A year ago, I felt on the verge of a new chapter in my life. Today, I’m about to finish that chapter, and start on a new one.
In my last Life Lately, I talked about how I applied to the Master’s in Public Administration program at UP Diliman. I’d deferred getting an MA right away when I joined the civil service, just so I could see how well I’d like being a part of the government. (I do.) So this summer, I thought of working out where to get my MA. I didn’t want to have to ask money for my tuition fees from my mom again, so of course UP was my first choice.
I got in!
Last July 14th, I opened the UP-NCPAG website and found my name on the list of passers. Naturally, I was ecstatic. It made me feel like I was really taking this career path seriously. After all, one of the things about government service is it’s difficult to get promoted without an MA. I trooped off merrily to UP Diliman to submit all my requirements.
One of those requirements was a plan of study, which is essentially a guideline of the classes you’ll be taking and how long it’ll take you to finish the program. The program requires a student to take thirty-six units all in all. I put down that I’d be taking six units per semester, which is four classes a year. That means I’ll finish the program in (hopefully) three years.
This semester, I enrolled in my first two classes: Theory and Practice of Public Administration, and The Philippine Administrative System. Thank all the gods above and below, my classes are all on a Saturday, so I won’t have to haul ass trying to get from the DFA to UP Diliman in time (Filipino commuters, holla at me).
The Masters in Public Administration program offers three tracks: Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C. I chose Plan B, or the non-thesis/comprehensive examination track. From the NCPAG website:
Plan B aims to provide students with the theoretical background and technical skills needed for the effective implementation of public policy in a developing country. Students under Plan B may choose from the following fields of specialization: public policy and program administration, organization studies, fiscal administration, local government and regional development, voluntary sector management, public enterprise management, and spatial information management.
I won’t be choosing a field of specialization yet, but I’m leaning towards public policy and program administration! It sounds fascinating, and is pretty much in line with what I want to acheive as a member of the civil service.
While this isn’t a thesis program, I will eventually do one – after all, I want to teach eventually, and I can’t do that without a Ph.D., and I can’t do a Ph.D. without a thesis-track M.A. I thought of doing my thesis abroad, once I apply for a scholarship and study leave (yes, yes, I have lofty ambitions – so sue me) so I’ll have more time to work on a thesis. Obviously, if I juggle working on a thesis with a nine-to-five job, I might actually drop dead of sheer exhaustion. (As if I already don’t have more than enough reason to feel burnt out every weekend.)
So that’s my most recent life update. I’m kinda worried about juggling grad school and work, but it’s not like I’m the first person in the world to do that, right? Time management is the key, I suppose. (If anyone’s got useful blog posts about time management and/or balancing working and studying, please leave them in the comments. I could use all the help I can get!)