My Plan: Thoughts?

When I taught Catholic high school, I once heard a speaker say that persons who write down their life goals are exponentially more likely to succeed than persons who do not, and earn x times more money. I likely had heard this before, but this time it stuck with me.

Well, I’m no longer teaching Catholic high school, and my life situation has changed considerably. For a while, I considered the priesthood, but in discerning I have discovered a few things: 1) I only would become a priest if I were already married (which I am not, and do not foresee in the near future), 2) I habitually have too many skeptical and questioning thoughts about Christianity and religion in general, 3) I have had problems with depression, and this would hamper me in the various pastoral demands.

So, with the priesthood scratched out for me, I have been focusing on what I long have felt drawn toward: college teaching. I already have a BA in English and an MA in Theology. My thought at the time of teaching high school was to use the experience as a stepping stone to applying to a PhD program in historical theology and then applying toward a teaching position at a college.

Unfortunately, the high school job was a disaster (kids were crazily stressful) and the school wanted its teachers to work toward an MA in Education (for which I could care less). Since the time I left high school teaching, I have been working for a financial institution. I’m not happy in it (it’s a low position that doesn’t make use of my skills), and I’m now working toward an accounting degree, which I hope will make me more marketable. Accounting seems it would put me in a better position that is more mentally challenging, but it does not fit into my life passions. So, I came up with a tentative plan, a list of goals to accomplish. Since I’m in the early stage of planning, I was hoping others could offer feedback.

5-10 Year Plan:

  1. Complete degree in accounting. I have the monetary funds, intelligence and work ethic to complete with a satisfactory grade level.
  2. Find an accounting-related job that pays decent (a “living wage” at least) and yet offers some flexibility of hours. Maintain a strict personal budget and allocate money toward a school tuition savings account.
  3. Apply to a PhD program, either Historical Theology or Patristics, at a Jesuit university. Apply for part-time rather than full-time status, so I can take classes over a longer period of time, and so manage work and school effectively.
  4. Use accumulated funds to pay each course. Work on and complete thesis.
  5. Apply toward adjunct position at a university or college, and teach part-time on the side, in addition to my accounting profession.
  6. Have job and financial security (more or less) with accounting profession, and fulfill my passion of earning a PhD and being immersed in the academic environment.

Your thoughts are much appreciated!

Seems like an aggressive and a reasonable plan .

Talk it over with Your Father.

And think your plan through with the eyes of God- how will these things help you to serve Him and others.

Also consider some spiritual goals - perhaps some habits and virtues you want to develop:greater fortitude, patience humility, read and deeply under stand scripture, etc

It is a misconception to think that applying to a Ph.D program is the same as applying to an MS program. It would behoove you to look into the application process before assuming you would even be accepted.

It sounds like you know your capabilities, go for it! God bless you in your career choices.

The only area where I am very qualified to give you advice is about your PhD. Do not go to a Jesuit University if you can select another. Almost every Jesuit university in the country is on a downward spiral at this time and while they still maintain good reputations, it won’t be long before the reputations go down with the decreasing quality of education. A once great order, so it pains me to say this.

Thanks for the tip. It’s a good one. Last year I seriously looked at PhD programs. I re-took the GRE to increase my score, and recorded the application requirements for each school to which I intended to apply. I was on the verge of requesting letters of recommendation from former professors when I determined now was not the time to apply (for reasons of bad health and reasons related to family death).

I’ll keep this in mind. I have respect for the Jesuits, even though many are a little off in their views, and I hope the quality of education at Jesuit schools does not diminish.

Thanks everyone else whom I did not address directly for your advice.

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