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Dedalus Offline
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Name: Joe
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options for after MA - December 30th 2011, 06:02 PM

So, I've been thinking about this for a while, and I'm not sure how much you guys will be able to help. But I'd value other people's opinions and I haven't talked about this to anyone yet...I'm mostly worried about my parents' reactions. The other problem is that the UK/Eire education in both humanities and medicine differs greatly to the US education in terms of structure and what follows, so people may not be able to grasp my situation.

I'm currently reading an MA in Classics at Edinburgh University with a goal to being a University Lecturer. To achieve that I must read a PhD and the only way I could do that is with funding/scholarship that also gives a maintenance grant. And these are incredibly competitive, and for various reasons I am erring on the probability that I won't get any funding.

I was offered graduate entry medicine at the Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland at the same time I was offered the MA I'm reading. I chose the MA because I enjoy what I'm studying, I want to teach 3rd level (couldn't bear teaching 2nd level) and the various responsibilities of a lecturer are ones I would like. I had also spent a lot of time 6 months before the offers with dying relatives in hospitals and those experiences really put me off medicine - because being a doctor wouldn't be all laughs and making people better, its dealing with all the not very nice things in life - and it really would depress me at times.

But anyway, I need a back up option if I don't get funding for a PhD in Classics. I think medicine is my best option. I really enjoyed studying it when I took a few modules in my BA and I had a great time. Since I've been in Edinburgh I am missing Dublin and Ireland terribly and really want to return there - especially to my last university - and if the points to get on the course don't rise too much I could expect to be offered medicine at my old university. On getting an offer the banks will loan you 100,000 euros - half is for fees over the four years and the other half would cover living expenses, etc. And they offer that much because you are expected to pay it back.

The only problem is that my parents don't want me to go into healthcare and they gave me some money for my MA when I turned down the offer of medicine. They would go nuts if they found out I was applying for medicine again and thus making my MA a waste of money and time (in their opinions).

I would very much enjoy studying medicine, I'm just worried about the profession. But the other aspect is that the profession, even if it was very enjoyable, would not give me al the joys that I could see with lecturing at university in Classics. Nothing could compare to that.

Other back up options people have told me about are Law conversion courses which I am not too sure about. I could do one at King's in Dublin. But I don't know if I'd enjoy Law very much - I haven't thought about it a lot.
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esfdhtfy Offline
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Re: options for after MA - January 6th 2012, 03:54 AM

NB: I'm hoping that I understood your post correctly. As I am Canadian, there may be some misinterpretations. Feel free to correct me if I am somehow misguided.

I am a firm believer that one should study and pursue a career in a field that they thoroughly love and enjoy. I've seen one too many people locked up in a field (even with high-paying jobs) who completely hate their lives. I vow not to be one of those people and urge others around me to share the same sentiment.

I admire you for pursuing an M.A. in Classics. I know how easy it is to be ridiculed while studying a subject in the Arts and Humanities. Good for you. It is quite evident, even merely through the few paragraphs in your post, that you are passionate about Classics. In addition to that, you are passionate about becoming a lecturer. Don't let this go to waste.

Why is it that you feel you need a back-up plan? I understand that funding is sometimes (read: usually) very difficult to obtain and while I do not suggest you pile on hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, I do not believe that a little financial debt should tear you away from what you truly want to do. In 20 years, when you have paid off even the steepest of student loans and all you have left is your job, wouldn't you want a job that you love; one that you enjoy waking up to go to each and every day? The answer should be obvious.

If the issue is that obtaining funding is completely impossible, I would still not advise that you give up. It's not uncommon for Ph.D. programs to offer quite a bit in grants to its candidates, depending on the university of course. I would recommend heavily researching into your options. If, after the end of it all, you find that very little funding is available to those in your position, start contacting the individual professors. They have more influence than you think. As I'm sure you're aware, professors have a huge influence with regards to the candidates accepted and rejected from both Master's programs and Doctoral programs. Talk to the professors you're interested in working with and evaluate your options from that point.

I understand that you enjoy studying medicine but if a career in the field looks gray, why bother? I think, at this point, you should be pursuing a field that parallels your ideal career path. It's nice to explore interests and I strongly encourage this, but it should be done within the first few years of your undergraduate degree. I wouldn't recommend attending Medical School on the basis of: 1) it's a good back up 2) you enjoy it but don't want to practice it.

I am studying Law, so I can comment on your final point. Do not (I stress this) study Law for any other purpose than if you love it. There are way too many miserable lawyers who entered the field for one reason or the other - prestige, salary, parents' wishes, etc. Don't fall victim to the so-called invaluable socioeconomic status ladder. It's not worth it in the long run.

I truly hope I understood your post and have offered some-what useful advice. If you wish to talk further, feel free to shoot me a message. Good luck.

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