I have decided to not attend grad school. If I had made this decision two years ago, I doubt I would have handled it as well as I am. A Ph.D. was my goal for years, was my sense of direction and purpose. To reach that high standard meant I would have a legitimate voice in academia--the chance to influence the world paper by paper and student by student. Although I believe I have the intelligence and writing skills to complete a Ph.D., I have struggled the past couple years to find the discipline I need to succeed. As last semester waned and the GRE approached, I didn't have the important details in order. I hadn't studied for the exam and I was lax in my classes. I only needed one class to graduate, yet I kept myself on the precipice and finished with a C. I showed no where near the resolution and attention to detail I should have. So I called it off.
Maybe it's best for a break. Maybe I should live for a bit and do some reflecting and wandering. Some searching and seeking. I don't know what I'm looking for, but I know it will reveal itself.
I've always had big dreams, and I don't know who I'd be if I lost them. Is this preoccupation with reaching for something grand simply my desire to distinguish myself from average? To prove to myself my individual and unique significance? That out of the billions and trillions of human lives lived, my personal story still carries weight?
I have thought a lot lately about the question of significance. What is the significance of each individual life? Naturally and unintentionally, we each are at the center of our experienced universe. We comprehend the world through the lens of our personal histories, and thusly create personal realities. What gives any of these realities significance? What gives anything in existence significance?
Last year I lost an important person to suicide. I have wondered again and again about the pieces of his story that I missed. I always felt he kept some torment out of sight, and now I will never know what it was. I've asked myself about what he learned lying on his deathbed for a week before passing. Were his thoughts, which can never be recovered, analyzed, or retold, still significant? Since they can never impact this world that continues, do they not carry weight?
Then what of the significance of stars? Are the unseen, unexperienced parts of the universe insignificant? Are the trillions upon trillions of worlds, suns, and galaxies only valuable as mysterious scenery?
There can be no way that only humans are significant. And deep in every being something screams that they are, or wishes desperately to be so. If humans are indeed significant, then all the unknown must be as well. Every particle crumb, known or unknown, in all of existence, must carry weight.
I believe that existence guarantees significance.