Decisions about Grad School

I still have every intention of going back to Grad school, but the choice of what to study has left me with a bit of a conundrum. I took several graduate level classes before I began teaching, and was unsatisfied with the subject matter. I wanted to study literature to prove a little theory of mine, and the basic English Lit Master’s program wasn’t cutting it.

See, I’m full of theories. It goes back to being a Gemini, a starter of things that never quite get finished. So I have a lot of theories about a lot of things. And mostly things that have little or no importance to my actual life.

For example, I have this theory about objects in space. If all of life is cyclical, and the doings and machinations of man’s society can be mirrored in the minuscule workings of ants or other insects, why can’t the same be true for planets and solar systems? Now, I know that ants are nothing like humans, but the basic idea of needing order from chaos is a universal thing seen throughout nature. All animals group together to form little colonies or families or somesuch, and by studying groupings of certain species, we can kind of see the social evolution of humanity.

Similarly, I have a theory that you can determine the lifetime of a star by figuring out the lifetime of atoms. Assuming the star is the nucleus and the planets are the particles that orbit the nucleus of an atom, watching how atoms change and eventually die should help determine how solar systems do the same thing. I mean in essence, aren’t they the same thing only in different sizes? I always get tripped up when you add in moons and things, but I think the premise is somewhat valid…

Maybe a better lead in would have been fractals.

grad school decisions

Anyway, the point is I have theories galore that fill the little unused portions of my brain. Sometimes things worth discussing, and sometimes not at all.

The theory I have about literature goes back to a bit of an obsession of mine: the Island of Atlantis. I had a dream once that I, with the help of my brothers, found it. It was a recurring dream for some time, so I’d like to think there was something prophetic about it. My theory is that you can follow folklore back to the island. If Plato’s works, the Timaeus and Critias, are in anyway correct, and it is a lost island from pre-history, then it’s possible that other cultures have similar stories that might lead back to the island.

Or, at the very least, our collective memories should come back to a central point, even if it isn’t my island. If linguistically all languages can be traced back to one of two Mother Tongues (the Semitic language, or the Indo-European language), then surely our folk stories and mythologies should as well.

That is my theory. That is what I wanted to study those years ago (oh my goodness, it’s been nearly 10 years!), and I didn’t have the resources in the program I was in at the time.

Now, the bug to go back to school has hit again, for a variety of reasons, and I had a plan, a good plan, but now I’m questioning. My plan had been to go back to school to be a counselor. Simply that. Go back to school to be a counselor because teaching has not been fulfilling for me these last few years. Well, the last few months at least…

Lamar University, one grad school choice.

There’s an 18 month program at my mother’s Alma Mater, Lamar University, that would get me to that goal with no problems at all. It’s affordable, it’s in my area, and it’s still almost entirely online. What could be the problem?

The problem is that I still want to prove my theory about our myths and folk stories.

The Pacifica Graduate Institute kinda allows me to do both.

Pacifica Graduate Institute, one choice for grad school

They have a program in mythological studies that incorporates Jungian/Depth psychology into the study. It’s also almost entirely online, but it requires a trip to California once a month. While fun, and exciting, this brings us to a problem: It means that it’s not nearly as financially feasible as the other school.

But it’s an amazing program! It’s a Master’s into a PhD program, that’s designed to be completed in 3 years. After 2 years, I’d have my Master’s degree, and, if I still want to be a school counselor, I could do that. There’s a program through HISD that would take me 1 year to become a counselor, while I was simultaneously finishing up the PhD portion of the program at Pacifica.

So, in essence, once I finished I could either become a counselor, or a professor, it would just take quite a bit of time.

But it’s such an awesome concept!

Pacifica also has a Counseling program, which is shorter, but given the cost, plus airfare once a month, plus the inherent timesuck that any graduate program will be, I should go for the one I want… right?

If I’m going to go through all the trouble to get a graduate degree, doesn’t it make sense that I should study something I find interesting, and not just useful?

While the Lamar program would get me a degree in less than 2 years, giving me the opportunity to get out of teaching and into the counselor’s office (behind the desk and not on the couch, thank you very much) sooner, I’d just be taking it to move ahead in my career, and maybe only temporarily at that.

I’ve always kind of dreamt of being a professor. It’s safer than being a teacher, in theory. See? More theories. In theory, you don’t have to worry about gang violence on a college campus. In theory, you are dealing with people who want to be there so they aren’t as difficult. In theory you can have real tenure as a professor (although it’s probably hard to get). In theory, you can be a little more real with your students as a professor.

You can really talk about what you believe because, in theory, you studied what you love and therefore you believe what you’re teaching.

I already believe very strongly in the myths. Not as a religion, although I suppose that’s valid, too, but as a unifier amongst people. It is through our myths that we learn right and wrong, and mythology is seen in literature and movies so much… I don’t understand why myths are no longer taught in high schools.

graduate decisions mythology

Kinda proves my point…

So, I can study what I love, but it will take longer, cost more, and be more difficult.

Or I can take the easy (ish) way out and do the cheaper, shorter counseling program and be out of teaching sooner.

A big part of my decision depends on what is happening for next school year. I don’t know if I want to stay at the school where I’m at, or go to a school where I think things will run a little smoother. If I get into a different school, I don’t know what will be expected of me. I’ll have a similar problem if the administration at my current school changes (and there are rumors). So I suppose I should wait to see what the plans are for next year, but as anyone who’s ever depended on Financial aide knows, you need to get your paperwork in before March to get decent money… And money is definitely a big factor!

Graduate school decisions

I feel like there are too many variables to make a decision now, but I need to in order to be successful either way. Where’s that magic eight ball when you need it?

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10 thoughts on “Decisions about Grad School

  1. I’m always for doing what you love. I am working on that one myself. I think you should do what you love and that should be your deciding factor, plus I’ve heard of this theory before from you and I know it’s one you are truly passionate about. Go for it!

  2. Actually, two of my co-workers teach counseling classes at Pacifica (I’m assuming the graduate institute in Carpenteria, CA). Airfare would be fairly expensive, but they seem to be happy with the program they teach. It’s an extremely liberal and free-spirit school, so if you like that atmosphere, that’s a plus.

    They tried to convince me to go to Pacifica briefly for grad school, but I’m off to other lands for my own education.

    • Thanks for the info! Yeah, I’m not 100% sure which campus, as there are apparently at least 2, but I really think I would love that. I may have to wait to save up some extra cash for airfare though.

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