Graduate school: the crossroads

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I just finished submitting my petition to graduate. If all goes well with my final class (!!) this semester, I will be graduating Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature. I can barely type those words without being overwhelmed by emotion. I can’t believe I’ve finally gotten here. This is the direct result of four years of personal sacrifice, neglected friendships, adventures postponed, Sunday afternoons hunched over my laptop writing literary analysis papers. My education has always come first, and it shows in my GPA, in the feedback I’ve gotten from my professors. It’s hard for me to remain modest when I’m so proud of how far I’ve come and what I’ve accomplished. But what comes next?

I began pursuit of my Bachelor’s Degree with the full intention that I wanted to teach English. By and large, I never questioned that. Now that the applications for grad school are casting their long shadow over my days, I’m (true to form!) questioning that goal. There’s no money in teaching. Finding a job is really hard, and the job market is fiercely competitive (considering there is no money in teaching, I still find that odd). And of course: teaching is a ton of work. If I choose to teach at a public high school, I can expect a thankless flock of apathetic students, to which my boyfriend can attest. I’ve toyed with careers as an editor, or perhaps a librarian, which would require alternate Master’s programs. Getting my Master’s is not optional for me; it has been my intention from day one, to keep the wheels of education turning. I love education; I’ve thrived on it for years. More than anything, my love of literature and writing has propelled me forward. So it makes sense that I share that passion with others, to the best of my ability.

So now the question remains: Where do I apply to grad school? It needs to be online, because (sadly) I have to keep working full-time, as I have for my entire undergrad program. Do I pursue a Master’s of Education, or a Master’s of English, perhaps Creative Writing? I know to get certified to teach in New Hampshire I’ll need to pursue alternative certification routes. I can’t afford to student teach and not make money. All of the options out there are so daunting. In spite of my success in my undergraduate program, I can’t help but question my own intelligence and abilities: what if all those grades were just a fluke, dumb luck? (I don’t think so, but maybe.) Can I even do it? Am I tall enough to be a teacher? And scariest of all: what if I hate it? I couldn’t hate it more than what I do now, to be sure…but how do I know what the “right” program is for me? I feel like these are questions most people answered in their early 20s, but I am a late bloomer when it comes to higher education. I’ve learned that as long as you’re alive, it’s never too late to try something new.

If you are in the teaching profession, I would really love your input, so please comment. I’ll be sure to check out your blog, too.

 

Broken Colors

Broken Colors by Michele Zackheim chronicles the remarkable life and art of Sophie Marks. Raised in rural England by her artist grandparents, Sophie is inclined to follow her own bohemian existence. When World War II strikes its catastrophic devastation upon the Midlands, and her own young life, Sophie loses all she knows. While she is forever scarred from those wounds and other tragedies, she finds constant new ways to make herself shine with resilience, most importantly through her painting. She finds love and many years of romantic fulfillment in a sculptor named Luca Bondi, but when their relationship crumbles, Sophie must yet again find a new direction for herself. In the end, Sophie comes full circle, proving that perhaps it is never too late.

Zackheim accurately captures the essence of painting and art processes through words. She tells the story quietly, with beautiful but unpretentious language, and the story tugs at the heart. The emotions ring true and the story sweeps across Sophie’s whole life, from young womanhood into her eighties. Woven with bits of history, beautiful descriptive fragments of Europe–from the Midlands of England, to Paris, to Italy, the American Southwest and back again, Zackheim paints a sentimental and vibrant story.

Any creative spirit will appreciate this book. Broken Colors is rich with life pleasures and sumptuous language. Inspiring quotes from famous artists punctuate between chapters, and Zackheim’s style is consistent and solid. It’s an intense book, in both content and wording, a book to be savored and enjoyed. Just as in real life, passion is sometimes juxtaposed with anguish, and devastation with constant hope.