Tuesday, June 3, 2008

thoughts on grad school

In a hotel room now. I'm in Newport Beach all week at a training class (Part I of III) starting to learn everything about motor vehicle registration for my new job (since my "promotion") at AAA.

When telling people about my AAA job, I invariably add, "I hope to go to grad school in a year or two..." I'll add "in London" if I'm especially determined to preempt their judgment against lazy/unambitious/unskilled recent college grads.

I've realized sometime early last fall that grad school preparation was just not in the works my senior year at Point Loma. I didn't want to think about it then and the benefits of waiting convinced me easily in favor of taking a break from school after graduation. Having decided, while still studying abroad my junior year, that I'd be spending more time abroad (I was thinking mostly mission work then and more leisure travel), I came to think that grad school in England would be awesome. Perhaps I was encouraged by a good friend doing the same in Nottingham and another prepping for a year at the London School of Economics, but mainly I wanted to revisit/recreate/expand upon the amazing, searching, and joyful year I spent abroad.

My research revealed that a one year MA program in London would easily cost me $45-50,000. Well...I came back from Europe with just enough money to keep my bank accounts open and even owing my brother a couple hundred dollars. And my parents, who dutifully paid $60-70,000 for my undergrad degree, will not be helping me with grad school. Of course, I could have taken out loans and be prepping for London year right now...but loans scare me and I don't care to leave for Europe knowing that Fannie Mae owns me when I return. To me, owing over $10,000 seems so limiting like a straitjacket or two left foot shoes that bend me in a certain direction (job I don't care for or more education for the sake of deferring loans).

I like my freedom. And that's why I decided to work. The Auto Club, where I've worked since May 2006 (excepting the months abroad) has been really good to me. Flexible and understanding when I was in school, they're happy to keep me 40 hrs/week now. Plus, there's the friendships and social/professional capital that are earned and won't be transplanted immediately (or are even guaranteed) with a new job. And the pay isn't bad. I know a couple people making less out of college, some others in the $40,000 and plus range, and couple others who are making more (a lot of money by their own characterization) but I'm not sure what that means.

So now I wait. In this year of reading, learning, and saving, I have to decide if I should go to London in the Fall of 2009 or Fall of 2010. I really have little idea what this year will hold for me (and I'm speaking of the tenor), how I may change, what I'll want when... Will I even stay at the AAA? What if something better and better paying comes along? What's the end goal? Which job am I aiming for?

and Am I delaying my life?

Well, yes...my professional/most exciting dynamic life at least. It's funny, but I think I've found an advantage to being a late-bloomer (and I am talking puberty). I'm going to say that those couple high school years of agonizing "my-friends-are-hairier-than-me" bought me a couple years now.

A co-worker who learned that it was my birthday recently, guessed that I was turning 20. Sounds good to me...when I'm 24, I'll look 22--and that physical immaturity is reason enough for me to excuse the professional/academic one. :-)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

I wonder

...can watching all 94 episodes of SATC in the span of a little over a week be considered a life experience?