C.7 Looking at Grad Work
As you wrap up your undergraduate
work and find you still
want more you may consider Graduate school.
What’s in it for you?
answering that question until you’ve wrestled with the Big
why to do it,
when to do it, and
where to do it.
C.7.a Sorting through the why
and the when.
As you might suspect, the answer to
each of these
fundamental concerns is an individual one.
What is true for one person will not be applicable for
since this is your life, the
has to be your very own.
The reasons behind
“why” to do it are tied up in your
perception of having incomplete training, or having a great love for
in its own right. Perhaps
you have a
goal of a more focused professional training to build on your liberal
preparation, and see advanced work as the gateway to career. More seriously, you may be
sensing a calling
from God to work toward greater fulfillment, or to engage the culture
the art of Theatre, and can’t really explain what it is. None of these must be
taken lightly. But
heed the advice of the old Iowa
farmer: don’t go down to the barn on a hot summer’s
day unless you really have
Graduate work is a major commitment,
and one that calls for
an even greater discipline and persistence than you expended for your
undergraduate degree; the major difference is, put simply, that you are expected to be more individually
motivated in your study,
to drive yourself beyond the
assignments, to begin to engage in direct
research rather than studying what others have experienced and written. Your graduate professors
will be fellow scholars
and artists—well advanced—not
“teachers” in the traditional sense of the
word. They are
ultimately not in charge
of whether you “get it” or not.
feel much on your own in your race for the laurels.
Now you need to master yourself and your
art—with an M.A. or M.F.A.—and then, perhaps, go on
level where you can philosophize about your discipline, putting it in
for others—the, Ph.D.
But it can be a glorious time of your
life; a time when you
are enabled to push yourself into places you didn’t know
where a part of
set the goals, you provide the
deadlines, you take on the patina
expert, perhaps for the first time in your entire school life.
should you begin your work? Well,
it’s your choice. Some students may decide to pay down some
of college loans
first, or use some time to do more preparatory reading and practice of
artistry. You may
be well advised to
hold off for a while.
Supposedly your grad school effort
will be preparing you for
the rest of your life. As
you’re in no rush. In
fact, you can’t
rush artistic development; it comes with life’s changes. And if you are driven
mostly by a desire for
professional skills training, remember that most production companies
much, or more, interested in your experience as they are in your
It behooves you, then, to give real
thought to taking some
time out to cultivate focus, stack up experience, acquire wherewithal
on the task which will demand the greatest push of your life. Give yourself some time
for greater success.
What Kind of Degree?