Well, I can cross one more thing off that "to-do" list:
Get a Master's Degree.
I guess technically I won't 'graduate' until next month, but it's all over except the paperwork. I turned in my thesis last week, and now I wait for everything to be official.
Woo hoo! At last, the long hours of reading scholarly journals and tweaking my APA citations is past. I'm so glad I've done all of that, it's finally cleared the way for...what was that, again?
At least so far, the biggest change I've experienced by finishing this degree program is that I'm not entirely sure what I should do with my spare time (not that I always used that time to study or write before, mind you, I just knew I should be doing that). So two years and thousands of dollars later, I can say that I have precisely one extra (impending) piece of vellum to show for it. Oh, and working about 30 less hours a week. And one article that hasn't been picked up for publication. And many more years of paying student loans.
Don't get me wrong - I really enjoyed the degree program I just completed. I was definitely challenged in ways that my undergrad music education lacked, and I have undoubtedly emerged a better teacher because of what I just did. There's real value in that. And I might be able to use this new academic credential to land some work in higher ed...maybe. It may prove to be just another step on the way to one MORE piece of vellum, a few MORE years of student loan debt...but we're not thinking about that part just yet. Right now, it's nice to have the degree, and it's very good to have had the philosophical, intellectual, and critical experiences of Boston University to shape me into a better music educator.
In the end, though, being at home so much more than being in a classroom does sort of attenuate those feelings of usefulness and excitement to teach. I just spent two years and over $25K on a degree, and I'm a stay-at-home dad? If someone else told me they were in that scenario, I might judge them.
As you can see, I have mixed feelings. That's true about a great many things these days, so I guess it's fitting. In practical terms, though, finishing this degree means I need to create more structure in my life, now that one element of structure has been removed. Stay tuned for how that's going.