Sunday, November 11, 2012

And Now For Something Completely Different

I’ve missed a few posts in recent times, and no doubt you are wondering what could drag me away, kicking and screaming, from my Adventures Underground.  And I am here to tell you, it has been a serious drag . . .

Ah, maybe not that serious.  Perhaps I should start from the beginning.

Months and months ago when I first began my trek though the trackless wilderness known as academia, I was in search of a career.  Something that I could get into relatively quickly, that I would be good at, and ideally would feed my soul as I did it.  Something that would fill a need within me for self-mastery, hopefully but not necessarily in dealing with the martial art, something that would allow me to explore the body-mind link and perhaps even allow me to help others learn how to make themselves stronger and healthier in the process.

So when becoming a Physical Therapy Assistant was suggested, it seemed a perfect choice.

I would learn the ways of the human body, and how to help it heal itself.  I would teach aspects of this understanding to others, train them in how to not only heal themselves, but how to avoid injury in the future.  This would allow me to become a more effective martial artist as well, and when the time came, a more effective martial arts trainer.  I have waxed poetic about how ridiculous I think it is that martial artists and athletes start to feel their bodies breaking down before they’re thirty.  I would use knowledge from PTA to help change that.  I could revolutionize the world.


I would take advantage of a cooperative program between Wossamotta U and Happy Valley, a fine campus just across the state line, to get my training at a price I could afford.  And so with this in mind, I have taken two semesters now of science-heavy classes and brain-scraping med-oriented curricula.

However comma this was before I was informed that I was categorically ineligible for the cooperative program because of my address.  Specifically, that I must live in a completely different (and more upscale) county than I do.  And I must prove that I have lived there for at least the last six months.

That sound you hear is not the sound of a large automobile screeching its tires and slamming into a brick wall.  That sound is my brain.

Like any campus, Wossamotta reserves the right to change the requirements of any of its programs without notice.  I had copied all the documentation when I was first preparing for the classes, and I double checked them now.  Nothing was mentioned about this then.  Based on the lack of this little detail in the information available Way Back When, and the hurry that the woman running the program was in to dismiss me and get me to stop wasting her time, it seems likely that yes indeed, the rules have changed.  I’m told that there was one, out-of-the way place it was mentioned, but that hardly matters now.  No one in either campus I’d talked to, including three councilors, had expected this.

So I have been busy dismissing thoughts of bell towers and high-powered rifles and focusing on changing gears in my academic career.  I have two semesters of classes and something over twenty thousand dollars in debt.  Not only do I still want a degree and a career option or two, I want to not waste what I’ve already done.

One of the draws for that particular PTA program had been guaranteed job placement upon graduation.  With that out of the way, all other options should be reconsidered.  And so, studying the system carefully, I think I will ultimately go into psychology. 

Now, to some of you that may seem like quite a change in paradigm.  So I'll ask you all to remember your Marcus Aurelius, and please consider the following:

Psychology is a study that has always fascinated me.  I am enough of a geek that I do in fact read papers written by friends taking psych courses, and I read old textbooks for fun.  Ultimately, I hope to get into research on the states of consciousness, find out more about the body-mind connection from the mind angle.  This is not to say that I would never do counseling, but I'm more interested in the experimentation angle.  Psychology by definition is a tool one can use to improve one’s understanding of one’s self, and I would also use it to improve my meditation techniques.  And, of course, better self-knowledge – and therefore self-mastery – can eventually mean being a better sensei.  Because at the end of the day, everything is training.

So, you see?  From physical therapy to psychology research, all as a martial art discipline.  Not that big a step, really.  It's all in how you look at it.

In the short run, I think I can apply some of the medical classes I’ve taken into science requirements, and the rest of them will go into electives.  With so many science courses, and life being as uncertain as it is, I will probably get an Associates’ of General Science Degree, choosing classes that will overlap into an Associates’ of Arts shortly thereafter.  From there I should be able to advance as I like.  It may be slow going, since after a while I’ll be working as well, but I have a new scheme in place and a forward to be going, so I am content.

Life continues to be a grand adventure.  And for all that there continue to be some rough times ahead, I’m still glad through it all to be spared a boring life.

Sometime again,


(The character may be (c) some vast octopus-like company or other like 20th Century Fox, but Tim Curry will always be Frankie and no one can take that away; Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner are still (c) Warner Brothers last I heard; Revolutionary Girl Utena was written and created by Chiho Saito; Calvin was created by Bill Watterson; Carl Jung essentially created himself and more power to him.)

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