Sunday, October 09, 2005

Significant life decision possibility

My father sent me a newspaper clipping of a job posting. It was for a sociologist (with a Master's degree) and it got me thinking as I sit here in my little apartment and contemplate next year.

It was last year around this time that I decided to come to Korea. I had originally planned to go straight to graduate school after undergrad, then suddenly decided that it would be a better idea to see the world and instead live in Korea for a year. It took me no time at all, maybe about five hours from original realization of possibility to firm decision. I distinctly remember the night; lying in bed after an evening of theatre, coffee, and talking with a friend (hello, friend!). It was easy to postpone grad school for a year.

Now I may have decided to postpone it for another.

My further education plan is to study demography; the study of populations. Things like birth rates, death rates, immigration, etc. etc. Why? Well, because it is a practical sociological program that I can work with after only a Master's. And because I loved statistics in second year. It was easy and I enjoyed working on it. I always hated math throughout highschool and I got one hundred percent on my final stats exam. Figure that one out. I took a PhD level stats course last year and can't say that I loved it, but I hope that's related to the level or some other factor...

Back to the matter at hand, now I have almost decided to try and find a job in the field before I invest in a program in it, just to make sure it is actually something I can picture myself doing for a long time. Maybe I can get an entry level job in Toronto or Ottawa. Work for real, make some Canadian money, and be better prepared to make some decisions. It may not be thrilling but I'm hoping it will be. I need to know what I'm getting into, right?

So I'm going to look into this kind of work before grad school apps are due in January and February. Maybe I can confirm a job starting September. I could work from September 2006 to July 2007. Then I could travel for two months (gotta fit that in somewhere, right?). I would graduate from a Master's program in 2009. I'd be 26 years old. If I wanted to do a PhD afterwards I'd be somewhere around 31 at graduation. Holy. That seems so old to me but so near. Then again, almost all my friends in Korea hover just around the age of thirty and it's nothing. It can work.

Any wise advice out there?


At October 09, 2005 8:24 p.m. , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Demography... an original, good idea.

At October 09, 2005 9:07 p.m. , Anonymous seadragon said...

I think your plan sounds great. Much smarter than many undergrads who go straight to grad school because they can't figure out what else to do, or haven't really taken the time to think about it. I also think a lot could change in your plan, but overall, it's a good guide for what you're trying to do over the next few years.

As for being 31 when you graduate, well, I'm 31 now and about to get my PhD. (I took four years off between undergrad and grad.) I have absolutely no regrets, because I really needed that time to figure out what I wanted to do. It took me a couple of jobs (ok, four different jobs), a research position, and a class for me to narrow down what I wanted to study. But that really turned out for the best because I was sure I was interested in it, and in fact, five years later (the length of grad school for me), I'm still sure!

Don't worry, 31 isn't all that old. I think it's well within the range of average age of people getting a PhD.

At October 09, 2005 9:46 p.m. , Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Medieval times, people never got PhDs, so clearly 31 can't be that old.

At October 10, 2005 1:49 a.m. , Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're in a fortunate situation; you're still young. Most people in their 30's and later eternally regret not taking time off after college to "see the world." They immediately pursue their chosen career without seriously comtemplating whether it was the
"right" decision for them; they do it because it pays the bills and to follow the expectations of parents/friends etc. However, after awhile with passage of years, with family obligations, mortgage, tied to the same mundane routine at work, etc, you can only dream about, "what ifs..." You just can't travel back in time and take a year or two off to see the world. So, what happens? Some try to live vicariously through bloggers like yourself, experiencing interesting and facinating life in Korea.


At October 10, 2005 3:41 a.m. , Blogger Blake said...

Go for it! It sounds like you want to get into the soc. field anyway. Why not get some experience in the same area where your heart lies?

Plus, if it's not a financial issue for you to go to grad school and eventually complete a PhD., the experience in that field can only help you to complete those goals (or to at least cement the idea into your head to complete them).

At October 10, 2005 5:48 a.m. , Blogger Jessica said...

Original and good? Really?

Thanks, seadragon. I appreciate your comment. And I'm glad to hear you're still interested in what you do! Hopefully I find something that I'm really interested in as well. If not this than something. I used to think 22 was old and now I feel like a kid.

Medieval times is something you must be well versed in. I know nothing about it 'cause my ex did all the work for me.

Polycarp, that's a good point of view to take. I was going to say that no matter what you choose to do you probably still will have regrets, especially not knowing what the outcome of the other options would have been. But maybe I can't regret taking risks because at least I won't wonder.

Hear hear, Blake! I hope it would cement the idea and not turn out to be an awful career choice.

Nobody's going to play Devil's advocate? Come on Dad, go public with your ideas! This could be a good discussion forum. ;)

At October 10, 2005 10:07 a.m. , Blogger greyguitar said...

Well, judging from what I did, I'd say go for whatever hits you one day. Why not apply for the graduate school at the same time as applying for a job in the field. Nothing wrong with having both options open and then seeing what is offered from both.

If you see a great opportunity in the job (whether it be $ or the fact that's it fun) then you'll be happy. Same applies for the grad school. They could offer you a full waiver and that'd be incredible!

I took the year off but instead of traveling, I worked in my field (for the most part) and I loved it but I could definitely tell I wanted to return to school. So in the meantime, I applied for schools and applied for 20-30 jobs and I heard back from both.

In the end I turned down the jobs for the school b/c I knew it would help me out in the long run..and plus it's only 2 more years--and I'll be 25 when I graduate in 2007.

At October 10, 2005 11:34 a.m. , Anonymous steve said...

I would say do what you are good at...

At October 15, 2005 11:38 a.m. , Blogger JR said...

Nice Blog. I'm sure you know that old saying " You are as only as old as you feel" It's not about how old you are. I say do what you wanna do. If you want to see the world go and see the world. I would rather do as much as I can now and then later on in life you wont have to say dang, I wish I would have.........


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