Sunday, January 5, 2014

the one-year alternative graduate school program

Several months ago my friend Scott Beebe tweeted a link to a blog post titled “The One-Year, Alternative Graduate School Program". Granted there is no diploma or certificate waiting at the end. There isn't even anything to add to my resume. Still, I absolutely love the idea!

Although I have a high school diploma and a Bachelor’s degree, I don't want to use that as an excuse to stop learning and experiencing new things (and I’m not just talking about Disney movies).

That’s why I've decided to take on the challenge of meeting these items in the next year/two years.

Since I can’t seem to figure out what direction to go in for my actual grad degree, I hope that working through the items on this list will help me to broaden my outlook on the world. Whether I decide to pursue a master’s degree or I end up going straight to some type of social/human services work, I hope that the knowledge gained through this experience will make me a more well-rounded individual and more effective contributor to my community and world.

You can view the original program on the blog linked above. I've edited several items and even added a few to better fit my life and direction of interests. For example, although a round-the-world plane ticket would be exciting, I decided to substitute that item for a foreign missions trip so that I can broaden my missional outlook. For the fiction and non-fiction books, I’ve included lists of the ones that I have selected so far. The list will surely change throughout the time that I read them, but I wanted to have a good starting point.
  •  Subscribe to The Economist and read each issue 
  • Memorize the names of every country, world capital, and current president/prime minister in the world (possibly substitute with memorizing names of political/economic/community/global leaders who may be influential for non-profit development)
  • Take a foreign missions trip.
  • Read the Torah, New Testament, Koran, and teachings of Buddha (read religious texts of country for foreign missions trip)
  • Become familiar with a second language – use a language learning app on a weekly basis
  • Loan money through
  • Acquire at least three new skills (not become an expert, just functionally proficient)

  • Read 30 non-fiction books
    • The Know It All by A.J. Jacobs
    • When Helping Hurts – David Platt 
    • The Hole in Our Gospel – Richard Stearns
    •  Fearless – Max Lucado
    • Start Something That Matters – Blake Mycoskie
    •  A Fistful of Rice – Vikram Akula
    •  Miracle on Luckie Street – Bob Williamson
    • Why Don’t They Just Get a Job – Liane Phillips
    •  The Explicit Gospel – Matt Chandler
    • The Problem of Pain – C.S. Lewis
    • What Everyone Needs to Know About Islam – John Esposito
    • Grace – Max Lucado
    • Everyone Communicates, Few Connect – John Maxwell
    • Follow – Floyd McClung
    • A Grief Observed – C.S. Lewis
    • The Abolition of Man – C.S. Lewis
    • Miracles – C.S. Lewis
    • The Four Loves – C.S. Lewis
    • Crash the Chatterbox – Steven Furtick
    • Quiet – Susan Cain

  • Read 20 classic novels
    • Catch-22 – Joseph Heller 
    • The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
    • The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
    • Gone with the Wind – Margaret Mitchell
    • 1984 – George Orwell
    • Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Hurston
    • The Color Purple – Alice Walker
    • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kesey
    • Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe
    • Invisible Man – Ralph Ellison
    • For Whom the Bell Tolls – Ernest Hemingway
    • Tender is the Night – F. Scott Fitzgerald
    • The Hunchback of Notre-Dame – Victor Hugo
    • The Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
    • The Red Badge of Courage – Stephen Crane
    • Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
    • The Time Machine – H.G. Wells
    •  Journey to the Center of the Earth – Jules Verne      
    • Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
    • The Diary of Anne Frank – Anne Frank
  •  Become comfortable with basic presentation and public speaking skills
  • Start a blog and post regularly
  • Set your home page to; read the page shown every time you open your browser
  • Listen to at least one “TED Talk” a week -