Join 3,553 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


What Could I Do With My 2009?
April 15, 2008 5:03 AM   Subscribe

This year's my final year of my degree. My psychologist asked me if I had any plans for next year. My original plan fell apart, so now I don't really have anything. Hmm. What could I look into?

So I didn't get shortlisted for the Danish KaosPilots. Ouch. I'm still sad about it, but I've had two weeks to brood about it and it's time to move on.

Since I had been so single-mindedly focused on that one goal for the past six months, I didn't really consider Plans B, C, and so on. (I did consider that it would be a possibility, but I didn't spend too much time on it.) I had been pretty worn out from all that preparation and planning, so I'm taking at least this month off from anything along the lines of "my future" and just do random things for a while. If something strikes me as interesting, I'd apply for it, but I won't devote much time or energy on it.

I do still have to think about next year though. This is my final year; I'm finishing off all my required subjects this sem and have 4 electives free next semester. Deciding what to do after university isn't really a clear-cut process, as there are a few complex factors that need to be considered.

While I don't think I'm quite ready to devote my entire life to one pursuit (like I did before), and I don't want to commit to something just yet, I'd like to explore my options and just take a look at what seems interesting.

I'm interested in young people, non-traditional education, culture, community work, and making a difference. What could I do? What could I explore?

Some ideas:

1. Apply for the KaosPilots in Rotterdam (The Netherlands) - it starts roughly around the same time as the Denmark school, but they seem a lot more excited about potentially having me (though I don't want to get my heart broken again!!)

2. Do a Masters or a Grad Dip in something - some courses that look interesting and are more the kind of stuff I'm interested in are the Non-Profit/Philantrophy stream in QUT's Business programs (though I'm ineligible because they're part-time); International Comparative Education and Policy, Organization, and Leadership Studies in Stanford; Arts in Youth and Community Development in Columbia College Chicago; SIT Graduate Programs; Humane Education. Possibly also education in general, social work, or counselling. I'd rather it be more experiential and real-world as I'm sick of academic writing and learn best by doing, but I'm not sure how to search out this information.

3. Get a job in Australia. The main problem here is visas - to be eligible for the 18-month bridging visa, my job has to pay me at least $40,000/year - next to impossible for entry level, especially in the creative industries/community services which are underfunded. The other option is to be sponsored by a company, but they need to have a lot of resources to prove that I'm better than any Australian candidate, and most of the companies that would otherwise be an excellent fit just can't afford to do so.

4. Get a job in Malaysia. No visa issues, but prospects are pretty low as there aren't as many opportunities.

5. Take some of my ideas and make them real (so this would also involve research on funding, project management, how I'll survive while I plan out my project...)

6. Apply for my dream job at UWP, if it's available

7. Take up the partial scholarship from The Scholar Ship and travel for a sem - might need to reapply though. Alternatively, travel on similar programs (though funding would be an issue)

8. Take up BrainStore's traineeship offer - 3 months in Switzerland. It's actually meant for this August but I could defer it.

9. Apply for a fellowship to something - I've applied to a couple that don't require much travel (and pay expenses if I have to). Sauve Scholars would be COOL. I'm not sure where to search for these though - most of the ones I find require you to already have a project in mind, but I want to find a project I can get involved with.

10. Stay at home, mooch off the parents. While desirable by my parents (who sometimes have Empty Nest Syndrome) I would be bored very quickly.

11. Travel, though this would eat up money mainly in visa fees (damn Bangladesh passport).

12. Do a second degree in something, or a random course that's more for fun than anything else

13. Try to be famous for...something.

As I've said before, I'm most interested in exploring possibilities than anything else, so feel free to toss me any suggestions - schools, programs, people, countries (particularly those not picky with visas), companies, visa advice, etc. Most of the best/most interesting ones tend to be US-specific, so anything that allows internationals would be best (e.g. an international City Year or Peace Corps).

