Last night I was fortunate enough to get some QT with two of my besties-for the-resties, Colleen and Molly. I met these extraordinary young women on an equally extraordinary study abroad trip to Ireland the summer before my junior year at JMU. Molly and I went on to be roommates for a year, and Colleen remained one of our closest friends.
Colleen is an aspiring book publisher and Molly is an aspiring film maker. They’re both so brilliant good at what they do, and they’re both so brave. Colleen is currently living in NYC trying to find authentic work in a really competitive and strange field, and Molly just got back from 3 months of traveling all by her little ol’ self. File those under “Things I Am Not Emotionally Stable Enough To Attempt.”
We spent a lot of last night talking about the woes of being our age. How it’s difficult to understand when you’re parents are going through a hard time, but even more difficult to not accept their generosity when you’re struggling. How laundry is not nearly as easy as it was in our cozy college apartments. How it’s hard to not spend money, even when you don’t have it. How its a curse to not know what you want to do with your life, but just as much of a curse to be sure.
This conversation came at an apropos time. After getting pretty good scores on the GRE this past weekend, I’ve been really thinking about my plan to be a high school English teacher. I see myself around kids, I see myself around literature, and if I’m thinking long-term, being an educator would allow me the kind of lifestyle that I would want if I have a family.
But today I looked at the tuition prices for the education program here at UVA. Guys. It’s criminal. And it’s not even an expensive program compared to other ones. I mean, I would be under a ridiculous amount of debt, especially considering I wouldn’t be able to work full-time AND be a full-time student.
I spent the better part of this morning being upset and stressed out about that. I mean, I would consider taking on the debt if it was my DREAM to be a teacher. But the honest truth is this: I don’t really know what I want to be when I grow up, and teacher kinda just sounds good. Don’t know about you, but that seems to me like a bad bad bad reason to willingly go into debt.
When I got home from work I watched the newest Vlogbrothers video entitled “Is College Worth It?,” wherein John Green makes some typically world-rocking insights. (If you all aren’t familiar with John & Hank Green, you’re welcome in advance for what I am about to share with you.)
“College is not about maximizing income, it’s about becoming a better and more informed observer of the universe.” Shit.
Year of Katie is about not only my journey in health, but also my journey through this weird/scary/nauseating/exhilarating/inspiring place called “not in college anymore.” Part of that journey, maybe the most important part, includes answering the question “What am I going to do with my life?”
Right now, here are my prospects for the next couple of years: A.) Stay at my current job, which I love and I’m so blessed to have, but which is definitely not career oriented……. B.) Apply to graduate school with the sincere hope that I am destined to be a teacher, and come to terms with the reality of the debt I will accrue……. C.) Find another job that will be both emotionally/intellectually satisfying and financially realistic.
I’d be okay with any of those options, to be honest. I don’t know what I’ll be doing a month from now, let alone a year, and this is a strange place to be. But until then, as harrowing as it is, I’m gonna remember that it’s kind of cool to be so… on the brink. The world is my oyster and all that stuff.