The funny things is – this is not new. I have always felt this way. I played house far longer than I’m willing to admit – and I always saw myself at home, taking care of my family.

One of my favorite movies, Mona Lisa Smile, has a quote that sums up how I feel perfectly. Every time I watch it, I get tearful.

Joan Brandwyn: Do you think I’ll wake up one morning and regret not being a lawyer?
Katherine Watson: Yes, I’m afraid that you will.
Joan Brandwyn: Not as much as I’d regret not having a family, not being there to raise them. I know exactly what I’m doing and it doesn’t make me any less smart. This must seem terrible to you.
Katherine Watson:I  didn’t say that.
Joan Brandwyn: Sure you did. You always do. You stand in class and tell us to look beyond the image, but you don’t. To you a housewife is someone who sold her soul for a center hall colonial. She has no depth, no intellect, no interests. You’re the one who said I could do anything I wanted. This is what I want.

Do you ever feel stuck in your career? Do you regret your degree/training? Are you the other way around, are you at home and would love to work outside the home?


Let me know in the comments below!