teach me, for i'm not done with book-learnin'
July 24, 2010 9:39 PM Subscribe
I want to attend grad school to study history with a radical/liberal professor or program anywhere in the world. My qualifications are mediocre, but my passion is sincere. What are my options?
posted by lover to Education (31 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know what is relevant, so apologies for the length.
When I started school at 22, I only knew that a degree, and that not having "a degree, any degree" was holding me back from the jobs that would challenge me and hold my interest. I blazed through two years of community college in a year and a semester, and took the spring and summer off. In the fall, I got a .88 GPA because I had switched to environmental science from a liberal arts background and was overwhelmed by the expectations of the university system. They kicked me out after that one quarter because my transfer credits didn't count toward my academic standing. I switched to philosophy, got back in through summer school classes, and spent my junior year working toward a philosophy degree. After a few history classes, I gradually realized that my philosophy classes were mostly the study of the thoughts of dead white men and my history classes taught the critical study of the thoughts and actions of dead white men. The latter inspired more passion in me. I added more and more history classes, and I'm as passionate as ever about it. Now I have one more year of mostly history, and I'll be done. I'm now 27. I am a U.S. citizen.
I have a 3.1 GPA in history and a 2.97 overall. My community college GPA was 3.3 and my University-only GPA is 2.68 and climbing. I have one super-senior year of college and then I'll graduate. I don't know how I'll do on the GREs, but for an approximate prediction, I got a 1290 on the old SATs. My college is a well-known scientific research university.
I didn't even know grad school existed until I was an adult, and certainly never considered it to be an option. I have spent a lot of my stay in this college town focusing on being a part of the community and being an integral part of a local volunteer-run non-profit. In fact, when I graduate, I fully expect it to be this non-profit volunteer work that gets me a job I'll be excited to have. Jobs that I qualify for turn up in my inbox from time to time from various listservs.
My strengths are creativity, plays well with others, and a sturdy passion for learning. I know grad school is more work than I think it will be. I have seen a lot of my friends struggle with the stress of qualifying exams and unfinished dissertations. I'm open to Masters and PhD programs as well as their equivalents if they're called something else elsewhere. There's no need to deter me with "wtf are you going to do with a grad degree in history," please.
I was diagnosed with ADD and put on ritalin from 4th-7th grades (then insurance changed), denied the diagnosis for a long time. Last summer I read up on it and realized I'm a textbook case. Didn't get diagnosed because the psychiatrist wanted to talk to my parents and I didn't want to involve them. I do not want to be medicated. I have decent coping skills (google calendar email alerts, what!) and patient friends, but not stellar grades. (My grades would probably be at least 0.3 better if I just handed more things in on time. I am working on this, as I feel like it is disrespectful to my teachers.) I didn't think I needed impressive grades for anything once I was in college, and turn that excess energy to my other love, the aforementioned non-profit.
I expect I can get at least 2 good academic recommendations (maybe 3 by the end of the year) and as many professional recommendations as I need. I have focused on recent non-"western" history. I know this is not sufficiently narrow for grad school, but believe I can narrow it down as needed.
Question: Are there schools that are appropriate for me, and me for them? If I could have everything I wanted, it would be oriented toward a study of non-western civilization(s) from some radically liberal perspectives. It would accept me in spite of my grades, and cover the cost of tuition such that I could actually afford to attend. I don't speak any language fluently other than English, but I'm willing to live anywhere that meets my above qualifications for a dream program. Arbitrary examples include: Sweden, Oregon, Antarctica, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Peru.