600 Journal Entry

Why I Am Going to Grad School, At HSU

      My primary motive for obtaining my master's degree in English at Humboldt State University is to obtain employment as an English instructor in the community college system. Although I initially wanted to go directly into a Ph.D program after I completed my undergraduate degree, the scarcity of tenure-track jobs for English teachers effectively dissuaded me from pursuing that avenue. Also, I have a passion for community colleges and the students whom they serve. Community college is higher education "for the people," so to speak: it is a relatively low-cost way for university hopefuls to complete prerequisites and general education requirements, non-native English speakers to hone their language skills, workers to develop their professional qualifications, and the general public to explore a topic or discipline which they find interesting.

      Although I plan to teach at the community college level, I would like to get my Ph.D after I complete my master's degree to enhance my opportunities of finding tenure-track employment and to increase my career mobility. The programs I am interested in are education-oriented, rather than theoretical, and require a master's degree as a prerequisite to acceptance. After teaching for a few years, I hope to ascend the ranks to become the dean of the English department and eventually I aspire to head a community college as president or vice-president of curriculum. I believe obtaining a Ph.D will make me more marketable for these higher-ranking jobs.

      I selected Humboldt State University for its Teaching of Writing emphasis, the CFPP program, and its relative affordability. I applied to two other out-of-state schools and was accepted, but chose HSU because tuition was significantly cheaper ($3,700 a year as opposed to $19,000). Also, the cost of living in Humboldt County is significantly lower than many other parts of the state, which also made the area attractive. Plus, the idea of hiding out in the woods with my books for a couple of years seemed appealing; compared with larger cities, Arcata offers few distractions to take my mind off of my studies. Although I am a little nervous about resuming my studies after taking a hiatus from school, and unsure whether I remember how to write an academic paper, I am excited about the prospect of gaining more specialized knowledge in a discipline which I find challenging, fascinating, and occasionally frustrating.

My first written musings on life as a grad student. The only thing missing from the text is the soul-crushing homesickness I was suffering from at the time of the writing.