This one might be a doozy. So, I'm a 23 year old recent college grad ( this May) with a B.A. in psychology and no idea what to do with my life. ( Original, I know, but bear with me, it gets better.) Everyone around me seems to have what are at least well-outlined 5 year plans, oriented around either grad school or a great entry level job. Certain circumstances in my life though seem to leave me with a vision of the future that doesn't extend far beyond the living room couch and daytime TV for the next 10 years and that frightens me to no end.
posted by marsbar77 to work & money (35 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
A little more about why I feel landlocked:
- I have cerebral palsy: I'm thankfully 100% mentally but use a scooter and electric wheelchair to get around. I don't yet drive (I don't know if it's even physically feasible for me to start, and a car with hand controls is prohibitively expensive). I do, begrudingly, make use of NYC public transportation when I can, but it's so much more laborious of an endeavor for me than most ( worrying about battery life, catching buses, finding curbs, etc) that I don't do it often. My parents are able to drive me from place to place for now, but they're both busy and at some point, it becomes socially unacceptable to need to do this. Also part of the roadblock that is CP is a speech fluency and spasticity issue that seems to get worse every day. Where it was once limited to the phone and to new situations in which I'd be prone to social anxiety, I've reached a point where I'm unable to talk to my own family without much effort and physical distress. Needless to say, it's wreaked havoc on my social life and doesn't bode well for me in terms of job opportunities in our interconnected and social society. I should note here that I love people and would, if I were only physically able to, be around them all day.
Apart from the CP, the six years it took me to finish undergrad left me with little to show for them. I began to suffer a cadre of stubborn depressive symptoms from the end of sophomore year on ( lack of energy, need for lots of sleep, overeating, etc). I've managed to make do with Prozac but still struggle sometimes. The most crippling part of the condition is the way in which it prevented me from getting the most out of my colllege experience. To make a long story short- I have no letters of recommendation/ good contacts at my university. It was too difficult for me to develop a meaningful relationship with most of them as I avoided office hours for the most part ( where I didn't, it was only to get an extension or advice on how to keep from failing a class) and kept to myself during lecture. It obviously follows that I have no research experience of any kind, no independent study experience and no real awards. My grades from sophomore year on are an exercise in confusion- all As one semester, half Cs/Ds, half As the next ( sometimes Ds in subjects I'd done amazingly in the semester before). Psychology will always be a love of mine, neuroscience specifically, and while I did well in most of my classes in the major, I did miserably in others that were no more difficult, for reasons that probably had to do with my depression, but I've given up trying to explain these inconsistencies to myself and others and will have difficulty defending them on a grad school app.
Outside of school, I've never held a job, volunteered or done much of anything really. My entire resume is a very, very hard stretching of the truth.
So, now, to quit the pity party and summarize:
What can I do with my time over the next few months/years considering
a) A B.A. in psychology with about a 2.9-3.0 average and no experience
b) The physical and logistical challenges I face?
Some more pointed questions:
Is there any way for me to make a decent ( even a 20-30k a year salary) right now? I've been told I'm a gifted writer and good with languages and have posted on Craigslist and job boards looking for 'gigs' wherein my talents for writing could be put to good use ( nonprofits, small magazines, etc), but no cigar.
In terms of skill development, what should I focus on? Grad school? If so, how in the world do I get in ? Vocational skills like design and web publishing? What's the most efficient path to proficiency here?
In terms of experience- where do I look and who do I talk to? I only need be given a chance to show how driven I can be.
One last thing to note: It's always been a dream of mine to move to either California, Israel or the UK. If anyone knows of any opportunities in these places or where I could look to start a life there, please let me know.
I'm passionate about many things and I realize I could be doing more. I do feel like I need the compass that is the often brutal honesty of the Mefite to guide me though, so fire away- what can I start doing right now?