If my blog has been rather silent this summer I do have a good reason for it as I've been spending many an evening looking into applying to graduate school. A Masters degree is something I always figured I'd eventually end up doing and lately I've found myself taking a serious look at it. I began giving it some serious thought back in the spring, checking out various school and programs and I'm pleased with how things have gone so far.
Initially I felt I might be at a disadvantage since its been some time since I've done any sort of academic work and would be a bit rusty. On second thought though I think the life experiences I've had over the past 10-12 will serve me well when I start doing up my applications later this fall. One area of research I'd like to get into (which will come as no real surprise to those who know me best) involves Nunavut. I have to admit to getting a kick out of corresponding with a few professors and being able to discuss some of my experiences. "FOX-5 Dew Line site at Broughton Island? Oh ya, I was there. I actually lived in the nearby community of Qikiqtarjuaq for a couple of years." At the risk of tooting my own horn too much I don't think too many grad applicants interested in doing research on the old DEW Line could claim in a grad school application that they've already been to not one but 3 different DEW Line sites. So yes, Nunavut is definitely a topic of interest. Finding a professor with a background in Northern or Arctic history was a bit tricky but I've tracked down some good prospects. Since I have interests in both Nunavut and also in military history, the DEW Line looked like a good way of blending both interests. The University of Calgary is home to the Arctic Institute of North America so at the moment that school is top of the list for me. Issues involving Arctic sovereignty, the Northwest Passage, the Canadian Rangers and of course, the DEW Line system, continue to be of interest to me.
As noted above, I've always had an interest in military history so I have a couple schools in mind that have research institutes geared towards this. The websites for the The Laurier Centre of Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies at WLU in Ontario and the Gregg Centre for the Study of War and Society at the University of New Brunswick have had me as a frequent visitor in recent weeks. I've always been interested in issues of command and control and what makes a good leader. Perhaps I was subconsciously influenced by 10 years of classroom teaching here but I spent a good stint a couple weeks ago reading everything I could find on the topic of military mutinies in the Canadian Forces whether they be the Terrace Mutiny in 1944, the Kinmel Mutiny of 1919 or a few naval mutinies on Canadian ships in 1946 (in true Canadian fashion, these naval mutinies were the topic of an inquiry (not quite a Royal Commission I don't think but close) by the top naval brass). Anyhow, without spilling all my little research interests I am taken by the idea of eventually writing a regimental history of the local reserve infantry regiment from where I grew up in southern Ontario, the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment, should I go the military route on an MA. The only regimental histories I'm familiar with at present were a couple of ones done by former officers (one of them being Farley Mowat). To my knowledge, a full history of the regiment dating back to its founding militia units in the early 1800's has yet to be undertaken.
In the meantime, I've been gathering information on a few schools (I do have a short list, finally), tracking down references, doing my best to build up a reading list with what I have at hand and sorting out all the other minutiae involved. Acceptance of a potential offer will involve a move and may or may not involve a property sale here depending on the exact circumstances. At any rate, the application process is definitely a bit more involved this time around than when I applied for my undergraduate studies. I'll be applying for the fall of 2014 so it looks like the next 12 months will be an interesting adventure. Time to hang on tight and see where the road takes me.