Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Friday, November 19, 2004

I'm being unsusually efficient

Perhaps in reaction to some screw-ups earlier this month, I have been doing some investigating, planning, and more importantly, carrying through with actions rather than hemming/hawing or otherwise babbling about it. In fact, the only person who knows what's going on is N, mainly because I've mentioned a couple of things in passing and we're working two jobs together, so I've seen her more than everyone else. I haven't really had a chance to tell D or Y about it yet, but it seems to be coming along quite nicely, and I hope they'll be supportive.

The Goal

Return to school, not to hide, not to simply survive on school loans, but to get a degree in a structured programme in an area with a lot of flexibility in terms of jobs and a growing need.

What I've Done So Far

Applied for financial aid. Spoken with financial aid about the difference in my income between last year (the records used for the application) and this year. They are sending me a budget appeal to go ahead and file. I've also spoken with the graduate school about readmission and any requirements necessary.

What I Need to Do

Fill out the application for readmission this weekend (I'm not in the web system, unfortunately). Speak with members of the two programmes (one a doctoral area, the other a graduate certificate)/visit the school. Explain my goals and how best to attain them. Gain post-bacculaureate status for spring, then apply for the doctoral programme and assistantships by January 15th for fall. Set up payment for an account so that I can register for classes. Register for two classes.

The Background

I wallowed for years in the graduate history department MA programme for several reasons 1) it was extremely unstructured, with an advisor whom I dearly loved but who did not set goals or require actions, 2) I suffered from a range of physical and mental illnesses that undermined my ability to move forward, most especially a social phobia of an intensity that oral defence of my entire career was difficult to even think about, and 3) I started right out of undergraduate work and had little life experience and maturity to help me make good decisions.

The Plan

Keeping in mind this background, I am interested in an area where I already have a firm grounding (I have a BA in this area, too) but which is a much more structured programme meant to get you in and through the course of study. The methodology is much more discrete, relying on studies, statistical analysis, etc., rather than history, which is as much art as social science. I am interested not in the theoretical aspects of the field, but the application, and that application can be done in policy making, business, government, etc....unlike history it is not limited to academia or cultural sites. Plus, I could make a real difference in the lives of others and build upon my experience within healthcare as a medical librarian. In a sense, it's a matter of coming full circle, because it's in the field I first studied in college, before going on to other areas. It allows specialisation but has wide-ranging applicability and study topics, and they never fail to excite me when I come across a new book or article that touches on it. It's an area where grants are written and obtained, articles published, and changes are instituted based on the results. And with the burgeoning multiculturalism, ageing, and cyberculture in our lives, it's become even more important.

What is it? I'll tell you eventually. But I'd like to speak with the faculty first. Believe it or not, I'm going pretty cautiously, rather than just jumping in. I've been looking through some articles outlining the field, for instance, and checking out UK's programme. Check for updates.

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