What does life look like post graduation from graduate school? I am about to find out!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Life after YAV or Decisions, Decisions??!!

Hello, everybody and sorry I haven't posted in a while but I have been super busy. I'm not the best at keeping up with blogs. I always say I will and then I don't. Anyway, on to other things. I have mentioned before that I have been doing some vocational discernment during my time here. That's how I came to the conclusion that professional acting was no longer meant to be for me. Now that I have abandoned that life goal, I'm a little confused as to what comes next. So, I decided to do what any good blogger does and share with you where my thoughts and feelings are going today. I'm not necessarily looking for advice (although I know some of you will be offering it anyway). I'm just merely sharing the different avenues and career/life options that have been in my head over the last few years and most especially now that I am here. Please note that I am also not presenting these options in the order that they are the most appealing to me.
Option 1) Go to Seminary - Whether it be to get an MDiv or a Masters in Christian Education or some combination thereof, this is the option that has been weighing on my heart a lot over the past few years. It's also the one that I struggle with the most because I just don't know if it is the right fit for me. I'm actually leaving in the morning for Atlanta, Georgia to go look at Columbia Seminary and I am hoping that over the course of the weekend, I can get some clarity on if this is the path that God is leading me down. I've developed or acquired a lot of gifts that could be used perfectly in the ministry including my music and drama skills as both of those go hand-in-hand with the ministry. I also love talking about and debating about religion and theology. I just think it is the most fascinating subject and I think that is why seminary holds so much appeal to me. My reservations are that it won't be the right fit for me and my gifts and that I wouldn't have Sundays off. I'm definitely not 100% sold on this option but as of right now, it definitely sounds the most appealing.
Option 2) Masters in Social Work/Become a Social Worker -This could potentially be combined with Seminary as many offer a dual degree program. I just love helping people and feel that social work would be an excellent fit for me as I love the work they do and think it is an absolutely vital service that needs to be offered. I wouldn't get rich doing it but then, who needs money anyway??!!
Option 3) Go Work for a Non-Profit/Social Service Agency - Admittedly, this could also be combined with one of the first two options. I can't see myself ever again working for a big corporation (been there, done that) so these kinds of agencies really appeal to me. The work they do is so important and I think I could bring a lot to their various agencies. I was really hoping to work for a non-profit during my YAV year so I could test it out and figure out if that was the right option for me which is what makes this one less appealing as I have absolutely no idea if I would like it, having never done it.
Option 4) Writing/Editing/Publishing/Journalism - Again, this could potentially be combined with any of the other three. I get complimented all the time on how good my writing is and I must admit that I do love to write. It's been a secret dream of mine to someday be a paid film critic but that is a career that is dying out quickly so I am not sure that I will achieve that one. Still, it does seem like a good career choice for me. The pay is absolutely terrible and the hours can often be miserable but it would be doing something I love which is the most important thing.
Option 5) Do a second YAV year - I really like the YAV program and could easily see myself doing a second year. There are so many other sites that I would love to participate in (although right now my heart really is in Tucson). Plus, it means I could delay this whole decision-making process for another year. That's always an appealing reason to do something, right??!!
Option 6) Counseling/Therapy - Again, this could easily be combined with another option. I'm a great listener and I love helping people work out their problems. This field practically requires that as part of the job description. Plus, a lot of therapists get to set their own schedule and how many clients they see so I could easily make my own schedule which is really appealing and I could even do this part-time while doing one of the other options full or part-time. As many issues as I have dealt with in my past, I am someone who knows how to get through those hard times so I think that my credibility and experience would make this a really good fit for me.
Option 7) Master's in Public Affairs or Public Administration - There is so much that I could do with one of these two degrees to help better the world. I could become a government official and work to change the policies that directly affect the afflicted people. I could be a school official and help improve education for our children. I could work in a corporation or small business and work to improve things that way. There are literally dozens of options with one of these two degrees.

Ok, I think that about covers everything that I am considering right now. Like I said, a lot of these options could be combined with something else so I can potentially do more than one. I know that they say you should "do what you love" and all those other cliches but what do you do when you love so many different things?? I could easily see myself loving and completely thriving at any of these seven options so what do I do?? Like I said, I am not looking for any advice but I know some of you will want to throw your hat into the ring, so to speak, so please do feel free to comment on here, facebook me, email me, text me, call me, send up smoke signals or whatever else you would like and give me your thoughts on the matter. I know it may still be early in the YAV year to start thinking about what will I do afterwards but many graduate schools require applications to be in fairly soon and I need time to do some research on them so I need to seriously start figuring this out. The biggest hurdles to graduate school for me are the cost (so I'd better get some serious financial aid if I do choose this route) and the fact that I am scared about getting in. I didn't exactly have the most stellar GPA in undergrad so I am going to have to have some really good recommendation letters and personal statements or else it is not happening. Three years ago, I decided that my five year plan included going to grad school so that means that I should be prepared to start it next fall, right?? Although I can always revise my five year plan if needed. I do really want to go back to school as I just miss that whole experience of academia and being a student again and having summers and Christmas off!!
Whatever option I choose, my biggest fear is that I will be a failure at it. I would hate to choose grad school and then drop out after a year or two or choose one of the career paths and then not be good at it and quit. Fear of failure is what holds me back from doing so many things I have wanted to do over the years. It's also the reason I almost didn't do YAV. Yet, I can't let my fear paralyze me from getting my life together and moving forward. I have to choose something

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