This is a question that I can’t get away from and one that causes me quite a bit of stress. I can’t help but envy friends who know what is that they want to do and are either doing it or are on their way there. But me, I just feel lost most of the time. I know more or less where I want to end up, but not exactly what I want to be doing or how to even go about figuring that out.
This pretty much sums up where I am:
I don’t know if I want to find a job and stay home or if I really want to go to Saudi Arabia, teach, save money, and be able to afford to go back to school for whatever it is I want to study. Going would be a great opportunity to explore another culture and another part of the world. I could save money and not worry about taking loans and having debt for grad school. Teaching university students could be a great experience. But I would be away from home and family again. There really aren’t any reasons to stay here, other than that its home. The job opportunities haven’t been very good and I wouldn’t be able to save nearly is much as I would if I left.
Going definitely makes more sense and certainly appeals to the traveler in me. Sometimes I’m certain that’s what I want to do, and others I’m not so sure. If it comes through, if my visa gets processed, I’ll go. Its the debate I’m having with myself now that’s the problem. I change my mind constantly. One day I’ll feel confident that going to Saudi is what I want and be happy with me decision, and the next I’ll be spending time with my family and uncertain if leaving is the right choice. I could stay home, get a job, and do real estate with my mom. I wish I had someway of knowing what decision would be best in the long run, though it certainly seems like going would be. Either way, I have decent options.
And even after I go and save the money (or stay and not save) for grad school, what do I want to do? I’d love to study International Development, I had planned on being in Scotland doing just that right now, but after talking with my friend who did just that, I’m not sure. It doesn’t give you any real discernible skill, though you do gain knowledge. Getting a job with that degree is not guaranteed, it actually seems to be that only a lucky few actually get a job in that field.
So, I’m thinking maybe public policy analysis. It incorporates a lot of what I’m interested in: politics, government, and some schools have a focus on international development. Or maybe international public service? That also has a lot that interests me. Possible monitoring and evaluation? I’ve certainly seen a lot of job postings for M&E. Right now, I’m happy to do whatever I have to so that I can save and do something that interests me in the long run. But which of these options has better job potential? What would I be best at? What would I be happy or content doing? This is what I’m struggling with. I don’t want to waste money on another degree that’s not going to help me get a job, but I also want to do something I like and am interested in. One of my greatest fears is ending up in a dead-end job that I stay at just because it’s convenient and I have bills to pay.
I feel like this is a pretty common dilemma for people of my generation. It used to be (or so I hear) that when people graduate college, they got jobs. Getting jobs in development used to be easy if you were willing to move to…well, wherever. The world just isn’t that easy any more. I’m willing to move pretty much anywhere to get started in development (though I’m not even sure what sector, probably education), I’d be happy to work on demining in Africa or South East Asia. The opportunities are there, but they are scarce and hard to get and most require advanced degrees for entry-level positions.
So, what should I do? Hopefully I’ll figure it out soon. In the meantime, I think I’ll start studying for the GRE, just in case.