I always had a vague sense that I would go to grad school someday.
As an art major, I usually envisioned myself pursuing an MFA. I imagined late nights in the studio in paint-spattered jeans, feverishly slinging color onto canvas, bringing brilliant ideas to life—leading to the happily-ever-after art career of my dreams.
But I knew that an MFA was no guarantee of success, and that after leaving the safe haven of school, I would be back to figuring out how to balance my creative work with other facets of my life. I also realized that I very much liked having a job with a regular paycheck (who knew?!). I wasn’t sure I had the skills—or gumption—to trade that in for the pursuit of an unknown.
As I grappled with these competing ideas about my future, I spent the present living, making art, and exploring new things that sparked my interest. I got involved with an urban community garden. I took mandolin lessons. I was employed as a sexual health educator, then a social media specialist, and then a copywriter. I learned to SCUBA dive. I made my own mustard. I also helped raise my stepdaughter and instilled in her a love of creativity.
When I came across the term “multipotentialite”—someone with a variety of passions that can’t be neatly contained with one label—I realized that it described me and my persistent curiosity. It was no wonder I wrestled with the idea of an advanced degree—it felt like choosing one of my interests and jettisoning the rest. What I really wanted to do was to make space for all the different parts of me. I wanted to have the choice to follow my curiosity and explore a variety of paths.
I think that’s why the Bolz Center’s MA-ACE program resonated with me so strongly. In this degree, I saw a program that would nurture the multipotentialite in me while cultivating both my creative and business skills. A springboard for my many passions, allowing me to figure out new ways to have a sustainable career doing things that I love. And on top of that, an opportunity to become a confident leader capable of creating meaningful change in my community.
Though I am only a few weeks into the first semester, I can already see how my experiences will impact different areas of my life. For example, learning business skills will help me strengthen my entrepreneurial mindset so that I can build that art career of my dreams. Developing my leadership skills will help me take on new initiatives in my job as Manager of Copywriting at Artful Home. And learning how nonprofits work will help me be an effective volunteer at organizations like Upper Sugar River Watershed Association, where I was a stream monitor this summer. The capacities that I am developing now will help me in innumerable ways as I explore different paths and follow my curiosity over the course of my life.
I am proud to say that at age 38, I am going to grad school like I always thought. My trajectory may have been completely different from what I imagined fifteen years ago. But it is exactly where I want to be.