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[personal profile] matt_doyle
 As you know if you've been following me on other social media, I've been thinking a lot lately about returning to academia.  I've been out for five years now, and career-wise I'm at a dead end - I have a solid resume for community organizing work, but I'm in a town where community organizers only get hired for election season; and I can't afford (nor do I want) to move at this time.  Job prospects on other fronts are pretty dismal... and this isn't just me being depressed and negative.  Since 2009 I've put in over 700 job applications and gotten nothing but temp work (mostly community organizing and canvassing work).  I've workshopped my resume twice.  I've networked as much as I can, although I'm admittedly bad at selling myself.  It's just not the Minnesotan way.

And all along, I've wanted to go back for a higher degree.  I just haven't seen a practical way to achieve that goal.

Well.  One of my local universities has both a master's program and a doctoral program in literature.  I can't pick and choose between schools the way I'd like to - doing that pushes my goal of a higher degree unseeably further into the future.  But I can pursue a master's degree in 2014 or 2015 right here, and get started.  It's not an ideal path, but it's an achievable one.  Tuition is reimbursed for TAs and the stipend they tack on on top of that would make grad school frankly the most lucrative career choice I've ever considered.

There is, of course, a catch.  In my last undergraduate semester, I was unable to take out the loans I needed to cover all of my tuition.  That means that at the present moment, I still owe $4600 directly to my alma mater, so they won't release transcripts to me, which means I can't apply.  At current irregular rates of income it would be between five or ten years before I could save enough to pay my current bills and still pay that down.

So I'm asking for help.  My debt to my college, GRE costs, application fees, and miscellaneous student activity fees at my school of choice total at $6035, and I'm trying to raise that money through... well, through asking friends, family, and kind-hearted strangers to offer me money.  In the last ten days I've already moved a staggering 10% of my way to that goal, more than I'd ever hoped... enough to bring me at least a year closer to that dream, but not enough yet to get me there by 2014 or 2015.

So I'm asking all of you, too.  Here is my gofundme page.  If you can spare even ten or twenty dollars, you'll be giving me a gift I will never forget.  I feel audacious and ashamed even to ask for this, but as far as I can tell, I've exhausted other viable options (the head of financial aid at the Minnesota Office of Higher Education and I had a long talk about it -- she's a great lady, very professional and very funny, and she returns her phone calls promptly, but even she didn't have any constructive suggestions for me -- and her office was hardly the first place I've called).

Why should you donate to me?  Well, maybe you shouldn't.  But I'm passionate about literature and the study of it.  I've (almost) always done quite well at school.  If you help me, I won't disappoint your expectations.  I will live my life and pursue my career fiercely and gratefully.  When an opportunity comes to help someone the way so many people have already helped me, I will take it (actually, that's true whether or not you give me a dime.  I'm already committed to the notion of crowdfunding education as a viable supplemental thing, better than more loans by a longshot).  I've also promised that, by request, I'll write short fiction for any and all donors at 5 cents a word.  Donate $10 and you get a couple drabbles.  $50 and you get 1,000 words, and so on.  You can commission me as specifically as you'd like and I'll do my best to deliver.

 I can't really offer a lot of incentives other than that.  Pictures of my cat, maybe.  My undying goodwill.

I've got a dream.  I'll get to it on my own, someday.

I'd like your help so that I can get there sooner.

ETA: My writing is over here if anyone’s wondering how worthwhile commissioning me might be!
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January 2014


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