Sunday, June 7, 2015

On my own "Unsolicited solicitation of advice"

Five years ago now, I first reached out to figure how to extend my knowledge formally, to the director of graduate studies at the economic department at the University of Illinois - Chicago.

Unsolicited solicitation of advice:

You do not know me, but I have a question.  I have become more and
more interested in economics in the last few years.  As the
re(de)pression came about, and it looked like there was no fact no
‘end of depression economics’ and instead the field remained at
contention in reference to the large structural aspects, I have become
interested to the point of self educating myself.  I have followed the
contemporary debates in the field and that has sent me back to
theoreticians going back to when it was called ‘political economy’
such as Smith, Marx and Hayek.
I want to go back to school, but I am not sure the track to take.  I
have a degree and some graduate study in English, so I can understand
the rigor of advanced study.  I have an objective side too.  I studied
chemistry before dreaming of being a writer.  I have taught chemistry,
both as a TA in college and at the high school level.  If and when I
enroll in a program, I will have to brush up on my mathematics; I
realize this.  However, the more I think of what I want to do, the
less it has to do with applying my liberal arts degree and the more it
has to do with reeducating myself in an area of study that explores
the inner and outer workings of society (not to be too deterministic
about things).
My question is simple: What path do I take?  Do I go back for a BA?
Should I, or even can I, enroll in an MA program and try to fill in my
knowledge? Alternatively, do I remain an interested layman, on a
program of self-education with my interest remaining hobby-like?

Thank you,

J. Edgar Mihelic

And she was nice --

Hi J. Edgar,

   If you have a strong interest in Economics, I would suggest that you
apply to UIC for admission as a non-degree student. In this capacity,
you'd take selected courses in economics and mathematics.  If you do well
in this coursework, you could then go on from there to a master's in

  Should you choose to go this path, we'l be happy to guide you on the

   With best wishes,

Evelyn L. Lehrer

But I'm still sitting here trying to figure it out (and complete an MBA that is more instrumental than theoretical).