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Author Topic: Is living the single life as a scholar a realistic vocation?  (Read 1902 times)

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Offline moneil

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Re: Is living the single life as a scholar a realistic vocation?
« Reply #15 on: September 20, 2022, 09:00:55 PM »
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  • Quote from the original post

    Quote
    I’m not opposed to doing some manual work to support myself, but with my bad eyesight, options are pretty limited. I don’t think I’d be able to support myself merely by writing books/articles though.
    Some have seemed to take the OP to task by lecturing him that he can’t possible support himself by writing and he’d better forget about that (or at least lay the idea aside for a while) and find a job.  In fairness to him, he rather explicitly acknowledged that reality (see quote above from the original post), and was he asking the forum for
    • Ideas for where he might live that would allow him to devote his life to prayer and study, and also have affordable housing and food (and by context utilities, transportation, and other expenses generally considered necessary);
    • Ideas for what specific ways he might support himself.

    My reply did expand beond his original request in that (without knowing any other pertinent information) I suggested that he should be sure his eyesight issues are well sorted out (and remedied if possible) as I wondered how, if it is really poor, that would work out for one who is a scholar and writer.  I also commented on employment that would seem to suite his situation and is often available, based on personal experience (working for a library).



    Online Ladislaus

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    Re: Is living the single life as a scholar a realistic vocation?
    « Reply #16 on: September 20, 2022, 10:36:49 PM »
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  • You have a second job? I hope things are going okay. I'll pray for you

    Thank you.  Yeah, about 80 hours per week for over a year now.  I'll probably be dead within another 2 years at the rate I'm going.  God bless you.


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    Re: Is living the single life as a scholar a realistic vocation?
    « Reply #17 on: September 21, 2022, 01:48:54 AM »
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  •  have known a few Traditional Catholics accepted into a PhD program at an "Ivy League" school (to study Medieval manuscripts/Gregorian chant) who received stipends of over $50K per year for 5 years.


    However, this is more the exception rather than the rule. In a typical situation (average state university) a PhD stipend in the US is often only between $15K-$30K per year. This money may come in the form of scholarships, grants awarded to research proposal (s), or in part by functioning as a teaching assistant.  


    I think an important question the OP could explore (in addition to the big question of supporting himself) is whether the PhD is actually needed for the kind of work he wants to write. Does he want to conduct research/write papers for some kind of peer-reviewed journal (which would need a PhD/doctorate), or does he want to write books, articles, or informal newsletters on theological subjects for fellow traditional Catholics (which most likely wouldn't require PhD)?  Graduate school can be rough, and given the broken modern university system (which is problematic in so many aspects), it could be especially difficult for a traditional Catholic at this time. Whether this is ultimately worth it depends on what the OP wants to learn and how he plans to use that knowledgeI do think a choice to pursue a PhD nowadays would need to be thought through very, very, carefully.
    OP wouldn't be saving anything on a 15k stipend, so I guess it's important to get into a university that pays a stipend that's at least 30k per year. 

    But is being a teaching assistant almost a requirement to get that stipend? That might be problematic because it distracts from researching full time. Depending on how many hours goes into the teaching assistant role, it may not be worth it. 

    Even though PhD is not needed for a future job, it could at least provide him the money to do what he would do anyway in his free time, but it would help to know how much time is spent as a teaching assistant to see if it's worth it. 

    Alternatively, OP could get into IT field (by self-study), work for a few years to make enough money to be able to research without working for some years. Maybe OP could even make passive income from buying a condo and renting it out or Airbnb. 





    Offline hansel

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    Re: Is living the single life as a scholar a realistic vocation?
    « Reply #18 on: September 21, 2022, 08:11:18 PM »
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  • OP wouldn't be saving anything on a 15k stipend, so I guess it's important to get into a university that pays a stipend that's at least 30k per year.

    But is being a teaching assistant almost a requirement to get that stipend? That might be problematic because it distracts from researching full time. Depending on how many hours goes into the teaching assistant role, it may not be worth it.

