Making a life changing choice feeling conflicted, anxious and slightly insane…

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    Hello! So I am proud to say I have been accepted to two graduate school and I have been offered a promotion at work. I am very proud of all of these options but making a choice is making me go crazy! I have stressed myself out so much that I made myself sick. I am 27 years old and I have been regressing back to when I was 8 years old and any stress or panic made me sick! I would appreciate any advice you might have on how to make the right choice.

    Here is more background. I graduated from my undergrad university with a BFA in Theater Directing. I returned home to Chicago because it made financial sense and had a lot of theater options. I found a job working as a receptionist for a department at a University and over the last 5 years I have moved to managing the finances for the department. I was able to do theater at night but after directing a few shows I found I was board. I started taking night classes at discount because of my job at the university. I received a post baccalaureate certificate in Anthropology and have found I am passionate about bioarchaeology. I applied to four MA/Ph.D. graduate programs and was rejected them. There were two Masters programs who had late application deadlines and so I applied to them and they accepted me. One program is in Atlanta, Georgia and the other is in Durham, England. About a half hour after I received notice of the first acceptance letter I was told that I am being considered for a promotion at work to Grants manager. After I had been rejected from the first group of programs I found I started wondering if I should be pursuing bioarchaeology. My job has always been a way to support myself but I have now been realizing how wonderful it is that I can support myself and that I have been doing so well they are considering me for a promotion. I feel like I need to choose between the stability and security of my current job and the risk and adventure of pursuing a life as a bioarchaeologist.

    I spent the last two weeks just considering the two schools, to narrow down my options, by emailing with the professors and emailing with current students. I am leaning toward the program in England and am actually really excited by the program. There are logistical issues though. First, my best friend is getting married in June 2014 and I am in her wedding. I think I will be able to be here for the wedding but that would be right in the middle of the time when I would be doing my research for my dissertation. I want to be here to help her plan and be here for her engagement party, bridal shower, choosing the dress and everything else. My friend has told me that she does not want to hold me back but she will miss me at all these things.

    Also, I have finally found a weight lose program that is working but I would not be able to get the food in England. This program has brought me to the lowest weight I have been in 15 years! I wont be at my goal weight by the time I need to leave and I do not want to stop the program. It may be possible for me to have the product shipped to my parents and then shipped to me but that will cost a lot.

    When I spoke with the head professor of the England program, I did find out that I could defer a year and start the program in 2014. But this feels like I am postponing this big step forward. I have talked with my Anthropology friends and professors here and they all say “why wait?” and I have talked with my close friends and family and they all say if you wait you can do it all. I feel like I am standing at a cross road and each path looks wonderful and sunny but the minute I step one direction I start having panic attacks, the clouds roll in, and all I want to do is hide in some book, movie or TV show. To make it worse I keep flipping between leaving now and deferring a year. I would appreciate any advice or guidance in how to make this choice.

    Conflicted, anxious, and slightly insane


    Dear Courney,

    It sounds to me that you should pursue your dream in England, but don’t quit your job. Just tell them that you take break for a year or so, incase you change your mind later.

    Action and peace!


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