Friday, November 7, 2014

Masters' in Priorities

I am more than half way finished with my third class, Theories and Principles of Language Teaching with Dr. Lily Compton, in the Umass Boston online version of their Applied Linguistics Program
The student caliber is high, the median age I would guess to be mid thirties (with plenty above and below that age) and from all over the world – Greece, France, Japan, Philippines, and the U.S. The weekly work requirements involve about 12 hours of reading and writing, with possibly a bit more for a perfect record of responding thoughtfully and with academic weight to the comments of fellow students. The reading is interesting, particularly Vivian Cook's SecondLanguage Learning and Language Teaching: Fourth Edition(Dry title, dry humor.)
In spite of all that, I am taking next semester off. Cancer snapped me into a new set of priorities, and I'm not sure getting a(nother) masters' is how I want to spend whatever time I have here in this crazy and lush world of the senses.
I spoke with my advisor, the well known Professor/Dr. Lilia Bartolome, the day before yesterday, and she was interested, helpful, and understanding. She asked if I wanted to drop out, but I don't know that, yet. I might just be in a sickness accentuated slump of enthusiasm, common to many people at this point in any course of action.
So, I'll wait, paint, write, and meditate, and, if I still feel wishy washy in a few months, I'll drop out.

Meanwhile, I am trying to prepare for a December show at AS220, and taking a free Coursera Intro to Guitar class, offered by Thaddeus Hogarth at the Berklee School of Music, and, yes, tinkering around with a novel when I have a second or two... 
Overcommitment, anyone?


  1. It's been fun "getting to know you" via your blog. We have at least a couple of things in common -- surviving cancer, an interest in Linguistics -- and I've enjoyed reading your insights.
    Unfortunately for me, and despite being available online, UMB's MA in Applied Linguistics isn't going to get me where I want to be (i.e., eventual admission to a PhD program). No MA in Applied Linguistics will do that. And I've found no more theoretically-oriented MA program that would be available to someone who must work full-time (as I do) -- either online or with evening/weekend classes. Bummer.
    Good luck with your decision to continue (or not).

  2. Hi Grumpy Dutch! I thought you might be interested in the thoughts of one of my current teachers when I asked her about phd programs accepting a master's in applied linguistics:


    That depends on what your interests are. There are different "specializations" with Phd programs even with linguistics. For example, at Iowa State University, their Phd program specializes in technology (Applied Linguistics and Technology) while at Arizona State University, they specialize in Corpus Linguistics.


    Dr. Lily Compton

    Department of Applied Linguistics

    University of Massachusetts Boston

  3. It's nice to see others affiliated with our program blogging :-) (even if I am late to the party!) It is true that for PhD programs, knowing what your end-goals is (i.e. what type of PhD program you want to be in) will influence what type of MA program you do into :)

    If you're into theoretical linguistics (syntax, morphology, phonetics, etc.) then an MA in linguistics (not applied ling) will be more valuable as it will give you the bases you need to enter (and be successful) in your future pursuits. Even in APLING there is a wide variety of applications of linguistics. If you're interested in teaching and learning, then UMB (or something like UMB) would be appropriate. If you're interested in a PhD in an area of cognition and psychology of language, another program would be best (again, keeping that end-goal in mind).

    Hope all is well :-)

    1. Awesome, AK! Thank you for that helpful comment. I know a lot of people come to this page looking for precisely that sort of feedback, so I really appreciate your help getting the information out there.