Sunday, November 19, 2006

perhaps a M.A. in philosophy/religious studies?

Although I think I've always been a very self-reflective person, there's no doubt that cancer this second time has made me look even more deeply at some of the issues that have always tackled my mind as well as some new ones. It, therefore, really should come as no surprise to me that during this past week I mused over the idea of pursuing maybe an M.A. in philosophy and/or religion (studies) in the future.

My foremost dream after graduation remains traveling. This I wish to do more than anything else. But what about after traveling? As I have expressed in the past, I'm still not entirely sure what I'd like to do for a career, although I confess that as I've narrowed my thesis topic during the past two weeks and as I've become somewhat excited about the topic itself, I have pondered academia again. These are just transient thoughts. They come and go, so I shouldn't place too much into them. More than anything, I suppose they show that I'm remaining open to different possibilities for which there are many. And also that in light of the uncertainties of life and cancer, I'm pressing ahead thinking about the possibilities in the future.

But what about after traveling? Right. Well, I had thought about the idea of returning to school. If I wish to become a historian like I have for a long time, then of course, I must return for a Ph.D. But I have also considered perhaps journalism or creative writing or even medicine/health care as career paths. My most recent mental foray into philosophy and/or religious studies is really the byproduct in many ways of my thinking about these "big" life issues, which I've shared with you briefly from time to time. So, my arrival at this point has been a most natural progression.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to fit no more than one philosophy course in my academic career at Vassar. I also wished that could have taken courses in psychology and sociology and more than the one religion course that I took. And thinking about it, I realize that outside of enrolling in a degree program at a university, most likely the only way in which I'll begin to learn and answer some of the "big" questions that I have is solitarily on the side. I'd read a book here or there. Watch an interesting interview on C-SPAN or BBC, but that would be about it. I think I'd need something more rigorous and structured to benefit fully.

Now, how a philosophy or religious studies degree will help me find a job, I don't know. But at the moment that doesn't really concern me. In fact, if I decided at some point to take such a path based upon my current feelings I would do so for my own personal enrichment irrespective of whether the knowledge is so-called "marketable." Yes, more loans most likely but I have a lot as it stands so adding a bit more shouldn't change much.


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