making my own master's
Updated: Mar 22, 2021
Hi there! It’s me, Aria Lee, coming at you live from New York, who is doing much better actually, thanks for asking. An air of uncertainty, frustration, and desperation has been clouding the city since the virus hit in March. I don’t know what’s coming, but I do know this: people need money. People need resources. I need money. I need resources. And I truly do not believe that now is the time to go back to school. In fact, this has probably been the case for the past couple years.
I recently got an email from my former university. This was not a job opportunity from the alumni network, nor an apology for all of the money I spent on the (not included in tuition) color printing services at the library. A professor explained that I had been chosen for an accelerated, experimental Master’s program in textile design that they were launching in response to the virus. I seriously considered taking this on in tandem with freelance work and running an online business. I loved my time at school, and I will treasure all of the people and memories there for the rest of my life. However, even after a discount and transferred prereqs, it was still about $25,000. Which isn’t really a bad price, if I had access to a woodshop, knitting machines, looms, sewing machines, and a fast track to a growing network. I’m a big online education supporter, as it’s a necessary change we must make to keep safe. There are many hidden benefits to teaching online, but huge drawbacks. I cannot go into debt for this.
My response: curate a reading list, create a lesson plan, and design deliverables myself to learn exactly what I want, when I want, on my time. Essentially, making my own Master’s. There are a bunch of other people doing similar things, and taking your education into your own hands is nothing new. With tuition at sky-high levels and value lost due to the pandemic, schools are scrambling to keep solvent. This seems like a Blockbuster/Netflix situation just begging to happen.
With the democratization of the internet, so much is available to us (for free!) that it seems silly to NOT take advantage of the most extensive resource humanity has ever created. I intend to invest my time and energy into this project, but I do not intend to spend even a fraction of what a traditional degree would cost. I might incur costs from software, materials, or marketing. Yet overall, I want this to be an exercise in taking control of my business, my career, and my education. I want to create discipline, and yet space to deviate and be creative. I want to develop my autonomy and independence. I want to LEARN! So in full 90's fashion, cue the glitter GIFs.
Month 1: Product Development
Month 2: Marketing
Month 3: Garment Construction and Fashion Development
Month 4: Website Management and SEO
Month 5: Business
1 Module per Month
Week 1: Overview - What do I already know? What do I need to know? What do I want to learn more about later?
Week 2-3: Deep Dive/Research - How can I apply this learning to my life/business? What are the key takeaways? How am I adding value?
Week 4: Outcome - What deliverables would be most appropriate based on what I’ve learned? Check in with myself: stay on course, or alter my plan to adapt to changing circumstances?
Social media (instagram, facebook)
This project means a lot to me, and I’m hoping I can do it justice. I think this will benefit me more than I know, and I feel positive about the direction I’m taking. So excited to start what seems like a new chapter, but again, I’m kinda just making it all up as I go. I find it freeing to create things for yourself if you really need them. I guess that’s probably why I got into this whole crochet business anyway.
What do you think of my best laid plans? Does this seem feasible within the time frame given?
Let me know!