We are required to do 120 here, though there is no limit on how much we actually can do. If I wanted to I could have studied two degrees at once - was what I tried when I took on board the extra subject, but it was a bit too much for me.
One entire semester just to gain an extra 3 credits does indeed sound like it is quite worth it to rather take on an extra course. However, I have a feeling that if the others were reading this forum, we would have several objections regarding you "going mad", with most of the objections centred on the word "going". But I am nice and shall not comment on it :-)
Ran into an old professor of mine who has retired by now when I was in church last Sunday (got this brilliant priest at a church here, very much of a leftist political activist, gay and prays for Palestine rather than Israel). Mentioned to the professor which subject I'm hoping to write my dissertation next year on, and his first question was whether I was "driven" to research it, being as that was the only thing which matters. In his case when he did his PhD, his wife was convinced he was mad being as he talked so much about it. So yeah, best find something you are interested in rather than just do it to continue sutdying. No point in spending 4 years on something you don't like. As for getting accepted, don't know how you are doing academically but from what I've seen on the forums my guess is that you stand quite a good chance there if you do find something you are interested in.
I can't be sure, but I think they put the limit in place to protect students. A few years ago, they started a new system where, basically, every student gets, say, 240-odd points. (I'm not sure what the exact number is, so I calculated for 60 credits a year over a period of 4 years - the average masters programme.) For every credit, you're planning on taking up, you need to spend one of those points. If at the end of the year you pass all your classes, you get the points back and can reuse them till your heart's content in following years. If you fail a class, however, you lose the points for those credits permanently. This means students who don't apply themselves use up their points and can't keep on aimlessly studying ad nauseam. Students who do put in the effort, on the other hand, can keep going for as many degrees as they want. It's a decent enough system, I reckon. (The point here is that I think they limit the number of credits you're allowed to take up in any one year so you can't waste too many points if you bite off more'n you can chew.)
I'm inclined to agree with the people doubting how much madder I can become. On the other hand, people who look like me tend to try and stand out through physical appearance just because they're so painfully aware of how dreadfully pedestrian and predictably boring they truly are. My own opinion of myself keeps constantly switching between the two.
Your priest sounds absolutely lovely, and I say that as a deeply nonreligious person. (To borrow the words from Blaise Pascal, I am made in such a way that I simply cannot believe.) The story about your old professor rings true as well. My coach for my dissertation - who I was lucky enough to be able to snatch up right away, since he's brilliant but would only take on one student - is in the final year of his own PhD. It gives you quite an insight into the kind of work that's required. (The funniest thing is his utter contempt for the prestige the title would bring him, and the whole idea of bringing lifeless, clinical, objective scientific study into the field of art in the first place. Seeing him debate the traditionalist professors (and almost invariably winning) is eminently hilarious, I can assure you.)
I'm doing a bit above average, academically, though that's entirely due to laziness and a complete lack of effort when it comes to exams. (Managed to get to my masters without spending more than a day studying for any one exam, mostly because the act of endlessly repeating the same uninteresting pieces of information honestly depresses the heart and soul right out of me.) All my theses so far were quite well received though, and my practical work's among the best in my course, so none of that should be a problem.The main issue lies with government. A few years ago they decided anyone going for a PhD would have to be able to prove in advance that their area of study would bring enough prestige and/or money back to the government as a sort of return on their investment (that investment being 4 years worth of wages). If you can't satisfy the committee, you're basically screwed. (You can obviously still write a dissertation in your own time and have it peer reviewed to get the title, but not many people elect to do that much unpaid work along with the proper paying job they'd need to support themselves and their family.) I appreciate your genuinely kind words though.
Are you going for the PhD yourself, or just straight to helping the planet see reason?
Sounds like a fair enough system, if perhaps a bit bureaucratic. Here the advisers pretty much decide on a student to student basis how many subjects we can study at once - as in most heartily try and persuade people to only study as much as they guess they can manage, but I think students have the final word on how much the can study.
Always nice with a bit of madness. In my group of friends (most of them being geeks and nerds) it is all the rage to be anything but like "normal" people. People staring incredulously at us as we throw around dice, or me staring utterly perplexed at them as they hum along to anime tunes, tends to be seen as a badge of honour. All I know about how you look in real life though, is that you don't look as I thought you did for years. You used to have an avatar pic with Bill Bailey, if I remember correctly. Wasn't before I saw Black Books that I began suspecting it perhaps wasn't a picture of you :-D
Haha, that coach sounds brilliant. I often complain about how dull and grey politics and international relations tend to be. That it almost seems to be a sin to joke in academic texts, not to mention how ridiculous I find the concept of trying to turn society into a science in the same realm of positivism as the natural sciences, being as we can't be certain of anything, can't prove anything, can't experiment and so forth. Would think we stood to gain quite a bit by turning to the arts rather than science, being as that is where we as political "scientists" truly can study, experiment with and perhaps even begin to understand society. Not in the dryness of numbers and theories divorced from reality, albeit we can learn some things from that as well. By turning art into dry academics I therefore feel rather than think that we risk losing something quite precious and human.
And yeah, that priest is one of the reasons I like going to church here. Back at home I tend to fall asleep while in church and mostly mumble and grumble after their sermons, here I tend to wonder if the priest mixes politics and religion too much every now and then, but otherwise quite like him and his boyfriend and daughter are wonderful.
Money and effectivity, the bane of joy and creation. Don't understand that sort of thinking with having to demonstrate that things will pay for themselves. On one hand I find it sad that knowledge, curiosity and creation aren't enough in themselves, and on the other hand I really don't see how they expect to gain new lines of thought and sources for revenue and effectivity if they only think within the box, going for that which they can see the benefit in here and now. Yet another reason for the anarchist revolution, freedom for the arts and knowledge --
Either way I hope you'll succeed if you try testing your mettle against the committee.
At the moment I'm planning to go for a PhD. Quite like teaching and guess people will listen a bit more to me, if I have a PhD than if I "only" have a postgrad. Will probably need to work a bit more than I do for that route to be certain though, although I actually got invited to have two guest lectures at the Faroese University. Came into contact with one of the lecturers of the politics department there, being as someone reckoned he might be interested in the subject I'm hoping to write my dissertation about. Turned out he was more than interested, and now I'm going by for a coffee with him the next time I'm home, will most likely have a lecture about the subject I'll write about once I'm done, and another one about the Scottish Political system and such in the near'ish future. Should prove to be quite an interesting experience :-)