Saturday, April 21, 2012

And my life takes yet another twist

I like watching "Law & Order," for one thing because of the twists the plot always takes.  I think I like that aspect of it so much because it reminds me of my own life.

I despise job interviews, so I'm happy to be a historian and free-lance writer.  I'm my own boss and do not need to put up with interviews.  What I hate most about them is the awful question, "Where do you see yourself in five/ten years?"

Listen, my life has taken so many twists, I have learned that there is no way I can answer that question!  If someone had told me in 1971 that I would be in the military, I would have laughed.  I wanted to, even as a child, but it was the 1950s and "nice girls" did not do such things.  Well, I was sworn in as an enlisted member of the United States Coast Guard Reserve in February of 1976.

If someone had told me in 1974 that I would be a registered nurse working in Jacksonville's large hospitals, I would have said, "And what have you been smoking?"  I was capped and pinned in 1979, and began working in a hospital.  It did not last long. We had three deaths in the family in the space of two years, and the emotional toll was too much.

If someone had told me in the mid 1980s that I would have a book published, I would have told them they were nuts.  I started work on my first book, Booking Hawaii Five-0: An Episode Guide and Critical History of the 1968-1980 Television Detective Series in the early 90s, and it was published in 1997.  By the way, after fifteen years, it is still in print.  I have since produced a second, more seriously scholarly book, Non-Federal Censuses of Florida, 1784-1945: A Guide to Sources, which was published in 2010.

If someone had told me in 2002 that I would be going back to college, I would have had them committed to the loony bin as a danger to themselves and others.  I entered the University of North Florida with a double major in history and Spanish in 2007.

And when I entered UNF, if anyone had told me that in five years I would be pursuing a master's degree in history, I would have taken them to the nearest shrink.  I begin my master's studies in the fall.

The question is:  Where will I begin such studies?  And that is the latest twist my life has taken.

I have been accepted into the master's program at the University of North Florida.  However, my mentoring professor, one of the reasons I applied to the graduate school at UNF in the first place, is leaving.  He is going to the University of South Florida at St. Petersburg, where they have a program in "Florida studies," of which he will be a part.  He has been given an endowed chair there, with funding the like of which he did not get at UNF.  I do not think UNF realizes what they are losing.

So I am contemplating following him down to USFSP.  It will mean family separation, as we cannot move our household down there for a variety of reasons.  But it is only four hours away, so frequent visits home are certainly possible.

There are logistics to be worked out.  What my professor told me is that right now, what I need to do is look at the program of study, then if I like what I see, I need to get my application in.  Then we will see what we need to do to get funding for me.  We can pay for part of it, but with living expenses separate from home being thrown in, the tab has gone up considerably.

I do like the program, which I looked at last night.  It is an interdisciplinary program, and I get to, with the advice and consent of my advisor, design my own program.  I like that a lot.

I have to have a decision in three weeks.  Stay tuned.

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