    Even though PhD is not needed for a future job, it could at least provide him the money to do what he would do anyway in his free time, but it would help to know how much time is spent as a teaching assistant to see if it's worth it.

    Alternatively, OP could get into IT field (by self-study), work for a few years to make enough money to be able to research without working for some years. Maybe OP could even make passive income from buying a condo and renting it out or Airbnb.






    Yes, from what I have observed, the teaching assistantship does appear to be an expected part of a typical PhD program in the US. Typical PhD students often work 40-60 hours per week to get everything done (research+classes+teaching), sometimes more. However, there are a lot of program and school-specific variables in this. Figuring out if the situation is feasible therefore depends on learning the protocols of the specific school, thoroughly researching the particular lab member (s)/research groups who are supporting the PhD, and ideally speaking with students who have graduated from the program to ask what their experience was like. 


    For example, some programs have the PhD students teach throughout all 4-5 years, others during only some of them (to permit more time for the dissertation research). Typically the PhD students teach parts of an undergraduate class (perhaps a laboratory section or recitation, but not the main lecture) This in and of itself can take a long time, but the professors are still responsible for the main lectures, creating a course structure, creating tests, etc.  However, schools with fewer instructors sometimes put the PhD's completely in charge of classes (which is a bad idea for everyone, including the PhD student). This can seriously delay or even prevent a student from graduating. Beware of schools that offer "easy" PhD 's because their departments are growing too big for their own good and they "need more teachers". 


    One of the biggest factors of all though is the way PhD programs are structured. The big characteristic of the PhD (and other thesis/dissertation-based degrees) is that gaining it does not depend solely on passing classes. Rather, it is an apprenticeship with one research faculty member or mentor (the PhD advisor), who is supposed to be the master of a specific discipline. You are supposed to produce original work in this discipline under the direct guidance of this advisor. Ultimately, the student has to "defend" this work in front of a large number of instructors, who ask questions to test the quality of the work.


    As a result, the outcome/difficulty of all this largely depends on the PhD advisor. If the PhD advisor is ethical and a good mentor, they won't overload the PhD student with teaching responsibilities. If they are nasty, they will pile their own teaching responsibilities onto the PhD student, preventing the student from producing appropriate research. A good advisor will help a student graduate as quickly and smoothly as possible. A bad advisor can single-handedly block a student from graduating, even at the last moment or on a whim. Some advisors are micromanagers who will basically tell the student what to do with every minute of their time; on the opposite extreme others are distant and only consult with the student every few weeks. Therefore, in addition to the financial side of things, figuring out if a prospective PhD advisor is someone you are comfortable working with very closely for 4-5 years is also crucial.


    I'd say that if the OP is definitely planning to go down the PhD route, one of the most important initial steps is to meet in person with the potential advisor (or even better, work with them for a while as a volunteer or non-PhD student worker). This will help determine what kind of person the advisor is by observing their interactions with current students/staff. If the advisor is a raving liberal, a narcissist, or negligent, the degree will obviously not go well. If the advisor respects the student's ideas/traditional mindset, wants to help the student realize those ideas, and also is willing to put in the time to advise the student, those are good signs. By and large, most academics nowadays are liberal in their worldview, but there still are some sympathetic to traditional-minded students or dissertation topics. It can take time to find these though. Reading the prospective advisor's published work is a good approach too. Depending on the subject, it can sometimes reveal a lot about their worldview... 




    Offline ServusInutilisDomini

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    Re: Is living the single life as a scholar a realistic vocation?
    « Reply #19 on: September 22, 2022, 09:18:52 AM »
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  • Pray the six Sundays devotion to St Aloysius for the intention of discerning your vocation. St Aloysius is patron of youth and a sure guide in discernment.

    As part of the spiritual reading included in the devotion I suggest the masterpiece biography by V. Cepari.



