Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Long Story, Shorter

What would you do if, just once, you had the opportunity and the resources necessary to make one of your wildest dreams come true? Hi, my name is Tom, and this will be the story of my final preparations for, journey to, and adventures in Scotland. This being the first post, I'll tell you a little about myself and give you some background on my upcoming expedition.

I'm originally from Oregon, and graduated from Oregon State University. In 2004, I spent my Summer working as a pallbearer in England, and had the opportunity to visit Scotland for the first time. My stops included Inverness, Aberdeen, Orkney, Thurso, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Stranraer. Once I graduated, I worked as an instructor for the Army in California, as a technical writer and risk management consultant for the DoD, and as a security consultant in the Middle East. I've been interested the UK generally, and particularly Scotland, for many years.

In Spring of 2010, I felt unsettled at my job in Virginia, and started looking for an opportunity to do something different. Knowing that I was interested in Scotland, a friend and colleague who I'll refer to hereafter as "Aunt Jo" sent me the link to the University of Aberdeen and suggested that I look into graduate school there. I found Aberdeen's MSc in Strategic Studies listed on their website, decided that it would be a great match for my interests and background, and immediately began planning. I put together spreadsheets to forecast saving money to finance my studies, and began to make lists of the things I would need to take with me in order to be successful and enjoy myself. Shortly after Aunt Jo and I had that conversation, I was transferred into a different job, and then a few months later I had the opportunity to take a promotion and transfer to a position overseas - longer hours and more demanding duties, but much better pay. I was very careful with the money I made, and by the time that opportunity came to an end, I had saved enough to finance my studies in Aberdeen.

I arrived back in Oregon in early Spring of this year, and most of my time since then has been spent preparing for Aberdeen. I've read some of the textbooks for the courses I'll be taking, swam laps at the pool and gone on a few hikes to get ready for covering most of my daily mileage on foot, and started purchasing one thing or another to take with me. I submitted my application in early June, sorted out a hiccough with my letters of reference in early July, got official confirmation of my acceptance, and just sent my offer acceptance back this week. There are a few more administrative hurdles to be jump, and then in mid-September, I'll box my life in Oregon up for a year, pack what I need, and make the trek with my buddy "Gus", who's helping me to move my stuff over there.

While I was in the Middle East, I sent occasional E-mails home to family and friends documenting my adventures, and I intend to do something similar this time, so the blog will probably become the home of most of that content, with some additional items - probably about 85% overlap between the two. Until then, keep checking back every few days to track my progress. Between now and September, my posts will document my preparation and departure, as well as my plans for my time in Aberdeen. Once I've settled into life as a graduate student there, I'll transition into posting about my week-to-week life, academic pursuits, and adventures in Scotland and elsewhere.

No comments:

Post a Comment