Please note: My very wise and diligent mother has advised against posting this. As she is almost always correct in matters such as these, as well as most others, I do this with only the best of intentions and with a full awareness that chances are good that my most devoted and sage mother is correct, and that I am perhaps sacrificing the successful future I plan to enjoy, as delineated below, for the sheer kicks I get out of spending a dozen minutes writing such a thing after spending several hours upon hours researching options for my eventual return to academia.
Secondly, please note that this return to academia will not occur within this calendar year, and most likely, if all plans go ahead, my graduate education will not begin within the next three years. But before then, I plan to return to school to take further classes at the undergraduate level, and face the difficult task of placing my varied interests under the banner of one or two departments of study.
Statement of Intent:
I plan to have achieved some degree of clarity by the age of 30. Until then, I would like to be granted permission to spend time among the smart people at your institution. (Insert name of world-class institution of higher learning here.)
As far as the “analytical problem or question” I would most like to pursue, I shall explain it thusly:
Be it understood, henceforth, that my group of friends is unerringly intelligent and many would say, quite beautiful. More scientifically put, in the 95th percentile of intelligence, at the very least.
Why, then, is it that I, and the majority of the people with whom I keep company have such persistent difficulty in deciding how to spend our time?
Is it the sheer plethora of options now available to people of intelligence, wit, and not particularly limited economic means?
In their highly acclaimed followup to Freakonomics, Superfreakonomics, Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner point out that in previous years intelligent women almost unfailingly became schoolteachers. This is no longer the case, as there are many other options available, and, I might add, a rather dire shortage of positions for new schoolteachers in our beloved home country of Canada.
Or is our uncertainty derived from the pressures of a modern life? Our focus torn among competing stimuli, our brains alert and sensitized from morning to evening?
Our attention is diverted in boundless different directions. Though I have recently (read: in the last seven years) decided against the pursuit of a career in medicine or the life sciences, I have failed to find a significant narrowing of academic interests in my desired fields of study, namely, I would like to combine a thorough understanding of history, government, economics, languages, peace and conflict, anthropology, psychology, behavioural sciences and contemporary philosophical thought into an understanding of certain facets (as all would be not only a foolish, but an impossible goal) of the modern world. Following this, I would like to apply this knowledge to a vocational path which would, in its ideal form, provide a living wage and allow me to become wildly invested in the accomplishment of certain meaningful goals, to be determined over the course of my studies and several very likely unpaid jobs. Furthermore, I would like to work with human beings, not only corporations. I would like to write regularly, and not apply very much of the several years of advanced mathematics I have undertaken in the course of past pursuits. I would, with some regularity, like to feel as though I am accomplishing something, but failing this, am willing to find fulfilment in this area of my life through a continued passion for productive pastimes such as baking and basket-weaving.
To conclude, there you have it, this is what I have so far. As previously stated, by the age of 30, I should have achieved some greater degree of clarity. Not that I will have any more answers, but I very much hope that I will be more certain of what it is that I am confused about.