    Offline AMDGJMJ

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    Re: Is living the single life as a scholar a realistic vocation?
    « Reply #20 on: September 23, 2022, 05:40:01 AM »
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  • The ideal vocation for me would be to live as a Traditional Dominican friar( so I could devote my life to prayer and study) However, there are really only 2 Traditional Dominican communities in the world today, and given my health issues, I can’t really join either of them.

    Nevertheless, I want to devote my life to prayer and study( I want to live as a Dominican would without being a Dominican) Im currently in university and I may go for a PhD, but I have no desire to teach at a modern university.

    I have very poor eyesight( so it’s difficult for me to cook and do laundry- perhaps I could learn to do both ) I also don’t drive.

    So at this point, my thinking is that once I finish all of my degrees, I’ll move to a place with cheap housing/food and a solid( non-SSPX) Trad chapel. At that point I’d start writing articles and books.

    Here are some questions I have
    1. Any recommendations for where I could live? I’ve thought about learning French and moving to a place like Avrille( where the Dominicans are) but I’m not sure what housing options are available in a place that rural. Like I said, I’d be looking for a place with cheap housing/food.
    2. I’m not opposed to doing some manual work to support myself, but with my bad eyesight, options are pretty limited. I don’t think I’d be able to support myself merely by writing books/articles though. Any thoughts on how I might support myself?

    Feel free to PM
    Have you ever considered being a third order religious?

    Many people have done this who have not been able to join fully into religious orders.

    Some lived at the monasteries and helped serve them in the kitchens and gardens.  Some lived at home with family and others lived alone.

    Here are a couple examples of such saints:

    Saint Martin de Porres
    Saint Catherine of Siena

    Have you talked to any priests about your vocation?  They might be able to offer some suggestions.  Hope it all works out well for you. :pray:
    "Jesus, Meek and Humble of Heart, make my heart like unto Thine!"

    http://whoshallfindavaliantwoman.blogspot.com/

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    Re: Is living the single life as a scholar a realistic vocation?
    « Reply #21 on: September 25, 2022, 04:20:16 PM »
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  • Have you ever considered being a third order religious?
    Yes, you should consider that, such as the Dominican Third Order led by Fr. Albert, O.P. (USA).

    Offline Geremia

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    Re: Is living the single life as a scholar a realistic vocation?
    « Reply #22 on: September 25, 2022, 04:21:26 PM »
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  • I don’t think I’d be able to support myself merely by writing books/articles though.
    The Latin translator Ryan Grant, founder of Mediatrix Press, does.
    St. Isidore e-book library: https://isidore.co/calibre


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    Re: Is living the single life as a scholar a realistic vocation?
    « Reply #23 on: September 25, 2022, 05:17:14 PM »
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  • If he has not been mentioned already, Charles Coulombe seems to manage well with his writing for different publications and periodicals, considering that he is able to afford studying in Austria away from home for the past few years.

    https://www.tumblarhouse.com/collections/Charles-A-Coulombe

    Offline Kephapaulos

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    Re: Is living the single life as a scholar a realistic vocation?
    « Reply #24 on: September 25, 2022, 05:18:12 PM »
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  • If he has not been mentioned already, Charles Coulombe seems to manage well with his writing for different publications and periodicals, considering that he is able to afford studying in Austria away from home for the past few years.

    https://www.tumblarhouse.com/collections/Charles-A-Coulombe
    "Non nobis, Domine, non nobis; sed nomini tuo da gloriam..." (Ps. 113:9)

    Offline Yeti

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    Re: Is living the single life as a scholar a realistic vocation?
    « Reply #25 on: September 25, 2022, 05:26:41 PM »
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  • If he has not been mentioned already, Charles Coulombe seems to manage well with his writing for different publications and periodicals, considering that he is able to afford studying in Austria away from home for the past few years.

    https://www.tumblarhouse.com/collections/Charles-A-Coulombe
    I believe Charles Coulombe is independently wealthy.