Graduate student follows his bliss

Ben Wolford


Credit: DKS Editors

Some people go to graduate school for professional reasons, but Tim McCarthy is studying for his Master of Fine Arts degree on the words of a religion scholar.”I’ve been kind of following the advice of a guy named Joseph Campbell who said, ‘Don’t worry about making money, follow your bliss.’ And I’ve been doing that all my life,” McCarthy said.

Right now, McCarthy is pursuing a degree in creative writing with the Northeast Ohio Universities Consortium, which includes four universities that work together to provide the degree.

But this is just the latest scholarly endeavor for McCarthy, who has master’s degrees in English, music, humanities and religious studies.

“I wish I could go back in a time machine and stop following my bliss a little bit,” McCarthy said jokingly. “I’d be doing a lot better financially.”

But money is a trifle for McCarthy, a published poet. Besides, with the classes, writing and occasional part-time teaching, there’s little time to worry about such things as money.

When working on a graduate degree, “there’s very little that you can call free time,” McCarthy said as the computer speakers in his office rang out with the “Gloria” of a Schubert Mass. He listens to classical music while he works and calls it free time.

As for the actual coursework involved in a graduate degree, McCarthy said it’s rigorous.

But, the more the better. McCarthy grieves over the practice of entering graduate school for entirely professional reasons. He treasures the experience for its self-realizing qualities.

“I like to think of the main advantage being more personal,” McCarthy said. “You’re pushing the envelopes of your personality. Education is a process of self-discovery.”