I moved to England to be with my husband. Grad school was a means to an end, I needed a visa, and grad school would give me one. Along the way, we came to understand that the visa that came with grad school just wouldn’t cut it. We got married. I now had a visa that worked for me, but the grad school thing was already in motion. I had already accepted a position at a prestigious school in London. I hadn’t really thought a lot about if I wanted to go to grad school. I knew I could handle it and that it would in some way further my career so it seemed silly to back out.
My MA is in Public Policy, emphasis on British and European policy with a bit of American and Australian thrown in for good measure. This isn’t what I wanted to study. Going into it I thought, “I like political science, I like studying government.” And that was really all the thought I put into it. How could I not like this?
What I didn’t realize when I was thinking these things was that what I meant was, “I like American political science, I like studying the US federal government and I like the Constitution.” It has taken me this long to come to understand why I am not enjoying my MA and why I don’t feel invested in my program. For one, as I said, it was a means to an end. For two, I don’t care about European politics. Really. I don’t. Some people do and bully for them, but it is not my cup of tea.
This has been difficult for me to come to a conclusion about because I feel like I am admitting I am wrong. It feels like I am finally fully coming to the realization of what I want to be and do and neither of them involves England. Trying to explain this to your English husband can be difficult. But Rob has known that I never wanted to settle here permanently. I am glad I was up front with him about this from the beginning.
I want to serve my country with the skills and abilities that I have. I want to fight for an America that I believe in. Whether it is in a classroom teaching a next generation of leaders or in a courtroom defending people’s rights, I haven’t decided. Perhaps both. Regardless, I am invested there. I believe that who I am should serve the country that I was born and raised in. I am not invested in the political future of England; I am invested in the political future of the United States.
This is hard for me to realize for so many reasons. It has become acceptable to be ashamed to be American. It has become popular and easy to put down America for its shortcomings, which we all know, there are a lot of. Well I think that is crap. Sorry to be blunt but, I think it is a sorry excuse for not wanting to put the energy and effort into making this country a better place. And really, that is all I would like to do.
What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility – a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task. This is the price and the promise of citizenship. – Barack Obama