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SamIAm's avatar

I need some advice on what to do with school/my life, any suggestions?

Asked by SamIAm (8633 points ) March 11th, 2010

I graduated on time from college with a BA in Political Science, which I don’t want anything to do with. I’ve always known that whatever I chose to do in life will need to involve creativity, aka I don’t want to be stuck in an office all day.

So I decided to go to grad school. I know that I am good at being organized, and love art so I thought going to school for Interior Design would be a great idea. I have been in school for a little over a month and I am not sure if this is right for me. A lot of people in my classes are in their late 20s and some are even older. I kind of feel like they are there because they have taken the time and know that this is really what they want to do. I am really not so sure this is what I want to do.

I am not putting my all into this, I am HATING being in school, something I used to enjoy, and I am worried that having 100g in loans to pay off will not be worth it. I also know that no one can truly make a decision for me, but I am wondering what I should.

I don’t want to let my family down but I think that they would agree that if I am not happy, I shouldn’t be wasting time and money. My next concern is that with the job market being so horrible, can I get a decent paying job? I have NO idea what I would want to be doing if I did get a job. I would settle for something just to be making money (like an office job, boo) and try finding something in the meantime but I don’t want to get stuck in a rut.

I am perplexed, confused, worried, anxious… I know that if I stay in school and don’t care, it’s not going to be worth it. I should only be here if I know this is what I want to do. But what if I can’t find a job? What if I do but end up doing nothing with my life because I can’t find something I love?

Help?!

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16 Answers

lilikoi's avatar

Before you commit to grad school, you should always ask yourself: Will having an advanced degree advance my career to warrant the added expense in time and money? If you don’t even know if you want to be in interior design, get out! Now! ....Well make it through the term, then get out. Defer your enrollment, and use the free time to figure out what you want to do. Maybe you could get a job in an interior design office. That would let you see what the industry is really like, and what your life would be like day-to-day if you were to continue down this path (hint: I’ve worked with interior designers, and yes, they have offices, albeit nicer ones than engineers.). Don’t worry about letting other people down – it is your life. Give yourself a timeline to figure it out (I’m doing this right now) – and stick to it. You don’t want to spend your whole life figuring out where you want to be, else you won’t have any time left over to live.

Do you absolutely not want to be in an office setting at all? That would narrow down your options a little. Maybe you could be an artist – ceramist, or painter, or glass blower or something. For some of us, being in an office sometimes is okay so long as we get to spend a decent amount of time outdoors. You need to figure out what your balance is. And also, do you need to spend time outdoors or outdoors in nature? This was an important distinction for me. Read The Pathfinder by Nicholas Lore. I think it might help you.

davidbetterman's avatar

My advice is not to listen to anyone’s advice. No one else can live your life but you, ergo you must try to decide what to do with yourself without other folks’ input.

JLeslie's avatar

This is one of the most difficult times in life, when you are finally out of school and have to jump in and start working and charting your course. For some it starts after high school, for others after they get there bachelors. I think there is a kind of an assumption that if you have gone on to graduate school, it is because you are very focused and have specific goals with your education and where it can lead you in your career. Undergrad you can kind of float through almost like an extension of high school; everyone just emphasizes getting a college degree, without speicifics necessarily.

All of that is no help to you in terms of what you shoud do now/next, but I wanted you to know that feeling perplexed at this time in your life is probably one of the most common feelings around. I think @lilikoi gave some good advice.

Snarp's avatar

Do you like theater? Theater stage managers are the ultimate organizers, so if that’s your main asset it’s a good place to look. You’ll be competing to some extent against people who’ve been doing it since high school at least, but it’s really not the theater specific part that’s hard. Your creativity will have to be used to serve someone else’s overall creative vision, but you do play an important creative role, and you’re part of a collaborative, creative process (in the best situations). You may or may not be able to make any money, it’s a pretty competitive field and the jobs with the most money attached often aren’t the most creative, but that’s not unusual.

The good part is that you don’t have to go enroll in a master’s program to try it out. If your college has a theater department, see if you can take a class that will get you into some kind of backstage work on a production to see what it’s like. Or if you have a reasonable quality community theater you can try that just to get a taste for it.

That’s just one option to try, but it’s one you can at least get a flavor for without a major commitment.

nailpolishfanatic's avatar

I think you should do something that you really enjoy and not listening to other people, except for maybe your parents ;D

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I think you need to give it more time – no education is ever a waste and sometimes we learn that what we thought was intimidating about our graduate school peers (like that they’ve got it figured out) isn’t at all true.

marinelife's avatar

What about working for the government in the public art scene?

SamIAm's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir : I will finish out the semester, but ... I am not into this, I am not feeling it and I know that this isn’t right for me… being in school doesn’t feel right. And I know that I decided on grad school for the wrong reasons… 1. being that I wanted a legit excuse to move across the country, and 2. because it seemed like a great idea since I had no idea what I really wanted to do!

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Samantha_Rae Well then the future is yours – so many possibilities!

unique's avatar

the peace corps? check out for a year, do some good, get some skillz, return with renewed confidence in yourself and your decisions…

SamIAm's avatar

@unique : I would love to do that but I really love where I’m at (location wise) and I have 2 cats that I could never leave….

unique's avatar

@Samantha_Rae hrm. i feel ya on that one. i wouldn’t trip on the family or the job thing. both will always be there. volunteering (locally) can be a great way to test a field (and get an in at a firm…) but it can be near impossible to find time while schooling…

SamIAm's avatar

@unique : you’re right… maybe i’ll find some part time work and volunteer in the meanwhile…. school doesn’t give me much time for either, and it only makes me want to sleep or party when i don’t have to do work! :) thank you.

unique's avatar

@Samantha_Rae good luck lady! :)

PandoraBoxx's avatar

@Samantha_Rae, graduate school is best done with some work experience under your belt. Finish the semester, then take some time and figure out what you would like to do. Look at Teach for America, or Americorps, or apply for the Peace Corps. You don’t have to “launch a career” right from the get-go. Take some time to get work experience under your belt. Minimize your responsibilities, and you free up your options.

Yanaba's avatar

I know this is a somewhat typical answer, but I’m in a similar situation myself and I’ve had the book “What Colour is Your Parachute” recommended to me loads of times. Or maybe, like me, you want to try out being an entrepreneur? It can scare you sh!tless at times, but the freedom and creativity are amazing and you’re bounded only by your imagination on one side and reality on the other. It’s the ultimate problem-solving experience! Who knows, maybe you’re a professional organizer? Or a landscape architect? Or an urban planner? Urban planning in particular has a lot of social and/or social work-type tie-ins. Interning for any one of these, or starting a somewhat-related business where you meet such people might be a great way to go for you.

Also, I did something a little like the Peace Corps once, minus the military flavour….and it was literally the best year of my life. I would not trade that experience for anything. I was just talking to a friend I met there last night and it’s been ten years and she is still like a sister. If there is someone you can bargain with to take care of your cats, it’s worth it. It really is.

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