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Choose Matt's Next Career Path! 
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Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004
Posts: 4398
Location: Viburnum, Missouri
Post Choose Matt's Next Career Path!
Hello everyone,

As some of you probably know, I have bachelor's and master's degrees in applied mathematics from Missouri S&T. My original plan was to stay in grad school long enough to obtain the PhD. I was also employed as a graduate teaching assistant, where I taught various calculus and algebra courses for two years. I enjoyed grad school well enough at first, but during my second year I was struck with a severe bout of depression that, among other things, made it difficult for me to attend classes or to teach. This is where the problems began. Contact me privately if you really want the details, but to make a long story short, I discovered that the Missouri S&T math department is filled with universally horrible people who not only refused to work with me, but in some cases actively made my situation worse. I was able to finish that second year of grad school and obtain the MS, but it was clear that there was no place for me there anymore, so I left.

Since then, I have basically been a nomad. I moved to Columbia for a year and enrolled in the atmospheric science program at Mizzou, hated that too, and dropped out halfway through the first semester. I then spent a year or so in Florida, and am now back in Missouri.

So here is my problem: I am basically at a loss as to where to go from here. Most of you know me fairly well, and I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions. The one caveat I have is that I would strongly prefer not to have to return to school for an extended period of time. Something I could finish in a year or two might be feasible, but an entirely new program that would require a new degree plus more grad school is probably not. Another problem is that I will have a very hard time getting good professional references right now due to my fallout at S&T. The few people I would trust to give me a good reference have since retired or moved on and I'm not sure I even have a way to get in touch with them. But, again, I will seriously consider any suggestions anyone has.

Here are some things I have considered:

- Teaching high school mathematics. At first I was dead-set against this, but after thinking it over I think I could be persuaded to go for it if the situation was right. I do have teaching experience in college, and I like to think I was fairly good at that (I got pretty good evaluations, at least) but I don't know how that would translate to the high school level. This path would also allow me to stay involved in quizbowl. Any thoughts on this?

- Teaching math at a community college. I tried this and couldn't find anything. Seems very hard to get a position here. Again, the lack of good references probably hurts.

- Professional quizbowler. If there was a way for me to obtain a living promoting quizbowl activities as a career, I would seriously consider it, but I don't see how it's possible.

- Veterinary school. A lot more school than I would prefer to do, and very expensive, but it's a possibility.

- Going back to school for computer science/some other computer-related occupation. It's something I'm good at, but again, that seems like it would require more school than I'd like.

- Professional poker player. This was my plan until the feds shut down PokerStars.com. :(

Other interests of mine include sports, politics, and literature, but those seem unlikely to lead to a career for me.

Feel free to post any ideas here or contact me privately, and thanks for reading.

Mon Jun 02, 2014 3:12 am
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