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mfa's after 40

updated mon 31 oct 05


mel jacobson on sun 30 oct 05

what i have told people over and over...and over.

if you are seeking an advanced degree in studio art, you
are over 40....make sure that you have your eyes open,
know your goals and make them...`self`.

any education, skill, studio building are for you and you alone.

you do these things to improve self.

if you get a law degree to make your mom and dad happy...i have
a hunch you will be a poor attorney. you become a law student
because you have a passion for becoming an attorney.
it becomes a life long quest.

also it is important to know that your values and attitude
towards advanced education may be far different than those
around you in grad school. three generations of attitude may
be between you, your professors and the students you share
space with. (of course this can become a benefit in certain situations.)

when you add cost of degree, differences in values, time from
family and mfa at 50 is daunting.

i did my apprenticeship in japan when i was 39. i felt i was at the
far end of my limit to do a thing like that. it was hard. family was
disrupted, kids taken out of school, house shut down for a year...
but, we did it...and i did it for become a knowledgeable, skilled
that indeed did happen. it served me personally for years.

when i studied at the university of minnesota and did my 90 credit painting
endeavor...i did it for self. but, no question....those 90 advanced credits
paid me big time as it came near the end of my teaching career and added
a great deal to my retirement final 5 years. it kicked me into the final step
of the salary scale/years of service, most advanced degree, age.
so, it did have a financial reward. i could not, however, do that study just
for a financial reward. it was the study of art/painting that was the
passion that made it work for me.

i have talked to kelly about the mfa thing. she will do the right thing
for her and her family. she is a smart women...has a passion for her
family and will make her pottery work for her. she loves clay, loves
her town, friends and family...when she decides to study more, it will
happen...and i know she will find a direction that makes all happy.

as grandma used to say....`they can't take education away from you`.
but, i have seen a number of people that have thrown away their family
and friends to seek an advanced degree....and then have wondered a few
years later when they are unemployed, have great debt...`was it worth it?`
it reminds me of a friend that has a degree in latin. nice degree, he loves
his studies...but, not a lot of call on for folks with a degree
in latin. but, what the hell, he loves it.
from mel/