Author Topic: For my daughter, Maryana  (Read 2357 times)

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Offline Heorhij

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For my daughter, Maryana
« on: December 06, 2010, 10:46:05 AM »
Dear folks,

May I ask you to mention my daughter, Maryana, in your prayers? She is 26 y.o., married to a man she loves and admires, and she is currently with a Ph.D. program in Comparative Literature at Harvard University. It's her fifth year in that program, and she is now an "ABD" ("all but dissertation"), because she has already passed all exams and requirements for this program quite successfully. All she needs to become a Dr. is just to sit down and write her official thesis proposal, and then the thesis.

The reason I am asking for your prayers is that a short time ago, Maryana suddenly announced that she is not going to pursue her degree, at least in the nearest 2-3 years. Her reasons are, chiefly, that "this whole academia thing" is fake, that no one is really interested in this humanities business, and that all these Harvard dons are phonies who are just eating up each other like spiders in a can. She refuses to be like one of them and therefore she does not see any point in pursuing her degree.

It's iteresting that a few years ago Maryana had a similar crisis when she was still an undergraduate at Tulane. Back then, it was largely under the influence of her then-boyfriend who held some waco opinions, for example that one should not work for too much time as an intellectual, but, rather, alternate the intellectual pursuit with a physical one (and he became a bouncer in a bar). Fortunately, thank God, Maryana at that time met some good people - especially one married couple from New York where both the wife and the husband are academicians in humanities, -  and they persuaded her to listen to reason rather than to her boyfriend. I wish she met someone now who would explain to her that she does not HAVE to be like these "phony" professors, and that it is always better to have a degree that she really earned than to throw it in the garbage...

Anyway, please pray for Maryana, her mom (Lesya, baptismal name Alexandra), and me (George).

Thank you so much.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2010, 10:48:00 AM by Heorhij »
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Offline quietmorning

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Re: For my daughter, Maryana
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2010, 10:52:40 AM »
Lord have mercy!
In His Mercy,
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Offline mike

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Re: For my daughter, Maryana
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2010, 11:07:44 AM »
Lord, have mercy!

Offline recent convert

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Re: For my daughter, Maryana
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2010, 11:18:19 AM »
Lord, have mercy.
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Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: For my daughter, Maryana
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2010, 12:10:20 PM »


Lord, have mercy.
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Offline Papist

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Re: For my daughter, Maryana
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2010, 01:22:59 PM »
Lord, have mercy.
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Offline SolEX01

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Re: For my daughter, Maryana
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2010, 08:31:53 PM »
Lord have Mercy.

Offline biro

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Re: For my daughter, Maryana
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2010, 08:43:33 PM »
Lord, have mercy.
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Offline vamrat

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Re: For my daughter, Maryana
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2010, 09:27:27 PM »
I will pray for your daughter, that God grants her the patience and humility to listen to the advice of others, and the wisdom to think this through and do what is right, whatever that may be.

I really can't disagree with "all these Harvard [insert alternate university] dons are phonies who are just eating up each other like spiders in a can. She refuses to be like one of them" but I think you are right in pointing out that she does not have to play the politics.  I never experienced it in my time at the university but I heard horror stories from the professors I spoke to.  The department head abhorred internecine feuding in his department and kept things civil, but there were plenty of other cans full of cannibalistic spiders out there.  She should also know that the PhD doesn't have to be for anyone else but her.  I have a B.A. in History and I sell hydronic heating equipment.  If I could go back and do it again I would get the History degree again rather than a more useful mechanical engineering degree.  Someday I hope to go get my Master's, but I probably won't change careers.  It will just be for me.

Anyways, I just spent too many words saying that I understand your daughter's troubles and she and your family have my sympathies and prayers.

BTW, if I may ask, what is she majoring in?

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Offline Heorhij

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Re: For my daughter, Maryana
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2010, 10:52:44 AM »
Vamrat, thank you! She is majoring in Slavic studies with a minor in Comparative Literature. She has already published a number of articles both in English and in Ukrainian, and presented at several national and international meetings.

