My meeting Friday went over well, so I feel a little better that my PhD aspirations are not half-baked!
[50 points for whomever can guess where my title comes from]
I met with an English professor to discuss the potential of my PhD project, and he spent the first portion of the meeting talking about the challenges of doing a major in comics, and the difficulties of finding a professorship based on a degree on comics. This was the type of spiel that people give to discourage people from pursuing something; it's usually effective in at least dampening one's spirits because it forces you to face the realities of your dreams (and crushes them) and ground you to reality. I've heard this before & I've felt the hurt and low-level devastation from hearing such words in the past [i.e. when I found out that I couldn't minor in music when I first got to college], but that didn't happen this time. I felt that his words of caution were things that I suspected were part of the challenges I would face if I got into grad school to study comics, so I took my feelings as a sign that I really should pursue this degree.
We discussed comic book stores, the possibility that there may be three departments that may be best suited for what I want to study [Comparative Studies, English, and Women's Studies], and who I should speak to in helping me with the dilemma of which department I should try to get my degrees in(because I would have to get another Master's, no matter which department I get into). He made a good sell for working under the English department in that it would be easy to assemble a committee and I would be able to get jobs based on having degrees in English instead of Comparative Studies [Women's Studies has been ruled out simply because of the dearth of faculty who would be open to such an odd focus], but that CS has more flexibilty (something that the CS prof had mentioned in my meeting with him). So the question is this: Do I apply to the department that is newer and allows for greater flexibiltiy, or do I go for the more traditional department with a better chance of getting work in the end? There is yet another option; I can (possibly) apply to both, or get into one and transfer to the other department after finishing my Masters.
What I liked was that this professor told me that he would assist me whether or not he ended up as my advisor (which is extremely encouraging), and he feels that I am in a position to succeed in my endeavors because I didn't rush into grad school; I've taken my time to come to a decision on what I'm passionate about and know the work that it takes to make it through the program. He told me about a program that's coming to the University in October...and how he'll try to help me get in on the student rate, and about a website where there are people who review comics (a possible writing opportunity), and he even likes Hello Kitty (but he may have been teasing me on that one [it's okay :-)]). I've got a lot of research to do on the different programs, application processes, and decisions to make on how I want to proceed. I need to get in touch with more people and prepare to better explain my PhD concept to the Curator on the 3rd.
I felt really good about this, so I've got to work hard and do whatever it takes to get back into grad school. Even though I know I won't be able to study my passion right away, the fact that I'll be studying anything is very exciting for me.