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#59669 - 03/13/04 01:05 PM Re: Graduate School
Exxie
Ching Shih


Registered: 02/18/03
Posts: 147
Loc: Chicago, IL

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I think I just realized that I can never go to grad school. Not that I can't, but that I'll never truly want to, which is hard to accept given that I'd been considering it as a next step and as a means of moving to New York (something I'm not too sure about, but think would be an interesting change). I just went online and looked at some schools and the thought of, not only the application process, but just going to classes, doing research, writing papers, hell - writing another thesis, made me cry. I went through four extremely hard years at the University of Chicago and it has gotten me absolutely nowhere. I have nothing to show for my work except a piece of paper in a leather binder. I can't imagine putting myself through all of that again for what will probably be a comparable lack of reward. Not that any of this should be so surprising to me. I don't believe that grad school is necessary for what I want to do, which is write, and I think it would be only a way of deferring reality for another couple of years - after all, it's only a means to an end and not an end in itself. I guess it's good that I realize this now. I just don't know what I'm going to do instead.
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#59670 - 03/15/04 01:58 PM Re: Graduate School
Pflaume
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/30/02
Posts: 451

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Exxie, grad school isn't always hard, and doesn't have to involve a thesis. And it can lead to a job. Wanting to be qualified for a job was what sent me into Information Studies to study Archives, and not having to do a thesis was one of the bonuses of the university I chose.

You say you want to be a writer, but your main reasons for deciding against grad school seem to be all the writing you'll have to do. Also, writing isn't something you can immediately earn a living at, if you can ever manage to earn a living with it. Maybe a graduate degree in something leading to a job would be good, because once you're done, you'll be able to pay your rent, and also buy paper and pens (or upgrades to your computer). ;\) My job is currently helping me pay for silver, and jewellery-making courses to go along with it.

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#59671 - 03/15/04 03:32 PM Re: Graduate School
blithe spirit
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/12/01
Posts: 513
Loc: Toronto, Ontario

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Exxie - I also wanted to chime in about the good things about grad school. It's true that some departments don't require a thesis -- you can do all course work instead although there will be larger essays required than undergrad. But the really fun thing about grad school is that you can finally concentrate on the subjects that really interest YOU, and there's a lot of flexibility with topics for essays etc. I'm talking about English - other departments may be different. I'm also getting the chance to really hone my research skills too which would be useful for future writing projects. And one of the best things? I get 100 days for taking out library books -- that just rocks!
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#59672 - 03/15/04 04:06 PM Re: Graduate School
Masha Moderator
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/23/01
Posts: 512
Loc: Chicago, IL, USA

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 Quote:
I think it would be only a way of deferring reality for another couple of years - after all, it's only a means to an end and not an end in itself.
On the other hand, this is a very good, smart reason for not attending graduate school. If you can't see yourself accepting the time you're there are important in and of itself, you may find yourself very unhappy.

But, if you're looking at MFA programs, many of them have a very different level of academic expectation. You'll be expected to produce a lot of creative writing, culminating in a manuscript in your chosen genre, but the day-to-day class reading and research papers are not like those expected of undergraduates or graduate students in other departments, on the whole. (Creative Ph.D. programs are, however, much more like English Ph.D. programs, from what I've heard.)

And since my day job is teaching U of C undergraduates, I can understand your reluctance to dive back in. That's a hard four years you just did, and you may just need some time to get some perspective on your career goals.

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#59673 - 04/12/04 03:19 PM Re: Graduate School
xenopi
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/06/03
Posts: 254
Loc: Paradise City

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Go MFA! I've had nothing but fun, even during my mini-meltdowns. Delivering a paper at an academic conference (Ok, the Pop Culture Assoc. conference, but still) last weekend just reinforced my decision for me. I'd have been a miserable wretch in an MA or PhD program - I want to be producing the creative work, not studying Alan Iverson's body as a text (True Stories..!).

I did a critical thesis (smaller, though, 35 pages) and a manuscript-length creative thesis. The critical work proved extremely rewarding and this is from someone who, with newspaper journalism training, had a hard time not condensing every idea into a five-paragraph distillation. I had complete freedom on my topic and honestly, my advisor was much more concerned with my creative work than with the essay, so it wasn't exactly stressful. Many of my classmates don't share this feeling, though, so mileage and variables and such.

If you want to move to New York, have you checked out the New School's MFA? I have a friend who's a graduate, she still has all of her hair.

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#59674 - 04/13/04 09:23 AM Re: Graduate School
queenkaleo
Gráinne ni Mhaille


Registered: 04/12/04
Posts: 2

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can anyone tell me anything about the graduate fiction writing program at sarah lawrence college? it's awfully expensive. they didn't offer me much financial aid. and i've only applied to one other school.

i'm trying to figure out whether or not it's worth the sacrifice.

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#59675 - 07/20/04 04:54 PM Re: Graduate School
Lariet
Gráinne ni Mhaille


Registered: 06/20/04
Posts: 6
Loc: Alabama

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I'm actually pondering going back for a masters. My concern is that my bachelors in in journalism, and I would want to get my masters in counseling psychology. I know, it's a hell of a leap. I also know that, in order to make any kind of money in the field, I'd have to have a Ph.D., which scares the hell out of me. Also, I'd have to get loans, which also scares me, and hold down my full-time job, which I know will be beyond difficult. Like I said, I'm still thinking about it. Anyone have any similar (hopefull successful) stories?
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#59676 - 07/21/04 10:50 AM Re: Graduate School
VegetarianOnHiatus
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/18/02
Posts: 1089
Loc: Somerville, MA, USA

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Hi, Lariet. My dad did that. His undergraduate was in math and Russian, and he went back and got ABD in counseling psychology. He's been a psychologist for the past 35 years or so. Loves it.
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#59677 - 07/22/04 11:13 AM Re: Graduate School
kers
Gráinne ni Mhaille


Registered: 01/24/03
Posts: 16

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Lariet, I did an undergrad degree and a grad degree in English, then turned around and changed career directions completely. I went back to get a master's in education, even though I had absolutely no background in it. It took two years of part-time school with full-time work, but now I'm a (hired!) elementary school teacher and I will be finishing my master's in two years (I'm just taking one class a semester now). And as sick as I am of working and going to school, I'm planning to take a couple of years off and then go back for my doctorate. I love what I'm studying, so it reduces the "suck" factor considerably! Psych may be the same for you.

The great thing about master's programs is that you can come in from a variety of backgrounds (a friend in my English master's program had been an engineering major, for example). You can see if a local school will let you take one or two courses in the department to try it out. This may help you decide whether it's a leap you want to make.

I had no loans from undergrad or grad school (I know! amazing) when I went back for my education degree, and now I'm $15k in the hole. It was definitely worth it, though, because I'm excited about my job and my life again. It was hard to work and go to school, I'll admit; having a desk job helped me because there were lulls at work when I could think about (or even do) schoolwork.

Good luck!

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#59678 - 07/22/04 12:02 PM Re: Graduate School
miercoles
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/29/00
Posts: 877
Loc: Ann Arbor, MI

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Lariet, what area of counseling are you interested in? Most of the counselors I know (okay, two: a genetic counselor and a family/marriage counselor) just have master's degrees.

Good luck, though! And I can't think of anyone who's gone back to school and regretted it.

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