If nothing else, just looking at all the ideas would get me a little more excited about life and lift me out from my dumps!

Thank you!
posted by divabat to Work & Money (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I think you just answered your own question.
posted by chillmost at 5:47 AM on April 15, 2008


Divabat,

Plan E
Do a Grad Dip in Education at QUT, UQ, Griffith - basically any of the uni's in Brissie, though I recommend the Grad Dip at UQ (Middle Years of Schooling) because I work with the academics in the program. It takes one year, and the starting wage for teachers last time I checked (which was a couple years ago), is something like $40,200 PA. There is some academic writing, but there's also scope for really inventive assignments (including some performances) and there's something like 12 weeks of practicum over the year, and something like 16 weeks (instead of the usual 26 weeks) of classes over the year. Me-mail me for more. I know some graduates of the program have ended up in the military teaching, some are overseas (for their first year!) and some have gone to remote areas in Australia (which attracts a kind of bonus from Education Qld) helping indigenous kids, who really need someone on their side. Later, you can if you choose, do research in new media education or something weird like that, via a Masters.
posted by b33j at 6:06 AM on April 15, 2008


1. I suspect that you, like many people, and especially like many women, are selling yourself short in terms of how employable you are. You have broader and more attractive experiences and education than you are giving yourself credit for; you are eligible for a wider variety of jobs than just the low-paid service/ngo sector ones you mention. Working for a large company, and getting paid well, is only selling out if you have a really narrow and purist vision of the world; purity is for the people with trust funds. Leave it for them, and be a realist.

2. My advice to students in your position -- who have gone from school to school and organized experience to organized experience, who have a committed social vision but not always much practical experience -- is always the same: get a job. Not a perfect job, not a career, not the defining experience of your life. But a job where you will have to spend time with people with fewer options than you have, and where you will have to begin making some of the compromises that you will make for the rest of your life.

3. That gets complicated by your visa situation. Honestly, you will have the most options in the long term if you find a way to get long-term status in Australia (be it citizenship or some other visa status that allows you to work and travel freely). Whether or not you can find the kind of job that will allow that, I don't know. If that's a no-go, then the Geneva thing would be fun and might open other doors down the road. And, I really like b33j's teaching suggestion -- that is a really good example of a realistic career path, that is totally portable (teachers needed everywhere), allows for travel, and can be a path into other kinds of work (eg international development jobs).

4. Another possibility that would be a good fit for you is applying (now, or after getting a masters degree) to one of the huge array of UN agencies for employment. Jobs are partially apportioned by nationality, so your citizenship may not be a problem; knowing multiple languages is a necessity. Pay is very, very good; work conditions are pretty cushy; travel is mandatory. It's competitive, and I would advise clawing your way in by fair means or foul -- try for internships, find out who your father knows who might know somebody who might know somebody, etc.
posted by Forktine at 6:55 AM on April 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've been keeping a semi-eye on your KaosPilots plan and I was really sorry to see you didn't get in as it was obviously something you really wanted to do. Life never really goes as you plan (I'm going through my own job woes at the moment too).

I agree with a lot of what Forktine says. You have tons of skills and some relevant experience, and you should use that to get a job doing something, anything. You could use your next semester to get some practical volunteering experience, possibly even some paid work (go for hands-on stuff, less of the seminars and conferences stuff, work with people, get project management experience), and then use that experience to get a job. Also, you're still young, if you're being offered interships abroad, go do them! Opportunities like that don't come up very often.

I would like to politely disagree with Forktine's suggestion to completely abandon the not-for-profit sector, and I strongly disagree that it should only be limited to trust fund babies. The sector thrives on innovation and that has to come from people standing up and making a difference. This isn't a luxury limited to those who can afford it, and it never should be.

But he is right, you can 'sell out' and still make a difference. The private sector is doing some amazing things. But at the end of the day, their main motivator will always to line someone else's pockets.