Thank you so much for your prayers, good folks! I was wondering... (and that may be beyond the prayer forum)... is there any real sense in the talk that my daughter heard, and became influenced by, that it is, allegedly, bad to be "overqualified?" If she quits her Ph.D. program, she will still have a Master's degree. Someone is drumming it in her head that that's better for the present-day job market than having a Ph.D. Is that true? I somehow cannot imagine, what bad can come from holding a doctorate.
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Offline katherineofdixie

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Re: For my daughter, Maryana
« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2010, 12:07:14 PM »
Thank you so much for your prayers, good folks! I was wondering... (and that may be beyond the prayer forum)... is there any real sense in the talk that my daughter heard, and became influenced by, that it is, allegedly, bad to be "overqualified?" If she quits her Ph.D. program, she will still have a Master's degree. Someone is drumming it in her head that that's better for the present-day job market than having a Ph.D. Is that true? I somehow cannot imagine, what bad can come from holding a doctorate.

I agree - you can't really argue with her conclusions about at least some of the politics in academia, especially the "top" universities. Perhaps also, she's accomplished so much - could this be some sort of burn out?
But also welcome to the "real" world. I have worked in various roles, both management and other, in healthcare, industrial production, and non-profit social service organizations. (btw, though I don't recommend it, I had no formal training or qualifications for any job I have ever had. Being an English major doesn't qualify you for much in the way of gainful employment.)
I can assure you that there is probably no human activity or enterprise or job that doesn't involve politics, and that doesn't have its share of spiders! (unfortunately!)
That said, how could a Ph.D. possibly be a bad thing?
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Offline Heorhij

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Re: For my daughter, Maryana
« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2010, 12:49:42 PM »
she's accomplished so much - could this be some sort of burn out?

Katherine, there is a bit of that, I guess, but also, she was accepted as a Research Fellow to work at Wikipedia. The competition was something like 2,000 applications per position, and she got their offer because of her fluency in English, Ukrainian, and Russian. (She came to the USA when she was only 6 and went straight to an all-American elementary school, so her English is absolutely natural, without any accent and with a very good grammar, syntax, etc.) I believe she is currently in a state of euphoria. Everything at her workplace looks to her like a fairy tale come true. But her contract is only for one year. I don't think that Wiki will offer her a permanent position, because it's a private venture, and Maryana is no "capitalist." I just can't imagine her becoming a partner or even an associate with a private firm.

But also welcome to the "real" world. I have worked in various roles, both management and other, in healthcare, industrial production, and non-profit social service organizations. (btw, though I don't recommend it, I had no formal training or qualifications for any job I have ever had. Being an English major doesn't qualify you for much in the way of gainful employment.)
I can assure you that there is probably no human activity or enterprise or job that doesn't involve politics, and that doesn't have its share of spiders! (unfortunately!)


So true...

That said, how could a Ph.D. possibly be a bad thing?

That's exactly my question. I fail to see any bad thing that might come from holding a doctoral degree. And knowing my daughter, I do not think she will be always happy with doing jobs that are mostly technical and under someone's direct supervision. I remember being a postdoc and looking for faculty positions in 1995-1998. It seemed like a nightmare, no one seemed to be interested in hiring me. Becoming desperate, I asked my then-mentor, Dr. Eric Milner, what does he think about me becoming a Research Associate (a "glorified technician" position) in his laboratory. Eric immediately said that he would consider me, but he does not recommend that I apply; he said, knowing you, I know that you won't be happy and will begin fighting with me in a year or so. He said, yes, of course getting a faculty position is a nightmare, but you just keep applying and something will work out. And he was so right...
« Last Edit: December 07, 2010, 12:50:42 PM by Heorhij »
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Offline serb1389

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Re: For my daughter, Maryana
« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2010, 03:06:13 PM »
Gospodi Poliluj!!  I pray that she finds guidance and resolution in this struggle! 

Also, if you would like for her to talk to a priest friend that I have in Boston, he is going for a PhD at Boston College as well as heading up a fairly large parish in that area.  He is an excellent source of motivation and I know he would be more than happy to talk to her...let me know. 
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Offline Heorhij

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Re: For my daughter, Maryana
« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2010, 03:56:32 PM »
Gospodi Poliluj!!  I pray that she finds guidance and resolution in this struggle! 

Also, if you would like for her to talk to a priest friend that I have in Boston, he is going for a PhD at Boston College as well as heading up a fairly large parish in that area.  He is an excellent source of motivation and I know he would be more than happy to talk to her...let me know. 

