Thursday, February 09, 2006

Changes Ahead

Many of you may have already heard that Eric has decided graduate school in philosophy will be a good fit for him. We knew this Minnesota experience was a trial run; if either of us felt like we weren't content, we were going to relocate. Eric immensely enjoyed the Colorado philosophy seminar, and that was the catalyst he needed to begin filling out applications for schools.

As you may be thinking, positions are few for those holding advanced degrees in philosophy. That leaves teaching at the university level as the aim, which is his desire anyway. If he wants to have a competitive edge for a professorship, however, it would be necessary for him to attend a university recognized for its program.
Eric wasn't sure what his chances were for getting into a competitive PhD program even with his high qualifications, seeing as how he received his undergraduate degree from a university that isn't known for its philosophical pursuits (never let this be seen, however, as a degrading remark about our alma mater; we are ever so fond of that campus). Therefore, he applied to two terminal Masters programs; if he were rejected at every PhD institution, he would get his Masters and then transfer on for his PhD.

We knew it was bound to be a "hurry up and wait" situation. Eric finished all of his applications and sent them off before Christmas, and then we were to wait until the spring to begin receiving letters. That leaves a lot of uncertainty and trust for us, and that is difficult for an uber planner (cough*Eric*cough) to do. Eric knew he was going to graduate school in the fall, and I knew I was...moving. Call me an elitist, but if we ended up in Los Angeles, I'm not sure I would be a very effective teacher. All of my experiences teaching have been in districts where parental involvement and support are high, and classroom management issues were minor. It would be a culture shock of sorts to teach in a place so foreign to me. So, we were waiting for responses to begin to trickle in during the month of March, doing our best to be open to whatever was offered.

Nevertheless, we were pleasantly surprised to receive an acceptance letter from Eric's top fallback program a couple of weeks ago. Our first option before us was Northern Illinois University, where Eric would have the opportunity to pursue a terminal Masters. This was an encouraging sign, as now we knew Eric would get to delve into philosophy as he desired. Certainly they recognized that Eric has some potential, and we dared to hold out hope that other institutions would agree.

Then, just last night, Eric received an email from a professor, welcoming him to the philosophy program at Indiana University. They offered him a nice five-year package as he would work towards his PhD. So, cross off Northern Illinois and look forward to a relocation come summer. We are hoping to visit Indiana in March, ideally during my spring break so that I can tag along. If we have other PhD program offers, we may just be galavanting around the country, yours truly writing entries to trace our trip.

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