Welcome to the October installment of my monthly career planning series: Planning for the Future. In this post, I am going to talk about making a big decision regarding my future. This is the decision regarding what I will be doing once I graduate in May.
A few months ago, I wrote a post about the few different options I was considering for after college. Each with their own subsets of options, the two biggest options were to go to graduate school or to start working.
I want to emphasize that this decision was one of the hardest decisions that I have had to make. There were a lot of factors that I considered in making this decision. Factors such as cost, time and work load were some of the biggest things for me to look at.
In the end, I made a decision that I feel is what is best for me. I am not going to post what that decision was on here, because I don’t want to sway any of you who might be in the same situation. What I am going to do is walk you through my thought process.
Option 1: Graduate School within My Current Field
The first option that I considered was going to graduate school for my current major: music. I can go to graduate school for music performance or some other area of music, such as composition.
What interested me about this option was that it allows me the chance to continue studying music for another couple of years. I was not really all that serious about music for the majority of my childhood. Pursuing a graduate degree in music would give me two more years of focused study in an art that I love.
Option 2: Graduate School in Another Field
Since going to college, I have had a growing interest in blogging, social media and online content creation. Because of that interest, I have considered a graduate degree in something related to that. There are a few digital media programs that I have looked at as well as one in digital content strategy.
This option would be a great way to learn about something in a more formal setting than just the “University of Google.” I would love to study trends and experiences of the online world.
Option 3: Pursue a Career in my Major Field
This option is probably the hardest. Music is not an easy industry. And odds are that I would probably spend most of my time for a few years hustling. Hustling for performance jobs, hustling for private students to teach. Hustling for any sort of paying work I could find.
That doesn’t make it a bad choice; it’s just different, and it involves a lot of work for not much reward.
Option 4: Pursue A Career Outside of My Major
This is definitely one of the options that my parents would prefer. As proud as they are of me and my musical skills, music isn’t the most practical career choice. However, if I pursue this path, it will not be because of my parents. If I do pursue a career outside of music, it would be along the lines of social media or blog management.
Working with online content can be a cool career, and it can be really lucrative if I am lucky.
My Thought Process
When I went through each of the above options to decide which was my best choice, I thought a lot about long term happiness and chance of growth.
I had to think about whether the option I pursued would result is a good and happy life as opposed to a good and happy year. Yes, the present is important, but some things are too risky if I don’t fully believe in them.
I also thought about what the people in my life would want me to do. What would my parents think about a certain choice? What about my professors and advisors that I have had? Do their opinions even matter?
I think realizing what others would choose was important, because I didn’t want to choose something just because someone else would want that for me. One of the things you learn as you become an adult is learning how to figure out what you want.
When making this decision, I also had to think about what my daily life might look like in the next year. Some of these choices will have different schedules. Is there a schedule that I might prefer?
The fourth thing I had to consider, especially regarding graduate schools, was the cost. I looked into financial aid options, and there are not many options out there for graduate students. There are always loans, though.
There are also opportunities for graduate assistantships. This is where you work for your school or department in exchange for a tuition discount and possibly a stipend.
Coming to a Decision
I have since come to a decision, and I am confident that it is what I am meant to do. I thought long and hard about all of the options available to me, and there was one that just seemed (and seems) right. It’s not that the others are wrong, but they are not as perfect for me.
I want to enjoy my time as a young adult, and so I chose the option that will allow me to do just that. Again, I am not stating my decision in this post, but I will probably be doing a life update sort of post in the future where I do announce my decision.
Thanks for reading!