Classwork and Pagans

I haven’t had as much to say lately. Between the security releases that I spend much of my time on at work and classes, day to day life has been a bit busy. Outside of these things, dramatic things have not occurred.

I did finally decide to drop the Japanese language class until at least next term. Doing the graduate seminar on Esoteric Buddhism at the Institute of Buddhist Studies is taking up a huge amount of time with its assigned reading and pondering. I really don’t have the time for language study, a graduate school class, and my job (along with various other responsibilities). I did decide to take the IBS class for credit (I was previously auditing). I did this primarily because I am still thinking about getting my PhD through the Graduate Theological Union (GTU), of which IBS is a member school. I would be pretty bent out of shape if I audited this class and then was forced to take it again in two years because it was part of my PhD. Since any PhD work that I do will be related to Buddhism, it would be very likely that I’d be taking this class.

I’ve also considered getting an Master’s degree in Buddhist Studies through another school in the UK but I’m not sure that I really need a second Master’s degree. The coursework would be good for my own study of Buddhism but we shall see.

If I do decide to go to GTU, assuming that they accept me, it would be a year from this September at the soonest, as one must apply a year in advance. The primary issue, really, is financial still. There are very few half-time jobs in tech and I could not work full-time and also work on a doctorate (well, maybe I could if I was 20, not needing sleep, and single with no family). The problem with stopping working, other than GTU’s high tuition, is that I still need to support my eleven year old daughter as well as pay a mortgage. I haven’t figured out the best approach to the financials at this point but I do know that there is very little aid at GTU. Everyone I know who has attended has taken out huge loans, which I’m not sure I want to do in my late 30s. Paying off six figures of student loans in my 40s, especially when there is no guarantee of work in my field, isn’t my idea of a good time. I still struggle with the idea of going to school for six to eight years (even if I can manage the finances of it) to come out of it with little chance of finding a job (and that job, if I do find it, for 75% of what I make now, if I’m even that lucky). Of course, some say just to follow my Bliss but I’m not sure an adventure into academia is it.

This is a three day weekend due to an American holiday. Other than my 200+ pages of school reading in Snellgrove, I plan on going down to Pantheacon on Sunday for the day. While I’m not a pagan anymore, my roots are still within the Neopagan community (far more than Catholicism or the like) and I will have many friends, both local and from afar, down there this weekend. The convention is about an hour drive away (not that far from my work), so I expect to go and come back, rather than spending the night. The hotels are full anyway…

Al and a friend at a previous Pantheacon