Nearly a year-and-a-half ago (lol), I made an Instagram post relaying some cool news of mine. I’ll elaborate here, though.
But first: If you were to ask me what my plans are for this blog, I’d struggle to give you a response.
I’m not sure; I’m not at a point where I want to wash my hands of Beauty Skeptic. I’ll also acknowledge that both the internet and I have changed considerably since this project began. Like I mentioned recently, I’m not trying a ton of products or tools at this point. I’ve unsubscribed from a ton of marketing email lists, and I don’t scroll social media to get that advertising exposure.
Additionally, attention span of people interested in products and tools has shrunk with the oversaturation of releases as brands vie for relevance. In general, fewer people want to read content. They want to watch it – and they want to use social platforms that aggregate and feed content to them. At this stage, I am not a video content creator. I am also specifically disinterested in TikTok, Instagram Stories, etc. I am simply not going to start creating that content. I started this blog to challenge marketing on beauty products and encourage critical thinking – but is that product, the content, something my audience even wants to consume?
So, if you don’t mind, help me understand by sharing your perspective: in general, do you still read blogs? I do, but I realize I may be an outlier.
Anyway, as for where I have been:
I didn’t head to college straight out of high school, and opted to embark on my career immediately instead. This was, objectively, the correct choice for me: folks my age who went to college immediately emerged into an already-rough job market with no experience. Many are still struggling with student debt a decade later.
I have always been an annoying high-achiever; that enabled me to cultivate a STEM career without a degree. Despite my performance, I reached a point where further advancement was challenged by internal politics. My lack of undergrad degree was also made it easier to kick the can down the road. Likewise, if/when I wanted to move on, I didn’t want to be at the mercy of automated sorting criteria and miss out on great opportunities.
I am appropriately confident that I am a great resource and that not having a degree did not make me less-than, but I wanted to remove excuses and improve my candidacy elsewhere if and when I was ready to look elsewhere.
So, in early 2019, I decided on the degree I wanted, found school(s) that offered it, and enrolled in a community college with plans to transfer to a 4-year. I started classes that summer semester. Obviously, this siphoned bandwidth from Beauty Skeptic.
By taking classes year round and testing out of several classes, I was able to clear a two year degree in 18 months with part-time enrollment. I earned an Associate degree, Magna Cum Laude, in December 2020. Throughout, I averaged 50 hour weeks in a high stress, toxic work environment – and then a layoff cut my team in half and increased my workload.
Oops — There Goes The Rest of My Time
The following Spring (2021), I earned a couple high-value merit scholarships that enabled me to fund the rest of my degree’s tuition. There was a catch, though: I had to enroll full time. So my already on-the-back-burner side project had to be taken off the metaphorical stove almost entirely. Is it ideal? No, but who refuses a fully funded degree especially with the cost of higher education in the US?
…but in even better news (for me, as a human, anyway)
Happily, my concerns about my marketability as a candidate were unfounded. Just before Labor Day last year, I decided I was d o n e and started the job hunt. In short order, I started a new, fully-remote job which has been fantastic for my professional growth and mental health.
Alas, I Don’t Have, “More,” Time Yet
Even though I don’t have a toxic work environment or a commute, my time is still pretty maxed out. My undergrad program has a LOT of busywork. I have reclaimed some time, but I’m prioritizing my health because everything else is a bit irrelevant without that.
I graduate next Spring! After that, I’m taking a break from academia for the summer but aim to continue with accelerated Master’s program in late fall of that year. Fortunately, that program does allow for self-pacing and acceleration. The nice thing about a self-paced program is that I’m in control of how much of my time in a given week/month it chews up.
Whether that ties out to more content here depends.