I have to ask you to forgive me the pun, ever since I started working on my second masters degree seven long years ago, I have dreamed of making a joke about “serving two masters”. And today, the day after being handed another diploma, I can finally say it.
So now I hold advanced degrees in both music and theology, my two great loves. Not only have I immersed myself in the study of these disciplines, I have also found employment in them. In fact, I have been doing both of them my entire adult life.
When I was a senior in college I considered getting a degree in liturgical music and was accepted into a great program. But I was already doing some work at a very basic level in that field, and I didn’t want to spend two years learning how to do something I was already doing pretty well. What I needed to do was learn how to sing better. So I did.
I ditched the liturgical music program idea and I spent two years in a conservatory, which was culture shock to me, coming from the ivory tower of a liberal arts school. I met some of the most creative people I know, and a few folks along the way who were, shall we say, less interesting than the people I was used to. I learned what the music scene was like, how to hang with other singers and instrumentalists and how to build a career. I needed that time to learn about that world. And frankly, I needed it to learn how to be an excellent musician.
When I finished that degree I was able to get a job – ah, the halcyon days of 2005, when there were still jobs to be had by people with degrees in singing! I got a job doing ministry and religious education, because that’s what I’d done during my volunteer year, and part of what I’d studied as an undergrad. I had the opportunity to take some classes in ministry, so I did and they interested me. So I took some more, satisfying my love of learning, and (dare I say it?) of school.
I took the classes I wanted, did an internship, jumped through a few hoops (the most significant of which being a 30+-page synthesis on the Sacrament of Reconciliation) and now have another credential. It reflects an interest I already had and skills I had already been exercising, and prepares me for the jobs that I already have.