I had an informal interview at Carnegie Mellon yesterday, and it turns out that Carnegie Mellon is the Portland of academia -- it has everything I ever wanted, at the highest quality. I think I want this more than anything I've ever lusted for.
We discussed my entry to their Information Systems program. That is not a computer science degree. It doesn't deal with the computers that process information as much as it deals with the information itself, although computers is a big part of the degree program.
I just submitted a summary of my skills and employment history to the advisor. She will be using that as a springboard to introduce me to the departmental advisor, she said. But in the meantime I'll wait and wonder where the fuck I'm going to get $150,000.00, the conservative estimate for a four-year degree there. Perhaps some of my credits will transfer, but I studied music, for crissake.
If I don't qualify for the IS degree (pleaseohpleaseohplease, let me qualify and get some obscure alumnus scholarship set aside for old farts PLEASE!), they have something just as obscure -- a major in technical writing! I've never seen a tech writing major at any other school. They claim they're the first, and I believe it.
I can't believe I'm excited about the prospect of going back to school. It wouldn't be until next year, which means I have decisions to make. I can make more money in PDX than Pittsburgh, I'm sure. I can definitely have more fun in PDX. But I'm weighing my options, trying not to get my hopes up too high -- from the school's literature, we non-traditional transfer students don't exactly have priority for scholarships or admission. I'm not nearly as scared of student loans as I was when going to Rice, and I know my earning potential will be greatly enhanced with this degree, so I'd be able to pay them back.
Still, I'm not in this for the money. I need fulfillment. I want validation. I want challenges. The last few years in Anchorage have been a big patronizing bore for my career -- and I used to derive great pleasure from my work. I love completing projects. It gives me a great rush to put that last record in the archive, to send that last e-mail to the project manager saying, "That's it. It's all done. Next?"
The coursework is in the real world -- the literature says that we would be expected to design and implement a management system for a local non-profit or charity organization. The student to faculty ratio is only 10:1. The campus is marvelous -- it's an oasis in the middle of Shittsburgh, just as Rice was to Houston.
Damn. I really wish I'd've known I was smart when I was in High School.
And yes, Rainy, that part *is* a midlife crisis remark ;)
Wish me luck. In the meantime, I wait.