Friday, October 21, 2011

An Artist's Degree

It seems as though nearly everyone in education believes a teacher should pursue graduate work in education. But as I explored and talked with principals, mentors, and professors, I gathered that there are only two routes on that highway: curriculum or administration.

I wanted to go to grad school, I wanted to further my degrees, but I didn't want either of those specialties. While perhaps prestigious and money-making, these paths didn't interest me in the least.  So as Robb and I ebbed and flowed in our conversations about grad school, I held off.  It didn't seem smart to begin a degree I really didn't want. 

(There were a few other factors in place: Robb was nearly finished with his MBA, we couldn't afford simultaneous tuitions for two, and a couple little boys came along to offer an education of their own.  Oh, and Robb didn't love being in school, but he also didn't want his leapfrog wife to jump the gun.  He often teased, "No, our address labels will not read Dr. and Mr.)

Then I read Love Walked In.

On the back cover, I found this bio:

"An award-winning poet with a Ph.D. in literature and creative writing, Marisa de los Santos lives in Wilmington, Delaware with her husband and two children.  Love Walked In is her first novel."

Okay, first of all, when a book says "New York Times Bestseller" on the front and "This is her first novel" on the back, I am instantly intrigued.  This is someone I want to know better.

I remember running my fingers over those words, as if I were reading braille.  I thought, "I could write! I could get a masters and doctorate in creative writing, and I could write forever. I wonder if I could really do that. Do people really do that? Look at that -- Marisa did."

(Sidenote: If I fall in love with your writing, you'll work your way into my head, and that means I'll take the liberty to call you by your first name.  It's a natural progression for me, since we've had many coffee dates together, even if you perhaps don't recall being there.)

I began to think that this path was really quite noble, that it thumbs the nose at a culture that says a degree must pay for itself, that you've got to be sure you can succeed before you make the investment, and that learning is only valuable if it promises a salary.

An artist's degree says to the naysayers, "Well, yes, I could have a more linear path if I choose what you say I should do.  And if my gifts matched that professional path, then I hope I wouldn't hesitate. But my heart loves something else, and I only get one go at this. I choose what I love. A Ph.D. in creating."

So I am taking the plunge. 

January 2012.  Grad School: Here I come.

21 comments:

Kristen said...

Go Tricia! This is amazing news!

JeninIL said...

Go for it! You are brave and talented...you have what it takes...I will be praying for you...

Leigh Ann said...

Awesome!

Noel said...

Oh, Girl. I'm so proud of you. I can't wait to read everything you write. And Marisa is one of my friends, too.

shellycoulter said...

How exciting! :) You will never regret it. You may doubt yourself at times when its hard. But in the end it will all be worth it. :) WoohoO! :)

janincolorado said...

And I'll be in line for whatever you write!

Pom Pom said...

It's fun to look at low-resident MFA programs, too. They have them everywhere!

Amy Doerfler said...

You go, girl! I can't wait to follow your journey in this area. I think you'll just shine. I can really relate to pursuing a degree in "creating." In August I gave birth to our second son and graduated with my Ph.D. in music theory and composition (all in the same week!) Now I am choosing to be a stay-at-home-mom. You're right, it's counter-culture to believe that obtaining the degree (or then landing a tenure-track position at an Ivy League school) isn't the endall. I'm getting asked a lot now, "But what are you going to DO with it?" School was the tip of the iceburg, really. Just a step in a lifelong pusuit of trying to make beauty with whatever tools God has given me. For this stage, I just want to compose some lovely, life-giving lullabies. :)

God's best to you as you pursue this!

Claire said...

Don't you just love it when God's gifts supersede the world's value system? Can I be one of your proofreaders? :)
Btw--how did the check marks work?

txartist62 said...

sounds like a great plan! btw, i read that book some time ago and loved it! she is a gifted writer and i love her style. i read another by her, but can't recall the name right now. i think you are also a gifted writer. i look forward to your first novel :)

txartist62 said...

just went and found the other book: "belong to me". another good read!

Trophy Life said...

(comment from an avid follower, a silent cheerleader in your corner and have never commented once...), but i just smiled from ear to ear. YOU GO!!!

Janet said...

I can't wait to see what will come of this. I'm going to be silently cheering as you graduate, then I'll be lining up at the bookstore to buy your books. You go, girl!

April said...

Go for it girl! Your first book would totally be on the New York Times Bestseller list!

Penny said...

Sounds like a great plan~ go for it! You'll have a lot of fans and a line out the door for your first book signing! :)

Melissa said...

That is so exciting, Tricia! :-D

I've been sort of the same way - I didn't even go to college right out of high school because, frankly, I had nothing I wanted to study. Only in the past year, when I'm nearly 30, have I discovered my passion and the thing I want to study and learn about and share with others. I'm looking at starting my Bachelor's next fall.

Can't wait to see where your journey takes you! I'll be in line to buy your first book, too. I think your first signing should be at your Starbucks. :-)

Aunt Denise said...

You go, girl. This is exactly what I believe True North may become for you. Impressed. xoxo

Majorsfam said...

I agree, first signing at Starbucks! I think at least half of your blog followers will pre-order your book with only the knowledge that you wrote it! I know I will!!!!

JESSICA RENSHAW said...

Soul sisters. I went for a Master's--in English Literature--as soon as I realized one could get a college degree for reading great books and writing about them. Like getting a degree in eating chocolate!

Nicole said...

So exciting, Tricia! I chose the Masters in Curriculum path because I love organizing learning like you love writing. Strange, I know. :) But I've always wanted my doctorate. Good for you! I can't wait to see what God does with this degree. God has taken my degree and done things I never would have thought of. What a big God we sesrve!!! (And I want to know who advised you that a Masters in Curriculum was a money maker. Interesting theory ...) :)

Claire said...

You will never, ever regret education. Never.

Well done, Tricia. Well done.