Thank you so much, Father. She is actually in Berkeley, CA, where her husband is pursuing his Ph.D.
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Offline Papist

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Re: For my daughter, Maryana
« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2010, 07:13:19 PM »
Gospodi Poliluj!!  I pray that she finds guidance and resolution in this struggle! 

Also, if you would like for her to talk to a priest friend that I have in Boston, he is going for a PhD at Boston College as well as heading up a fairly large parish in that area.  He is an excellent source of motivation and I know he would be more than happy to talk to her...let me know. 

Thank you so much, Father. She is actually in Berkeley, CA, where her husband is pursuing his Ph.D.
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Offline stashko

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Re: For my daughter, Maryana
« Reply #15 on: December 08, 2010, 04:10:01 AM »
Lord Have Mercy ! Prayers ....Amen Amen
That in the end everything
works out for Maryana.......Amen Amen
ГОСПОДЕ ГОСПОДЕ ,ПОГЛЕДАЈ СА НЕБА ,ДОЂИ И ПОСЕТИ ТВОЈ ВИНОГРАД ТВОЈА ДЕСНИЦА ПОСАДИЛА АМИН АМИН.

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Re: For my daughter, Maryana
« Reply #16 on: December 08, 2010, 04:35:41 AM »
"Lord have mercy."


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Offline GabrieltheCelt

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Re: For my daughter, Maryana
« Reply #17 on: December 08, 2010, 11:26:08 AM »

The reason I am asking for your prayers is that a short time ago, Maryana suddenly announced that she is not going to pursue her degree, at least in the nearest 2-3 years. Her reasons are, chiefly, that "this whole academia thing" is fake, that no one is really interested in this humanities business, and that all these Harvard dons are phonies who are just eating up each other like spiders in a can. She refuses to be like one of them and therefore she does not see any point in pursuing her degree.

Fr. Seraphim Rose discovered the exact same thing.  You can read his thought processes in his biography Father Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works by Hieromonk Damascene.  It will be worth your time and maybe a way to reach your daughter about Orthodoxy.

Anyway, please pray for Maryana, her mom (Lesya, baptismal name Alexandra), and me (George).
Lord, have mercy upon the handmaiden, Maryana and her family.

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Offline Heorhij

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Re: For my daughter, Maryana
« Reply #18 on: December 08, 2010, 01:30:27 PM »
Thank you all for your prayers!

A short update: my wife had a long conversation with Maryana on Skype. Maryana mostly listened. At the end of the conversation, she suddenly said, "Mom, regardless of what I decide, please know that you and Dad are the best parents in the world." :)

She and her husband are coming to visit us on Dec. 17, and we will go to New Orleans. (I love the idea, even though I am not sure that Big Easy is the best place to spend one's St. Philip's fast. :)) God willing, we will talk some more...
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Offline choirfiend

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Re: For my daughter, Maryana
« Reply #19 on: December 08, 2010, 05:42:26 PM »
honestly, academia is often a bunch of spiders eating each other up in a can. It's horrid. Very little is dedicated to honest thinking and teaching.


However, she needs to see the wisdom of finishing her degree. She has come this far, and getting the degree does not mean she has to end up like others in her department.  She's invested years of her life and she will certainly soon be finding other pursuits that will eat up her time (children, perhaps?) It sounds like she is overwhelmed by the prospect of the thesis. One more year, and she could be out of there. Much better than sitting there with strings still attached for the next two-three years to these people she dislikes.
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Offline serb1389

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Re: For my daughter, Maryana
« Reply #20 on: December 10, 2010, 08:04:38 PM »
Gospodi Poliluj!!  I pray that she finds guidance and resolution in this struggle! 

Also, if you would like for her to talk to a priest friend that I have in Boston, he is going for a PhD at Boston College as well as heading up a fairly large parish in that area.  He is an excellent source of motivation and I know he would be more than happy to talk to her...let me know. 

Thank you so much, Father. She is actually in Berkeley, CA, where her husband is pursuing his Ph.D.

