Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Everything's Coming Up Peaches ... or at Least Coming Up

It’s official. I’ve told Georgia State University that I accept their offer for enrollment and assistantship this fall. I’ve decided not to wait and hear back from Virginia Tech or Saint Louis University before making this decision. Their programs simply aren’t appealing enough to sway me at this point. Moving to Atlanta is now a reality. Emotionally this has yet to hit me. I’ve only had one moment of shock, when my wife read me a letter she wrote to her boss declaring her intent to resign as a kindergarten teacher at the end of the school year. As she read it I felt my heart plummet into my bowels. We’re moving to Atlanta?!? I think I’m gonna puke…

For many of you this may seem an insignificant or, at the most, an exciting endeavor. And it certainly is the latter, but for a boy who lived in the same house for eighteen years of his life, whose family and friends have always remained safely nearby (aside from my dad, who only recently moved halfway across the country), this is absolutely monumental. And the closer to August it gets, the more the panic will set in.

To combat this unsettling realization, I’ve tried to keep focus on the many exciting facets of moving to Atlanta. For the past year and a half, I haven’t really taken any philosophy classes because I’ve already finished my philosophy degree. But I’ve missed it and I’m eager to jump back into it. I’ve already figured out what classes I hope to take this fall, and they all sound great. And I’ve definitely had enough of classical languages. Not that I want to abandon them altogether, but I’m sick of majoring in them. Also, I’m excited about the potential road trip my wife and I can take in the summer of 2007. Never having lived on the East Coast, I figure we can take two weeks to drive all the way up into New England, visiting several new places along the way. Then there’s the fact that Atlanta itself, from what I’ve been hearing, is quite lovely. I’m hoping it’s a place I’ll fall in love with, and I truly think that I will over time. Too bad I’ll be a poor graduate student and won’t be able to spend every night on the town, getting to know the best restaurants, attractions, and so on.

Still, if anyone out there has any information on Atlanta, feel free to share your wisdom (either in the comments or by deciphering my email address listed in the sidebar). Must-see attractions, cute little towns you wouldn’t know of unless you’re a local, scenic back roads, etc. Really, the same goes for anyone living in the east. Melanie and I will definitely want to do some exploring on the weekends, and, if you’re a bit further from Atlanta, you can still give us ideas and tips for our 2007 summer vacation. It will probably take us through Raleigh (where a mutual friend lives), up to somewhere in the Baltimore area, to Boston, to Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, back through western New York (we’ve already been to NYC), down through Ohio’s big cities, through Kentucky and Tennessee, and finally home. But, seeing as how we’ve got about 13 or 14 months to plan this thing, nothing’s guaranteed. Let the recommendations roll on…

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Potpourri No. 12

Georgia Still on My Mind
Despite my previous prediction to the contrary, Claremont Graduate University has accepted my application for enrollment. While most people have never even heard of CGU, I assure you this is a big deal. When it comes to religious studies (the program to which I applied), they are considered one of the best schools in the country. Unfortunately they are offering no financial assistance whatsoever. Because they are located just 30 minutes east of Los Angeles, this poses quite a problem. I’ve estimated that tuition and rent alone (no utilities, no food, no health insurance, etc.) would cost approximately $40,000 per year. Obviously that is not something that my wife and I can afford. Luckily, I’m still excited about Georgia State’s offer and, while it may not have the same lofty reputation, I’ve always been more excited about their program than anyone else’s (except perhaps Notre Dame’s, but they’ve already declined me altogether). So I’d say there’s a 96% chance I’ll end up in Atlanta. They want a final decision by April 15th, so we’ll have to know by then. Stay tuned…

In My Mind, I’m Already Gone
Speaking of school, this semester is reminding me a lot of being a senior in high school. Because I’m finally finishing my classics degree, I’m battling this “so close yet so far” mentality that makes it incredibly difficult to feel motivated. It seems the closer to the end I get, the less I want to work for it. This is incredibly dangerous, of course. I have so much to do over the next few weeks it’s sickening. Wish me luck!

Abracadabra! No, Seriously!
I had another hilarious dream last night, though I didn’t laugh about it (or even find it all that funny) until I woke up. I was dreaming that I had magical powers, but that I wasn’t all that confident about my ability to use them. I was standing in the hallway of a hotel (I have no idea why) when some guy walked past. I stopped him to show him a “trick.” I held up three ballpoint pens. I closed my hands over the pens and intended to make them disappear. When I opened up my hands (with a standard “ta-da!” motion), however, only two pens had disappeared and the third one fell to the ground quite obviously. With complete confidence I lifted a finger and said to the man, “But there were three!” Apparently I still expected him to be in awe. Maybe you had to be there…

From Bad to Worse
Speaking of laughing at things that aren’t that funny, here’s a joke that just came to my head:

Did you hear about the guy who went to the shoe store to try on new socks, but it was too crowded for him to find a seat? He was socked sitless.

Sadly, this is the kind of material I come up with when I’m awake

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Georgia on My Mind

‘Tis Spring Break and school projects are keeping me from the leisurely respite for which I would normally hope. These same assignments are in large part responsible for the eerie silence that currently inhabits my blog. Add to the demands of academia a recent sojourn to Arkansas and a brief battle with the stomach flu and you’ll understand why I’ve spent the whole of March missing in action.

While I promise to share my mildly entertaining Arkansian tales in the near future, the biggest news of late is my acceptance into two master’s programs to which I applied last month. I’m still waiting to hear from four of the programs, and another four have already declined me. Fortunately, the rejections were expected and have thus failed to shatter my emotional wellbeing. Of the four programs from which I have not yet heard, I am fairly certain one of them (Virginia Tech, for all you gambling junkies) will accept me, one of them (Claremont) will decline me, and the other two I’m rather indifferent about due to my offers elsewhere.

So who has accepted me? Northern Illinois University and Georgia State University. Both school’s MA programs in philosophy are considered among the nation’s best. NIU, which is located 90 minutes outside of Chicago, has many geographical perks. I like the idea of being in a smaller college town yet very near a major metropolitan city. It would also be within a day’s driving distance of several other large cities (St. Louis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Nashville, Pittsburgh, etc.) as well as where my dad lives. It’d be a lot closer to my hometown as well, which will help both with moving away and coming back home to visit the family that remains here. Georgia, on the other hand, has flattered me by already offering a teaching assistantship with a full tuition waiver. The assistantship consists of being a TA for one year and teaching five introductory philosophy courses the following year, both of which will result in further financial compensation. And rather than sending me a letter to inform me of their decision, GSU called me. They sounded personable and genuinely interested in me as an individual. Based on presentation alone, Georgia is the one pulling my heartstrings. Not to mention the fact that GSU’s philosophy department features an incredibly extensive list of religious course offerings. This fits right in with my primary philosophical interests and is thus another bonus. Northern Illinois has yet to make their final decisions regarding assistantships, but I must admit it will have to be mighty generous to hold much sway…

That’s my update for now. It’s all very exciting. Until I received an acceptance letter, there was always the possibility I wouldn’t be going anywhere in the fall. Now I’m almost certain to be leaving my lifelong residence and having an amazingly unique experience. It’s enthralling and intimidating all at once. I know these are the hoops through which I must jump, but it’s hard to imagine myself really being such an “adult.” What a year this will be!