Juggling act

Nicole Guttermuth

Nicole Guttermuth

A New Day

by Nicole Guttermuth

Em loves America’s Got Talent and recorded it religiously on the DVR this summer so she could watch it at her leisure.

Early on in the competition there was a female contestant who held bowls in each hand and flipped them into the air, catching the bowls in perfect balance atop her head, while riding a unicycle.

I can’t imagine being able to ride a unicycle or catch anything with my hands let alone my head, but metaphorically speaking, I feel like I do this juggling act on a daily basis and my fear is that, one of these days, something has got to give – one of those bowls is going to come crashing down and shatter into pieces all around me.

Ever the over-achiever, I decided (not completely on my own – I did pray about it first) to enroll in a Ph.D. program. Add that to two jobs, single parent-hood and navigating the unchartered waters of everyday life and voila! – a recipe for disaster. Perhaps. Believe me; I will let you know how it goes.

I am a nerd. I have always, always loved school. Since my very first day of kindergarten sitting criss-cross applesauce on the floor in front of Mrs. Hillman while she read us stories and took a drag off her inhaler with each turn of the page.

Maybe it isn’t school – the institution – as much as it is my love of learning of growing in knowledge.

A friend asked me if having my PhD would increase my salary so I can pay off my student loans (and I do have my fair share), and the answer to that question is probably not, but I’ve never done anything or placed a monetary value on success – that is not what drives and motivates me if that makes sense.

Obviously, I am well aware that I have to have a paycheck, but earning a PhD isn’t about that for me – it is about finishing what I started and pursing my goals and dreams for myself. Achieving the goals we set for ourselves, having ambition – this is what I want to teach my daughters, isn’t it?

And so it goes … in a few weeks time I will embark on this new learning adventure in my life. Truth be told, I am giddy with excitement. I am finally setting out to work on a personal goal I set my sights upon years ago.

I know this means I’ve yet another bowl to try to gracefully flip into the air and balance on my head, while riding a unicycle, but I am up for the challenge. Wish me luck!