From my experiences in the UK, what the sector needs is people who can make things happen. People with people management skills, people with project management skills, people who can put together a stunning funding application, people who can manage disputes, people who can manage partnerships, people who can see upcoming opportunities and take advantage of them. If you can get some of those skills, you will be able to make a difference. And you don't have to get those skills in the voluntary sector, if you go and do something else for a few years, possibly even selling out to in big business, you will be in a position to make a real difference in the sector.

I also think teaching is an inspired idea. The skills you gain there will be useful in all sorts of different situations.

Also, don't sell yourself short. You are young, yet you've already had tons of valuable experiences and contacts, more than many other people your age, including (and this is important) people you are likely to be in competition for jobs with.
posted by Helga-woo at 8:57 AM on April 15, 2008


Oh and yeah, right now, you might not have the luxury of money or easy travel, but what you do have is the luxury of time, energy, and few commitments.

And unless the degree is something that directly leads to a vocation, I'd put off more studying for a bit. I really enjoyed my MA, but it hasn't really helped me in my career, and right now, I'd love to go back and do more studying but I can't afford it.
posted by Helga-woo at 9:02 AM on April 15, 2008


I would like to politely disagree with Forktine's suggestion to completely abandon the not-for-profit sector, and I strongly disagree that it should only be limited to trust fund babies. The sector thrives on innovation and that has to come from people standing up and making a difference. This isn't a luxury limited to those who can afford it, and it never should be.

Just to clarify: I think the non-profit sector is great, and is probably a good fit for Divabat. But I think that she should aim high, and look at the parts of the non-profit sector that pay living wages and offer good opportunities to move ahead. A lot of the non-profit jobs are terribly under-paid and can be quite dead-end. On the other hand, if you are on the track for an executive directorship (or whatever those kinds of jobs would be called in Australia), you have a better chance of earning a realistic salary and being treated like a real person. In the US and in smaller international NGOs, that means getting good at fundraising, grant-writing, budgeting, etc -- all the difficult things that allow the organization to go out and do the sexy work that makes people say "wow!"

In other words, what you say here:

From my experiences in the UK, what the sector needs is people who can make things happen. People with people management skills, people with project management skills, people who can put together a stunning funding application, people who can manage disputes, people who can manage partnerships, people who can see upcoming opportunities and take advantage of them.
posted by Forktine at 9:11 AM on April 15, 2008


b33j: wouldn't the Grad Dip require you to have some educational experience, which you can only get with an Education degree? I was looking through the course requirements for that and that was what stymied me.

Forktine: I may be underselling myself, but I'm speaking from a more practical perspective - the $41,000 needed for a bridging visa is hella difficult for a new grad from any field. My boyfriend's doing a year's work experience in IT, a big field here, and he's getting about $35,000, which is typical. I'm not necessary limiting myself to any type of company; I'm just worried that I won't be able to find one out of a technicality.

I may have just answered my own question, haha, but I don't want to put all my eggs in one basket like I did before. I'll re-investigate the Grad Dip, and I could look into the UN more. But thanks guys, this kind of input is really helpful and motivating.
posted by divabat at 2:05 PM on April 15, 2008


Regarding the Grad Dips in Education, it's assumed* that your first degree delivers you some pretty good knowledge in a KLA (key learning area). If you studied communication, okay, that's your English KLA. History or world politics? That's Studies of Society and the Environment (and that one's a pretty big catch all). I've seen people with degrees in nursing, IT, Behavioural Studies be accepted into a program. Finally, your job prospects are not affected (usually) by less than stellar grades. If you pass everything, and relate well to your practicum teacher (the classroom teacher who does reports on you), you're more likely to get a higher rating with Ed Qld and be hired relatively quickly. Of course, if you're prepared to go bush, you are almost guaranteed a job.

*it gets sorted out on your application, when you specify what your first degree is in.
posted by b33j at 3:23 PM on April 15, 2008


« Older I am looking for tips on how t...   |  Recommendations for a good pla... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.