“One of the deepest impulses in man is the impulse to record, – to scratch a drawing on a tusk or keep a diary, to collect sagas and heap cairns. This instinct as to the enduring value of the past is, one might say, the very basis of civilization. ” ~John Jay Chapman, Memories and Milestones
About a month ago, around the end of March, I filled out and sent in an application for the graduate school at the University of Maine at Orono. For those of you who have already read my previous entry, you know about the outcome. However, I would also like to share the “about me” essay that I had to write for the application. I had the hardest time fitting this into their word limit, but I worked it out. This might give all of you a better idea as to why I have chosen Maine Studies as my graduate area and to not expand specifically on my education degree.
I grew up in a small mill town in Oxford Country, Maine. Like other small towns, this one had its fair share of history, both living and that buried deep in the mountains. I left for the University of Maine the fall after I graduated from high school. I originally left with the goal of obtaining a degree in journalism. That goal changed soon after I realized that such a degree would most likely lead me out of the only state I wanted to be in. So, I went to the backup plan of getting a degree in secondary education with a concentration in English.
After graduating from college, the only jobs that became available to me were various educational technician positions. While I enjoy working with students, this was not what I expected to be doing. It leaves me with free time that I would love to be able to put to better use. After thinking at great length, I finally came to conclusion to use my time to go back to school with hopes of eventually teaching courses that I find meaningful and interesting.
As I looked at the “free reading” material I had been gravitating to since getting out of college, a listing that I seemed to have refreshed from my high school days, I realized a pattern emerging: they were all books having to do with Maine. The history of Maine; the economy of Maine; teaching in Maine, alternative history mixed with science-fiction surrounding a Maine Civil War regiment; the list goes on and on.
When I finally decided that it was about time for me to go back to school to get my Master’s degree, I ran into a real stumbling block. A lot of Master’s programs did not fit what I was looking for. Ideally my objective is to learn more about the state of Maine during the 19th century, including the societal, cultural, and economic effects of some of the greatest events during that time. I feel that the Master’s of Arts in Liberal Studies would give the opportunity to focus on such a topic through a mixture of Maine Studies courses, Canadian/Franco-American and American literature courses focusing on pieces of the time, and history courses outlining the major events that led to economical and societal changes throughout the state. The flexibility of an interdisciplinary degree program would allow me to weave together pieces of Maine knowledge tight enough to make a strong and sturdy trestle to bring others to a more in depth understanding of our state.
I am a life long learner. I am a lover of history, of literature, and of culture. I am a child of Maine and a piece of Maine. I feel that one of the best things that I can do to return all that Maine has given to me is to learn more about Her and pass that knowledge on. This is what the Maine Studies program is all about. I would be very appreciative if I was allowed to follow this discipline for my Master’s program. It would allow me to not only fulfill my own selfish needs as a student, but allow me to pass on information about our state in my duties and abilities as an educator.
The proposed program of studies that I built for myself follows. It took a little ingenuity, but I feel as though it will serve me well. I can petition at any time to change for a different course selection, and that is nice to know as well.
- LIB 500 – Grad. Seminar in Liberal Studies
- LIB 500 – Grad. Seminar in Liberal Studies
- LIB 699 – Master’s Project in Liberal Studies
- LIB 699 Master’s Project in Liberal Studies
- INT 491 – A Midwife’s Tale and the Social Web
- MES 520/INT 441 – Maritime History and Archeology in New England
- MES 520 – Maine and the Maritime: Sea, Story, and Song
- MES 530 – Maine Politics and Policy
- MES 520/HTY 210 – History of Maine
- HTY 602 – Seminar: U.S. History 1789 – 1850
- PAX 495 – Advance Topics in Peace and Reconciliation