I am serving at the Greek Cathedral in Oakland, CA (down the road), I have PM'd you my info.  Feel free to contact me about this further. 
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: For my daughter, Maryana
« Reply #21 on: December 10, 2010, 08:19:35 PM »
Dear folks,

May I ask you to mention my daughter, Maryana, in your prayers? She is 26 y.o., married to a man she loves and admires, and she is currently with a Ph.D. program in Comparative Literature at Harvard University. It's her fifth year in that program, and she is now an "ABD" ("all but dissertation"), because she has already passed all exams and requirements for this program quite successfully. All she needs to become a Dr. is just to sit down and write her official thesis proposal, and then the thesis.

The reason I am asking for your prayers is that a short time ago, Maryana suddenly announced that she is not going to pursue her degree, at least in the nearest 2-3 years. Her reasons are, chiefly, that "this whole academia thing" is fake, that no one is really interested in this humanities business, and that all these Harvard dons are phonies who are just eating up each other like spiders in a can. She refuses to be like one of them and therefore she does not see any point in pursuing her degree.

It's iteresting that a few years ago Maryana had a similar crisis when she was still an undergraduate at Tulane. Back then, it was largely under the influence of her then-boyfriend who held some waco opinions, for example that one should not work for too much time as an intellectual, but, rather, alternate the intellectual pursuit with a physical one (and he became a bouncer in a bar). Fortunately, thank God, Maryana at that time met some good people - especially one married couple from New York where both the wife and the husband are academicians in humanities, -  and they persuaded her to listen to reason rather than to her boyfriend. I wish she met someone now who would explain to her that she does not HAVE to be like these "phony" professors, and that it is always better to have a degree that she really earned than to throw it in the garbage...

Anyway, please pray for Maryana, her mom (Lesya, baptismal name Alexandra), and me (George).

Thank you so much.
Lord have mercy!

The PC wars disgusted me, and I put off continuing for the doctorate, but after a few years I couldn't stay away and went back.  her characterization of Harvard I share, the reason why, to everyone's amazement, I didn't even consider going there.
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Offline katherineofdixie

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Re: For my daughter, Maryana
« Reply #22 on: December 13, 2010, 11:55:12 AM »
It's always seemed to me to be more about options, and freedom. Although of course, there are no guarantees, especially in today's job market!
A Ph.D. gives you options/opportunities that you might not otherwise have. And thus, more freedom.
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Offline Heorhij

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Re: For my daughter, Maryana
« Reply #23 on: December 13, 2010, 11:05:12 PM »
It's always seemed to me to be more about options, and freedom. Although of course, there are no guarantees, especially in today's job market!
A Ph.D. gives you options/opportunities that you might not otherwise have. And thus, more freedom.

Thank you, Katherine. That's exactly what her mom and I are trying to explain to her; however, from the other side, she keeps hearing the message that it is exactly the opposite - that considering the current situation on the job market, she will have more freedom and more opportunities WITHOUT a doctoral degree. Her husband, nonetheless, is pursuing his doctoral degree, but she gets literally bombarded with the message that for her, it's better not to pursue one...
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Offline Quinault

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Re: For my daughter, Maryana
« Reply #24 on: December 13, 2010, 11:17:52 PM »
Is she concerned that she will be "overqualified" for the jobs she may wish to apply for? I don't think that you are mandated by law to list all your degrees on job applications.

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Re: For my daughter, Maryana
« Reply #25 on: December 14, 2010, 12:56:07 AM »
Lord, have mercy!
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Offline Heorhij

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Re: For my daughter, Maryana
« Reply #26 on: December 14, 2010, 10:49:46 AM »
Is she concerned that she will be "overqualified" for the jobs she may wish to apply for? I don't think that you are mandated by law to list all your degrees on job applications.

I did not know that, thanks for the tip! I'll tell her...
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Offline Alpo

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Re: For my daughter, Maryana
« Reply #27 on: December 14, 2010, 11:01:47 AM »
Lord, have mercy.

PS. Maryana is a beatiful name. :)

Offline quietmorning

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Re: For my daughter, Maryana
« Reply #28 on: December 14, 2010, 12:24:40 PM »
Is she concerned that she will be "overqualified" for the jobs she may wish to apply for? I don't think that you are mandated by law to list all your degrees on job applications.

Actually, in the United States, the job application is a legal document and to lie on it by omission or otherwise is considered perjury and can be prosecuted as such.  Most employers do not prosecute for lying - but what they do usually do is fire on the spot.  This can be completely damaging to one's career. 

