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This is what happens when you tell me I can’t do it

Seven years ago today, somebody who was very well-informed about how such things worked told me that it was highly unlikely that I could ever be competitive for IU’s History graduate program, given an undergraduate degree in music performance rather than in something properly considered part of the Humanities, and particularly given no real background in Latin or Greek.

I’m pleased to note that as of this week, I have passed my doctoral-level Greek and Latin exams. The Greek exam requirement was satisfied last summer (thank you, Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine Greek Summer School), and I took my Latin exam this last Tuesday, which consisted of passages from St. Jerome’s Life of St. Hilarion, The Acts of the Divine Augustus, and Agnellus’ Book of the Pontiffs of Ravenna. My examiners seemed very pleased.

Now, on to my oral exams, which are scheduled for 29 March. Because I never do anything in the right order, I more or less have a dissertation proposal once my orals are out of the way, so God willing, I’ll have advanced to candidacy by the end of the semester.

I may still yet have a real job before I’m 40. We’ll see.

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7 Responses to “This is what happens when you tell me I can’t do it”


  1. 2 C. Holtorf 19 January 2013 at 1:38 pm

    Congratulations!
    I am curious, however, what “real job” you will seek with this very specific and clearly academic education? 🙂 (Also, who says opera singer isn’t a real job?)

    • 3 Richard Barrett 19 January 2013 at 1:48 pm

      …um, an academic job?

      Nobody said being an opera singer isn’t a real job. The friends of mine who do it for their bread and butter are among the hardest working people I know. I just came to the conclusion about eight years ago that it couldn’t be the real job that I did. Let’s put it this way — in the four years that I’ve been allowed to play in the academic sandbox, I’ve managed to accomplish far more that got positive feedback at a reasonably high professional level than in the twelve years I was trying to edge my way into the classical music sandbox. It turns out that I’m an academic who likes to sing, not a singer who likes to read.


  1. 1 Orthodox Collective Trackback on 19 January 2013 at 1:52 pm
  2. 2 In which St. John Chrysostom shows up on another digital bumper sticker « Leitourgeia kai Qurbana: Contra den Zeitgeist Trackback on 20 February 2013 at 6:05 pm
  3. 3 One more hurdle cleared… | Leitourgeia kai Qurbana: Contra den Zeitgeist Trackback on 30 March 2013 at 2:00 pm

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