Lately I've been thinking a lot about my education. I've always loved school and learning, but ever since graduating from college I've kept my learning to more domestic topics - food preserving, keeping a more organized home, homeschooling, sewing, nifty ways of getting all my cleaning done, healthy eating, expanding my cooking repertoire, etc.
After awhile though, my love of book learning and history tugs at my heart and I go back to thinking about going for a master's degree. I'd really like to do research and write articles, scholarly papers, and books and in general contribute to the field of my interest - namely food rationing during the World Wars. Unfortunately they don't take you seriously in the History field unless you've got a master's degree. I've even made it a matter of prayer and I keep feeling like I need to prepare myself, i.e. reading, studying, and making notes. The great thing is this kind of studying is free, it just takes time.
I do have down time here and there, but I usually waste it in the name of "relaxing" which more often than not takes the form of watching Korean dramas (LOVE). So, in other words, not a great use of my time, however entertaining. I want to use most of my time productively at least, which means reading the huge stack of books on war food rationing that I already own. And to be completely honest - I haven't read most of them. *GASP* It's horrible I know! To buy books and not read them, but, oh, is it comforting just knowing you have them! lol It's the eternal twisted fate of people who love old books and have one too many hobbies I guess...
Anyway, I had the idea to just act like I am studying for school. Have a list of all my books/magazines and slowly read through them, taking notes. Then as I broaden my knowledge base, I'll know where I'd like to focus my studies even more and THEN... I can make a few visits to the National Archives. *drool*. One reason I was so stoked to move out here to Maryland was that I would be one hour away from the archives - the home to pretty much everything I could ever dream of wanting to look at about rationing and propaganda... *geeky squeal* But to go do research there I need to know exactly what I want to look at which is not easy to narrow down, let me tell you!
A huge motivation for all of this is actually because of a friend of mine. She has the most incredible in-depth understanding of the WWII time period because she's an avid reader and lover of history. She would take a 1943 issue of Reader's Digest with her to the park to read while her kids played, she'd flip through a 1941 issue of McCall's Women's Magazine like it had just come to her mailbox that week, and read books published then and listen to music of the time. It's an adventure she went on with her kids (whom she homeschooled) until they actually laughed at the jokes about rationing (because they GOT it!) while listening to original radio broadcasts on CD. My admiration for her is just huge. I realized that I want to be just like that - to be at the point where I am that familiar and intimate with the time period that I feel absolutely comfortable talking and writing about it. Our conversations about WWII are so fun and refreshing, but also intimidating because I feel like I don't know anything even though I've loved reading about it since I was a teenager!
Something like this takes time, however, and I have a long way to go. I also know that if I don't start doing something about it now, 10 years down the road when I am finally in a position to pursue a master's degree, I know I will regret all of that wasted time.
So, I'm going to start one book, one magazine at a time and see where it takes me!