So it turns out I’m going back to school in a month – to get my Master of Theological Studies degree.
When I started this blog, I was wrapping up my undergraduate degree and my situation disconcertingly mirrored where I was at in grade 12: getting fed up with education and having vague notions of starting a career while writing on the side. Of course, my experiences had been far more dramatic. The five years I spent as an undergrad were overshadowed by family drama and religious drama, and I found myself alternately running away from and trying to confront those aspects of my life. This played a big part in my personal development, and I think I’d be far worse off today if I was thrown into that environment feeling that everything was OK, but it also meant that by the end of it I was starting to feel burned out.
Fortunately, the gap year that resulted the this time around actually involved holding down a full-time job and writing (semi) consistently. But it had a lot of the same meandering and twiddling my thumbs over what I was doing with my life.
The idea of getting involved in a trade appeals to me. I’m not averse to physical labor, nor do I view a blue-collar career as being somehow incompatible with the life of the mind. But then I’m also not terribly handy either. I made an abortive attempt to capitalize on my skill with words in the form of freelance copy editing.
Then again, I also thrive in the meritocratic setting of academia.
I’ve a strange sort of admiration for characters like Sherlock Holmes and Spock in that they’re both unsociable weirdos who are able to find a niche for themselves. But they take different approaches: Holmes is a self-employed, working class man. He views the police, the intelligentsia et al, as valuable resources to be used, but always remains on the periphery so as to not compromise himself. Spock, on the other hand, works by excelling within the system; he has to deal with all the politics and give-and-take, but he enjoys privileges as a result. I feel like I’m in a bit of a tug-o-war between these two approaches, and that I’m still trying to puzzle out my own niche right now.
Anyhow, when it was suggested to me that I study theology, I found that I was attracted to the idea at least insofar that it would make my academic life and my religious life kiss and make up (and admittedly there is some slight reactionary appeal in having my education ascend, old-school style, to philosophy and theology). Plus, the idea of serving the Church in an intellectual fashion has a strong appeal for me. Not that I don’t see myself as potentially facing dire prospects 2-3 years down the line, but there’s really no easy way out; there’s no calling that won’t cost me anything, and I’m willing to take a stab at doing something interesting.