So, last time I listed my goals and talked about all of the changes that I went through in the last couple of years. You know, I think it is important for college graduates to understand that life doesn’t magically get amazing when you graduate from college. Life doesn’t get amazing when you graduate from grad school. Things happen. Your definition of amazing changes and requires new processes to get there. Your expectations are often in vain. Life throws curveballs at you. That is ok. What I would tell undergraduates is to not expect a degree to make your life amazing. I would tell them to define what they want, make goals, make plans to achieve those goals, review those goals and that plan often, and to update them continuously. It is, in fact, the journey that is rewarding, and not so much the destination. As cheesy as it sounds, by golly, it ended up being true –and you know what? Now, I feel a bit foolish for thinking it was old-man speak, and here I am writing it out.
One of the things I realized during this journey is that you can’t really prepare for life’s curveballs. Therefore, it is best to have parallel plans. Now, I had heard of parallel plans at an academic advising conference in the last couple of years (I am currently an academic advisor). That is the first time I had ever heard of it — not when I was in my bachelor’s degree program – where I would have benefitted from this conversation. What is a parallel plan? It means that when you are going along with plan A and then all of a sudden plan A is just not working out or it is unavailable, you have a second plan b to utilize.
My partner kept voicing his concern regarding my career choice and academic major. He felt it was limiting geographically based on conversations that he had with folks in my field. I didn’t buy it for a number of reasons. So there I was: I had started with psychology, and moved into an individualized bachelor’s degree to pursue college student development. Psychology could have served as a parallel plan. If someone had told me that getting into grad school was going to be easier than I anticipated, I might have stayed in the psychology program. If someone had brought up parallel plans, I might have listened. By pursuing that individualized degree — which I think is a great option actually (will discuss later) — I effectively, eliminated ALL of my parallel plan opportunities. You need a psychology degree to become psychologist. Often, you need a psychology degree to become a licensed counselor and often a master’s degree seeking student in the field. You need a subject matter expertise, to teach. What can I do with an individualized degree? I can work in the field that I framed it around. I can also get a retail job and perhaps become a manager quickly because I hold a bachelor’s degree.
So anyways, the parallel plan conversation would have been great. I would have perhaps, double majored considering I left for grad school early and my partner and I had to live apart for a semester. One does not simply go back in time. That’s ok. Instead, I am looking at things differently these days. I have see what it is like to not be able to find a job in your field. I know what it is like to lose a job. I know what it is like to be underqualified for everything you want to do. I know what it is like to be ineligible for financial aid or residency status. This is what I am doing to never be in that rocky boat again:
These are the issues I ran into with my background and situation:
- Geography – limited opportunities in general
- Geography – cultural differences within the hiring community and field
- Teaching – lack a subject matter expertise and grad degree
- Teaching – lack a PhD
- Teaching – lack experience
- Educational Technologist – lack a graduate degree
- Tutor – lack a subject matter expertise as it pertains to undergrads or high school students
- Counselor – lack degrees
- Advisor – lack experience in the field
- Computer software engineer – lack the appropriate degrees, experience, and knowledge
- Game tester – lack the experience and required intro to computer science course
- Tech Support person – lack a few computer science courses
- Computer science degree – lack maths and physics — and money
- Any additional degree – lack funding
- Relocation – lack funding
- Res Life, Student Involvement, etc – lack of longevity due to short terms job terms; in this case, the internships just made me look like a job hopper and it separated me from my former skills in tech support/call centers and tech sales.
So, all of my goals thus forward go into computer science, education, and psychology while enhancing my career in higher education.
Below are the goals I wrote out in the last blog with some additional notes and progress updates:
Apply to a college to take more classes with tuition benefits
- I did apply to the university I worked at but I had some setbacks in my plans (curveball!). Apparently, tuition benefits only cover tuition up to the amount of residency tuition. I am not a resident until November meaning I could not have tuition covered until Spring 2020. Secondly, I have to pay all of the fees and books out-of-pocket — which might not be so bad except, half of the cost of tuition is in these ridiculous fees. I don’t recall this being the case at other institutions. In the future, I will be looking at tuition structures and tution benefits when job hunting.
- All of that being said, I have applied to a local community college. I am going to look into pursuing their software developement, game design, or computer science track starting summer term. My goal is for courses to be transferable. I will probably have to pay out-of-pocket so I can probably only take one class a term for now. I am thinking that this still might be cheaper than taking a single course with tuition covered at the university. Ridiculous.
- Why computer science? It sets me up to work in another entire field. It only really requires a bachelors and many folks get by with less if they can program. If I get pursue CS and pursue a teaching licensure, I can teach high school students in career and technology. In higher education, I can develop software in that industry. I can also work as a programmer on higher education campuses. I cna work in any company on the planet because everyone needs a programmer. I can work remotely. I can make a heck of a lot more figures out side of higher education. I can tell people what I do and they will know what I am talking about — sort of. I can advise computer science or STEM students — which makes a lot more money actually. I am also not in the false belief that this path will make my life amazing. I have to make it amazing. I have to be amazed by my own gratitude.
- Register for classes
- I am currently waiting for an appointment with DCCCD and also their registration is not open yet.
- I did register for a pre-cal class on Straighterline.com…
- …which only made me realize that I needed a refresher in geometry first so I began the high school geometry course on Khan Academy — and will likely need the algebra one also, but we will see.
- Gather my belongings from across the states (long story — turmoil & tears)
- Begin adoption home-study once stable
- We have an appointment to chat with the adoption folks to get an idea of what the process looks like
- Find acceptable spiritual community
- I am not sure. Right now we are really too far from any of the places I want to check out in the DFW metro
- Read spiritual texts
- Make friends
- Find local support / social group
- Participate in service work (step outside of familiar territory)
- Ideas: People with Exceptionalities, Habitat for Humanity, etc.
- Seek out internship opportunities in computer science
- I have been looking an inquiring but am also aware that right now I am in a math course — a self-taught one that takes a lot of attention.
- Seek out teaching experience through MOOCs
- Seek out presentation experience on campus and beyond
- Perhaps become an officer for a student club (if not a conflict of interest as an employee)