Scott leaned further to the left, falling against the wall and bouncing his temple off it a few times. He'd been figuratively beating his head against a wall for several hours already so it made sense to try it literally a time or two.
It didn't help.
Nothing in a generic Religious Studies bachelors degree really helped him figure out how to write out his thesis proposal to apply for a doctoral study program. He wasn't sure which school to apply to, or which direction to specialize. Well, he knew the specialty he intended to study, but he wasn't sure how to phrase it so the professors wouldn't decide he was crazy. It was easily the crazy place in religion.
Georgia listed a degree for comparative studies in mysticism, which came closest to his study plans, but he'd hoped to change schools, to live somewhere else for a while, and he'd been at Georgia State for a while already. Doctoral programs were meant to be more free and self-created than the other programs, so as long as he wrote a good proposal he should be able to find a place in any university that studied religion.
Still, studying modern day mysticism felt like a hard thing to sell. The psychics and fortune-tellers and ghost hunters scattered across modern America or possibly more broadly than that, depending on the professors and the grants he could get. Modern magic and belief systems fascinated him. And not just because his grandmother was a psychic, well-known in certain circles. It was because he knew how much of it was real.
And that was the real issue. He knew how much was hidden beneath the veil of skepticism, how much that wouldn't be proved no matter how much he studied or how much evidence he gathered. He also knew that if he gathered too much evidence they'd make a joke of him to keep him from being taken seriously. In choosing this field he was choosing to walk a tightrope for the rest of his life between the world of psychics and magic where his grandmother lived and the mundane world everyone else knew was real. They'd let him study it, but not prove it.
It wasn't in his nature to avoid the uncomfortable though, like his father had in choosing to become a lawyer. Scott always had to confront it and see it through. He would always push everything as far as he could, and after four years he was sure he'd barely scratched the surface of this field. But he'd run across the typical student problem that he had to call it done and get a real job or figure out how to keep studying.
Scott wanted to keep studying. A doctoral degree would keep him going another year or five. Then he could teach, which would also let him keep studying. But he had to start by writing his proposal. Writing a thesis to either prove or disprove in his studies. A thesis that wouldn't go so far that those who knew the truth of the world would need to silence him.
He dropped his head onto his desk and bounced a few times there. He'd argued himself around in circles, getting nowhere. He needed to come at it from a different angle. Schools. Start with the schools and the generic paperwork, then he could narrow down the thesis idea. He spread the brochures out across his desk, pushing his laptop back far enough to give them top billing.
Paper fluttered to the floor. A random motion or the air conditioner vent blowing suddenly. He rolled backward reaching for them. Three sheets, all face up scattered fan-shaped to his right. Three. It was an important number.
Three schools. He reached down. Georgia. Where he lived already, where he had connections and would almost certainly be accepted. Florida, where his grandmother lived. Where he wouldn't have to be entirely on his own. And Manchester. If he was getting away to experience more of the world, getting out of the country would be an interesting option.
Applications would be easier narrowed down to three universities, but still extensive for this level of education. He'd still have to write about his intended field. Without sounding crazy. He could do that. He wasn't crazy, after all. He simply had some unusual knowledge, and that wasn't necessarily a bad thing in higher education.
Scott collected the papers from his desk, pushed them into the trashcan, and pulled his laptop close again. Having limited himself to three universities it was time to look at their professors.