So in the interest of transparency, I should tell you that I'm graduating in May. I'm on the cusp of embracing my adulthood, taking responsibility for myself, and figuring out what these years of study are truly for. No pressure.
If any of you have followed this blog for a while or read my sidebar -->>>> you'll know that I rejected the idea of being a high school English teacher fairly early in my academic career. Last week, thanks to a number of factors, I settled on what I want to do when I graduate.
Ironically, the plan involves teaching (and oh, how my father teases about that). But not quite in the way most English majors do it. I've decided that I want to live abroad for the next few years and support myself by teaching English as a second language. I want to travel and write and unfortunately, that needs funds. Teaching ESL might be the way to it. I think that might be more enjoyable for me anyway. I won't be convincing bored American teens to care about Shakespeare and To Kill a Mockingbird. No, I'll be sharing language and culture with students around the world. And yeah, some of them will be bored, but I feel like in an ESL curriculum there's more room to be inventive and incorporate technology and digital culture. If they're bad in class, I can always Rick-Roll them.
The job climate in the US is depressing to say the least. I don't want to run off to NYC to intern at a magazine or be an assistant at a publishing firm like every other graduating writing student on the east coast. Confession: I don't even like NYC that much. I'm more of a country girl.
Of course the hope is that I'll start publishing my fiction and make an income from that. But I don't live in fairy land (or even the world of Hemingway's A Movable Feast). Writing doesn't pay that well. Even if you're good. You have to be both prolific and popular
I know I want to write and travel and I'm afraid that if I don't do it now, I never will. I'll fall into some job that I don't really like that will sap my energy and my time to write. I'll get too settled to leave. Like most of my family, I'll end up living the rest of my days within 20 miles of the place I was born. That's why I have to go now. I can't give myself a chance to fall into a rut because I'll stay there.
And yes, I know that this lifestyle I'm describing has many drawbacks and challenges. Arranging visas, tax forms, language barriers, being far from the familiar, not being able to have many material possessions, etc. I'm not saying I'll do this for the rest of my life. I feel like I should spend the rest of my 20s with rich eyes and poor hands. I should sleep on other peoples' couches around the world. When I hit 30, I'll reevaluate and see if it's time to buy my own couch.
So that's my manifesto of the moment. Updates on this painful process of arranging my future will trickle in. Thanks guys.