Wednesday, March 31, 2010

NOT Back to School

I've spent much of the last year seriously deliberating returning to school. Picking up an information folder from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism at last year's SXSW got the ball rolling, and attending a Workforce Seminar on changing your career got me into overdrive. More than anything, I think the interest in pursuing a new degree was the idea of starting fresh. Right now, I'm not confident enough that I could pay the degree back once I'm done (I'd be on my own this time around), and I just don't really have that much interest in pursuing my studies alongside the other interests I have. I looked at a lot of programs, but here is a list of the degree programs I most thoroughly researched:

MFA in Film, Rochester Institute of Technology: Film School, I guess, would give me the opportunity to formalize my "filmmaker" status, and give me the option to teach. A few years ago, a degree like this might have been more appealing, but having spent enough time on the Festival Circuit, it'd just be another excuse to hide out for awhile. Grad school at RIT costs $40,000 a year--a little steep for my tastes. I could make two or three (maybe more) movies with what I'd spend there.

BA in English, SUNY Oneonta: There have been times where I have thought that if I were to do my undergraduate education all over again, I'd pick up an English Degree in addition to the Computer Art degree I already have. Because I have a learning disability that concerns language, I always thought that I'd have a hard time with literature courses. (I did well in my writing courses.) At the time, the idea of staying there another semester or year wasn't very appealing to me. If I had known what was ahead of me when I had graduated, I think I might have stuck around. Now, I don't think I would mind so much devoting the time to reading, even if it took a little more work. I think I have the tools to do well.

Earlier this year, I spoke with the transfer counselor at the school as to what getting another degree would require. I would need to do 30 credits before I could earn a degree. I'm not sure if I could handle 30 credits on top of holding a full time job (again, I'm on my own.) and the other things I would like to continue pursuing. Then there's the whole issue of "you can't go home again". Oneonta is kind of a boring place, unless you're a college student. If they had an online option, I would seriously consider that, though.

Masters in Human Sexuality, The Institute of the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality: I kind of liked the idea of getting this degree so that I'd have some credential to become a script consultant. Some years ago, I remember watching a countdown special on VH1 about the 100 Sexiest Musicians. The list included people like Scott Stapp, and people like Bonnie Fuller as a talking head. I don't think that "sexy" and "attractive" are one and the same. Serge Gainsbourg was as ugly as sin, but damn if he didn't produce some of the sexiest music in the history of recorded music. Admissions didn't require a GRE, and they don't look at grades too much--they just cared about your intentions. Annie Sprinkle and Betty Dobson are two of their most famous alumni.

I spoke extensively with the admissions counselor there as well. They don't accept financial aid, and they don't have any internal financial aid, either. There is also some dispute as to whether or not they are properly accredited. It may be a great program, but I don't want my credibility questioned for any reason.

AS in International Business, Monroe Community College: My latest fancy has been reading The Economist online and watching BBC World News on PBS and BBC America. Recently, I read Christine Vachon's A Killer Life, where she describes visiting The Cannes Market every year to drum up funding for new projects. I have wondered if getting an extra degree in business might give me a leg up in my film career, even if it's an Associates' Degree. The degree is designed specifically for people who would go on to a four year college and major in business, economics, or international relations.

Since I didn't do a foreign language in High School (Being LD, I was exempt), and did only two years of math (and a mediocre math student at best), I'd have to take a bunch of preliminary courses in order to start the degree. Unless, of course, I were to take the Macroeconomics Degree elsewhere.

MA in Media Studies, The New School For Social Research: Again, here's a case of getting a degree that might actually be useful to me. I actually haven't ruled this one out completely--I can do the degree online, and I don't feel that it would be a distraction from the path I'm on now. Last week, I participated in a chat hosted by The New School, and they answered a few of my questions about the admissions process that made me more confident about submitting an application to the program. The deadline for the fall semester has passed; the Spring Semester application isn't due until October, but I don't think I'm ready to enroll just yet.

Tomorrow I will head back to work, thus ending my 15 month break.

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