My husband is in the process of finishing his Master's Degree - what a doctorate will do to him/for him is make it so that he is overqualified for work in the business arena or world market - as it were - and with universities going through the cuts they are going through and restructuring, this is one thing he absolutely does not want to do.  So, he has decided to forgo the doctorate and stick with the masters degree as he can still teach at the university if he chooses.  It actually keeps his options more open.
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Offline Heorhij

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Re: For my daughter, Maryana
« Reply #29 on: December 14, 2010, 11:01:40 PM »
Is she concerned that she will be "overqualified" for the jobs she may wish to apply for? I don't think that you are mandated by law to list all your degrees on job applications.

Actually, in the United States, the job application is a legal document and to lie on it by omission or otherwise is considered perjury and can be prosecuted as such.  Most employers do not prosecute for lying - but what they do usually do is fire on the spot.  This can be completely damaging to one's career. 

My husband is in the process of finishing his Master's Degree - what a doctorate will do to him/for him is make it so that he is overqualified for work in the business arena or world market - as it were - and with universities going through the cuts they are going through and restructuring, this is one thing he absolutely does not want to do.  So, he has decided to forgo the doctorate and stick with the masters degree as he can still teach at the university if he chooses.  It actually keeps his options more open.

Arrrrrgh. That's what I hear from her and her husband (who is, nonetheless, pursuing HIS Ph.D.), and that's the toughest thing I need to evaluate and give response to. Thanks for sharing though...
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Offline Altar Server

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Re: For my daughter, Maryana
« Reply #30 on: December 15, 2010, 08:48:31 AM »
Lord Have Mercy!
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Offline katherineofdixie

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Re: For my daughter, Maryana
« Reply #31 on: December 15, 2010, 10:30:21 AM »
Who was it that said that life is what happens to you while you're making other plans?
All this is, at best, conjecture and second-guessing (including my own opinions!)
(After all, none of us know what the folks who do the hiring in various fields really want or think. Often I'm not sure that even they know what they want!)

My advice? Do your best, finish what you started. Neither of those strategies is a bad thing, is it?
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Offline Heorhij

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Re: For my daughter, Maryana
« Reply #32 on: December 18, 2010, 12:09:07 PM »
Thank you all again for your prayers.

An update: Maryana and her husband Ryan are here. She says that she actually DOES want to pursue a doctoral degree, just not in Slavic Studies. (Her major is Slavic Studies and her minor is Comparative Literature; so any topic she could choose at her current department would be in Slavic Studies, and her degree, if conferred there, would be "Ph.D., Slavic Studies.") She says that that would really be a dead end because her future employment would be limited to various departments of Slavic studies in the U.S. academia. In fact, though, there is no such thing as "Slavic Studies" in the USA; essentially, it is a euphemism for research and teaching in the field of Russian language and literature, and Maryana just does not want to do that. She says she will son apply for a doctorate in some other field, maybe really Comparative Literature, or maybe Linguistics/Philology, at a different school. She already has her M.A. degree, whih will perhaps make the application process easier.
Love never fails.

Offline quietmorning

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Re: For my daughter, Maryana
« Reply #33 on: December 18, 2010, 12:36:55 PM »
Thanks be to God!! :)

Amen!! Amen!!

Glory to His Name forever!!
In His Mercy,
BethAnna

Offline Gamliel

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Re: For my daughter, Maryana
« Reply #34 on: December 18, 2010, 02:53:19 PM »
Hopefully she will be convinced to write her thesis first.  Then when she gets her degree, she can call them phonies and dons all she wants.  LORD have mercy!

Offline katherineofdixie

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Re: For my daughter, Maryana
« Reply #35 on: December 20, 2010, 11:06:30 AM »
She says she will son apply for a doctorate in some other field, maybe really Comparative Literature, or maybe Linguistics/Philology, at a different school. She already has her M.A. degree, whih will perhaps make the application process easier.

Excellent!
"If but ten of us lead a holy life, we shall kindle a fire which shall light up the entire city."

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Offline Tikhon.of.Colorado

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Re: For my daughter, Maryana
« Reply #36 on: December 27, 2010, 02:34:19 AM »
Lord, have mercy and protect your servents!

Offline HandmaidenofGod

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Re: For my daughter, Maryana
« Reply #37 on: December 27, 2010, 07:42:27 PM »
Lord have mercy!
"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jer 29:11