- Kay Runyan
Installment #2 Malaise
Since I wrote the last blog I have spent a few days reflecting on my life. It certainly keeps the brain busy. I must say my time on this earth has been like a rolling stone. My older brother once said, "Not one blade of grass can grow under Kay's feet." If you have read my memoir you will know that we moved a lot and I spent a great deal of time trying to find my place at the next destination. Well, that kind of life must have imprinted enough on my brain that I continued it as an adult. Some of the choices of moving were because of my significant others, but in the last 28 years I have been the one making the choices, so I will stick to my choices alone. Much of my last few days of reflection has been centered around what has been accomplished with each move. I will start with my move to San Francisco in 1985 from Rescue, CA. I was working as an administrator for a County office of Ed. A new superintendent had been elected and he was bringing in his own management team. I needed to find another job. I interviewed for several and turned them down for various reasons. However, when I saw the opening for a counselor at U.C. Berkeley I decided to go for it. It wasn't administration (which I didn't like anyway) but I saw it as an opportunity to work again with students, my first love. I was also excited about Berkeley and San Francisco as I had never lived in cities of that size and diversity. I moved to S.F. and commuted to Berkley either by car or by muni and BART. My only plan at that time was to start this new job and new place to live. I had no other plans.
Over the next year a plan started to slowly take place in my mind. I had not thought of getting a Ph.D, but realized that this was my chance. Had I known what a challenge that would be I may never have tried it. I just saw it as an opportunity to "seize the moment." I had no clear idea of how I would do it and what to do first. The first step almost made me quit before I even started. I had to take the GRE. It had been 5 years since I had taken it and my score was not stellar. I knew my weakness was math so I hired a math tutor to get me up to speed, or at least in the ball park. I barely got there. The other part was the logic section. I could never figure out those problems, my brain just didn't work that way. I found out that the logic section was not given a lot of weight for the program I was applying to, so I took my tutor's advice and used a system for guessing on the answers for the entire section. Believe it or not that was my 2nd highest score. So much for standardized testing being a predictor of success as that was a totally false score. By the way math was the lowest, but OK. My scores had not been posted prior to my interview with the admittance panel. I thought that was probably a blessing. My only thought was that I must sell myself in that interview. I already had a Masters and my G.P.A. fit all the requirements but I was applying at a top notch university with a lot of competition. I later learned that out of many applicants only 5 were accepted. I guess I sold myself in that nerve racking interview.
I'm going to end this blog now as it is getting too long. The big accomplishment from that move was earning my Ph.D. and believe me anyone who has a Ph.D. has certainly earned it. If the rigorous requirements don't do you in, the politics can. It's a long road. Stay tuned for installment #3.