After completing my MA from SDSU, I thought it would be a great opportunity to continue my studies in pursuit of a PhD. I attended American University from 2010-2014, though “attended” is not exactly accurate. I completed my courses in the first two years. In the following two years, I passed two comprehensive exams and fiddled back-and-forth on an “outside field” research paper to satisfy my third comprehensive exam. After a number of revisions requested by my advisor, I wasn’t getting anywhere near to having a paper well enough to satisfy that requirement. If I had to do it again, I’d just take the exam instead.
It was at that time that I also had been the primary stay-at-home parent while my wife was working as an Assistant Professor at BYU. Watching the stress she underwent with respect to tenure (the “publish or perish” environment is ridiculous, in my opinion), coupled with the self-realization that I was largely pursuing a doctorate to satisfy my own pride, I decided to throw in the towel. It was not an easy decision to make. As a graduate, I thoroughly enjoyed engaging in academic discourse with professors and students in the seminar and conference settings. I really enjoy teaching, too. Ultimately, I had to decide if this was really something I wanted to pursue. I probably should have made that decision before spending as much money as we did on grad school. Well, I love my kids, and I think I’m a pretty decent dad. I wouldn’t trade the opportunity I’ve had to raise them for anything else in the entire world.
If you are interested in graduate studies in US History, here are some of the classes and seminars I attended at AU, along with the essays I wrote:
- History 500 American Women and Gender
- History 611 Interpreting the New World
- History 650 Colonial America: 1492-1763
- History 676 Americans and their Environment
- History 727 Colloquium in US History I: To 1865
- History 751 Research Seminar
- History 752 Research Seminar