Desiging your own post-graduate education
I remember exchanging many messages with a friend of mine about the increasing demand for more certified education. She wants to make a living doing creative non-fiction and media, and she always tells me that her goal is thwarted by the fact that she didn’t go to graduate school. In her situation (the hope is that she gets a teaching fellowship) getting more “professional” education is a good choice for traveling further down on the road to success. In talking with my friend, and reflecting on the education I have received so far in my life, I realize that I too need more education after undergrad. However, I don’t want to drop more money that does not belong to me in order to do so. So what do I do? Lately, I’ve been weighing my options.
About a year ago, I had an overwhelming zest for ideas like UnCollege, and Zero Tuition College. These are organizations started for the purpose of showing people that you can increase your knowledge and skills without going to a paid institution of education. For a good while I was considering opting out of college to try this out. But then I realized that there would be too many hurdles and curves for me to get over. Getting a job with only “some college” is difficult. How would I find a support network? The biggest obstacle of all is the fact that I would still be thousands of debt if I left college before it was time for me to graduate. Debt is debt and at this point, accruing more for two more years doesn’t make a difference. So I decided to continue college with a self designed major. The problem with this course of study is that – I’m not really increasing any skills. I’m still managing to skate by with minimal effort, and I still have no idea what I want to do as a “career”. I’m still taking classes and doing internships to figure it out. The bottom line of all of this is that I will have graduated college without a ticket into a specific field. It’s not like I majored in biology with the intent to go to med school. I will be in severe need of more ongoing educational experiences. How can happen without money?
My very first thought was – more internships! I appear to have a sustained interest in urban sustainability. After college I wanted to do the Kitchen Garden internship at Yestermorrow design school. For some reason it flew over my head that internships like that are UNPAID. So now, I am pursing another route to “post grad” study – live-work jobs and paid internships.
I happened upon a great website called Backdoor jobs, that lists seasonal live/work opportunities at last anywhere from 3 months to a year. I am most interested in their “sustainable living and farming jobs” listing. The tradeoffs are that I will have to have money for traveling to different opportunities across that country, and I will not have a permanent residence or steady income from year to year. But I will be gaining growth and mastery along the way, as well as some sort of income that I can use to pay off my loans.