I’ve never been one to think outside the box. Unfortunately, I don’t believe I think things through thoroughly enough sometimes. Yet, at this juncture in my life, I’m finding myself at a weird point: I’ve gone through school, years of school; however, I don’t exactly know what to do. I know I’ve written about the uncertainties of my life before, this time though things are starting to become more and more murky. It’s like I’m wading into a deep, dark pond. What lurks within the hidden depths?
I’ve applied to be a local writer for Examiner. I remember attempting to start at Examiner years ago but I gave it up as a bad job. This time around, I look at it as an opportunity to spread my wings. It may not be a newspaper, or a trendy magazine, but it is a start…somewhere. Thankfully, I have some articles I published in 2010 and 2011 as proof that I’ve actually had writing posted other than here and on my wordpress.
Things look bleak for college grads, people in their 20s, and those unemployed..
My generation is unfortunately one that got royally screwed on two fronts: jobs and student loans. Granted, I know so many others (who have degrees and more work history than I do) have been out of work longer, young people my age are facing the uphill battle of trying to find a job in a very weak economy. Sure, employers are adding jobs left and right; however, the numbers aren’t enough to truly budge the unemployment rate which is sitting at 7% nationally.
Student loans are another nightmare turned reality. With the government refusing to act on easing loan interest rates, college grads and people thinking of going back to college (like myself) are facing high interest rates on loans. Too many young people exiting college have to stare at huge bills of $10k or more – that number is more like $100k if you’re a medical student.
However, I digress…back to the matter at hand – my future.
My grandfather, who is an MD/PhD, advised me that if I truly want to go back to school (which I do) I totally need to stop wasting my time and study hard for the GRE. Admittedly, I’ve been out of school for some six months and I’m afraid of losing the information I’ve obtained. Like the old adage goes, “if you don’t use it, you lose it.” He also admitted to me, rather candidly, that he didn’t foresee me being able to go all the way to a Ph.D. I can understand his reasoning. I have severe problems in two core academic subjects. I’m terribly weak in math and science. Both subjects are, of course, on the GRE which I have to pass in order to even think about a Masters program (let alone a PhD). To be honest, Math is my kryptonite. However, I’m not going to let that stop me. What I truly need to do is focus on what I want to do with my life. My grandfather also suggested that I write out what I want to do, “make a list” he said. “Write things out in several columns with the pros and cons,” he added in earnest. What jobs do I really want to do, what jobs do I not want to do.
I’ve come up with a short list (ranked from first to last):
- Producer/Program Developer/Archiver for PBS
- Writer and Theatre Reviewer for NYT and Variety Magazine
- Producer and Show Host on BBC Radio (like Elaine Paige)
- College professor (of English)
- Professional Technical Consultant
- Freelance writer
- Academic counselor (I’d be very good at that – I’ve made MANY mistakes along the way)
- Document creation (powerpoint, etc etc)
I can very easily see myself doing one, or even all of these jobs. I love the arts and am a great advocate for arts education and the proliferation of culture. Even a former professor of mine told me, “you’d be great in the arts as well, you have such a passion for it.” Does passion equate job success and satisfaction? For some, I’m sure it does.
People have accused me of lacking drive and ambition. To them I say the proof is in the obtaining of my education, which I fought very hard to achieve. I made two goals for myself: graduate from both a community college and a four year university. I made both of those and then some. Now I have to make new, more challenging, goals for myself. I have three principal goals: get a full time job that utilizes the skills I have and builds on them, obtain a Masters Degree, and finally, find a career doing one of the above listed. What’s the point of having a career if you’re not doing something you love?
I truly want to thank my grandfather for his frank appraisal of my prospects. I’ve always been something of a stubborn ass – when someone tells me I can’t do something, I do it anyway. Who says I can’t achieve my dreams? No one. I’m sure there are those who never dreamed I’d have even two degrees, let alone one.
I feel, to quote Fanny Brice in Funny Girl, “Nervous, happy, scared, excited.” Whatever emotions are running around in my brain, one thing is certain: I’m ready to prove people wrong again. I CAN achieve my dreams and goals.
And I will.