As the summer holidays between my second at third year at university crawls to a close (can somebody please explain to me why UK universities have 3-4 months off during the summer? It’s too long!), I am bound to start thinking about what comes After. And it’s scary.
Where will I go After my BA? Will I study for a master’s After my BA? Will I try to find a job straight After my BA? Will I try to travel for a bit After my BA? Will I move back into my parental home After my BA or will I live somewhere else? What country will I even live in After my BA?
Part of why I chose to study English (besides that nothing else really appealed enough to me and I really like all things books) is that it gives me an endless array of options when it comes to choosing what I want to do in the future. An MA narrows that range of options down – or at least, the idea is that you choose to specialise in something that you want to do for an extended amount of time.
But then what do I choose? Do I want to develop my Creative Writing more? Do I want to see what I could do with something film-related? Do I want to choose something where I could research children’s literature? Do I want to learn how to translate literature? Do I want to study something that allows me to learn more about publishing? WHAT DO I CHOOSE?
The options seem endless, and although it’s not necessarily the case, I feel like whichever MA I choose to study will close the door on any of the other options beyond the MA. Therefore, I need to really sit down and decide what path I want to take for the immediate future. But when I’ve chosen what MA I want to study, do I want to do it immediately? Or do I work and travel, then MA? Work and then MA? Or maybe no MA at all, after all? And if I do MA, what about money? I already have a lot of debt as it is and acquiring an MA would go paired with, undoubtedly, acquiring more debt too.
And then the above isn’t even taking into consideration the big question that forms the foundation of it all: where will I live? England, Netherlands, somewhere else? MAs in the UK are more expensive than in the Netherlands, and I’m not interested in acquiring tonnes of more student debt, but I do really like being here on this island and I would like to see what it’d be like living in a different city. Either way, there will be a move – which is enough to have me want to crawl under a duvet until the prospect of packing up boxes has disappeared from the horizon.
But if I decide not to study for an MA immediately, will I try to get an entry-level job, work a random job for a bit to save up money for travel, or should I apply for graduate schemes? And where would those jobs be? In the UK? In the Netherlands? Where would those options lead me – geographically and, well, as a person?
I knew where I was headed for a long time: I would finish my VWO and, if I got in, I would study something I loved at a UK university. Now that I’m nearing the end of that ‘part of my life’ (which sounds really dramatic) I’m a little bit at a loss. There are so many options and each of those options comes with more things that I need to decide on. It’s intimidating.
So during the upcoming months I will try to figure out what it exactly is I want to do or study and where I want to go. As of right now, I’m planning on applying for MAs both in the UK and the Netherlands, as well as some graduate schemes that several UK publishers run and basically let all of them decide for me – if more than one accepts my application, that is when I have to, you know, really decide for myself.
Until then, I’ll continue to periodically freak out about After.