One Does Not Simply Graduate College with a Life Plan

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October just ended, but this Halloween zombies and monsters didn’t scare me; thinking about the future did. Two and a half years ago, I graduated high school, and in approximately six months I’ll be a college graduate. Wait, what? Because of my heavy course load in high school, I came to the University of Florida with over 30 credit hours and basically skipped a year of college.

My mantra is “I’m focused on next week, not next year,” so, of course, life after college is shoved to the back of my mind. With school, a job as an intramural basketball official, an internship and a social life, there’s a lot to focus on right now… even if I know that’s a lie I tell myself. My class schedule allows for plenty of free time spent playing (virtual) basketball, reading comic books (hey, gotta read the book before the movie comes out, right?) and putting maximum effort into school.

If I really wanted to, I could start mapping out a plan for post-graduation life, a plan beyond “get a job.” But life after college feels too weird to think about. To put things in perspective, I’ll have a bachelor’s degree before I can (legally) drink and gamble. Wouldn’t you feel a bit odd if you graduated college but couldn’t sit down and order a beer at a bar?

Recently, UF held a graduate school information day when representatives from different graduate studies informed students about their programs. Naturally, I stopped by the English department’s table only to learn that the sole master’s program offered is the MFA, and they admit a dozen students each year out of a pool of over 500 candidates, or six in each discipline: poetry and fiction.

Seeing as I don’t write poetry, I have to be one of a lucky few fiction writers if I want to pursue an MFA at UF. Of course other schools around the country have MFA programs, but the more prestigious the school, the more my odds decrease, so I think it’s safe to say I’ve eliminated that possibility.

The only other table that interested me was the College of Education’s (Sorry biostatistics, you’re just not for me). UF’s master’s in education only requires one calendar year of coursework and after that you’re certified to teach; representatives also explained to me that getting certified to teach in other states isn’t difficult. The idea of teaching English at a secondary school implanted in my head that day Inception-style and hasn’t left since.

Honestly, I don’t know if I want to do another year (or more) of school. I don’t enjoy it much, so I’m uncertain whether more education is right for me.

If not grad school, then what? Get a job, of course, but that’s easier to declare to the internet than actually do. I’ll probably have to find something a bit more substantial than refereeing sweaty frat boys fumbling their way through basketball games; I don’t think I can make a career out of that.

During this past year, I discovered that not only do I enjoy editing; I’m also good at it. This sounds nerdy, but helping writers develop and watching their work significantly improve is just so much fun. So now, I think I want to make a career out of editing.

I currently write for a gaming blog (self-promotion FTW) and envision myself working as an editor for a gaming website like Polygon or Gamespot. I also love reading and may someday end up in a publisher’s editorial department, basically getting paid to read every day. Still, there’s the idea implanted that I might start teaching because every liberal arts grad teaches (hardy har har not funny).

In an ideal world, I’m a Jedi Knight by now, defending the Republic and keeping the peace while training under Master Yoda. Alas, this world isn’t ideal, and instead I’m left to ponder my quickly approaching future, whether that future involves grad school, work or something else. For now, I’ll shift my focus to the Victorian literature paper I procrastinated on by writing this article.

Austin is in his final year at the University of Florida studying English. He enjoys binging on Shark Tank, winning the Mortal Kombat, and occasionally stepping in for Batman when necessary.

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