I'm going to lead a #libleadgender Twitter chat next Wednesday (6/7) at 8pm EDT on making the choice to take on a significant growth opportunity. I know that "significant growth opportunity" is pretty vague but that's intentional since I imagine that it means different things for different people. It might mean joining a leadership or mentoring program. It might mean stepping up to take on a significant volunteer leadership role. Or, if you're like me, it might mean going back to school.
I graduated from library school in December 2004. I had always dreamed of going back to get my PhD, but the time was never right. Three cities and 13 years later, the time is finally right.
At some point during 2016, I decided that it really was time to start taking seriously the idea of going back to graduate school. I spend most of the summer of 2016 studying for the GRE, which I took in November. I pulled together what I thought was a quality application packet and submitted it in December 2016. And then I waited. And worried.
I was afraid that I was too old to be taken seriously as a good candidate for a PhD program. I worried that it had been too long since I'd last been in school and that it would be a red flag for those who reviewed my application. I worried that my GRE scores weren't good enough.
In February 2017, I learned that I'd been accepted to the PhD program I applied to and in the fall I'll begin my course work. I'll continue to work full-time, so I'll be a part-time student and all signs point to the fact that it will likely take me 3 years to complete my course work and 2 years to complete my thesis.
I had to weigh a lot of factors when deciding to put in my application: how would my being in school impact my work? would I be able to be as active as I want to be in ALCTS? what will I have to give up to take this on?
These are the questions I am excited to explore as part of the #libleadgender conversation. How do you know when the time is right to take on something new that feels really enormous? How do you do that really enormous thing while also nurturing the parts of you that already exist and already important to you? And how do gendered expectations for library leaders change how we answer those questions?
Next week, I'll post the questions I intend to use as a conversation starter for our chat. If you are contemplating taking on a significant growth opportunity or if you are already there, I'd love for you to join us!