Graduation and musing about the future...

KagatoKagato Auckland, New ZealandMember Posts: 1,288 Mythical
Well, the semester is pretty much officially over (though I have summer school starting on the 24th...) then I have one more semester left, which if I pass, I will be eligible to graduate and claim my Bachelor of Arts degree.  As such, I've been doing more than a little bit of pondering over the past couple of weeks about what my future will be after I graduate.

With graduation looming on the horizon (currently due to graduate in July if I pass all my papers), I have an important choice to make - what I want to do after I graduate. I've narrowed my choices down to 3 options at the moment, one of which was something I had not contemplated until fairly recently, but seems rather enticing to be honest as it would open some avenues both in NZ and overseas.

1. Go back into the workforce and work on my books in my downtime. A bit of a boring option, but probably the safest of the options. If I did this path, I would likely go back into bus driving for a time.

2. Find a job in a writing related field, such as at a publishing company, newpaper/magazine firm or something similar - a little more risky as it would require me finding a solid job offer prior to graduation so that I'm not left job hunting after I graduate

3. Continue studying, applying to do a Postgraduate Diploma in Tertiary Teaching - this is a 1 year full time paper, so I would be done with it by July 2016, if I took this path and graduated, I could take up a job teaching creative writing at University level, whether it be in New Zealand or overseas.

I'm kind of tempted to do option 3, but I know it means that I will have another year of study ahead of me, plus an even bigger student loan bill by the time I graduate (though I will have a Bachelors Degree AND a graduate diploma under my belt) On the other hand, it will open up a LOT of options for me since teachers are typically in demand around the world, meaning I could easily teach abroad if I wanted to do so.  SO HARD TO DECIDE!!!!
Never put passion before principle.  Even if you win, you lose.

If olive oil comes from olives, where does baby oil come from?

If vegetarians eat vegetables, what do humanitarians eat?

Comments

  • XeriaXeria Member Posts: 633 Gifted
    option 3 hands down.

    Crunch the numbers and figure out how many years of your life you're committing to that loan. Then decide if it's worth it and possible

    if not, option TWO. Then go back to school later.

    Option 1 is something you only do if you've exhausted options one and two and you've got absolutely nothing left.
    is dead like the dodo
  • KagatoKagato Auckland, New ZealandMember Posts: 1,288 Mythical
    edited November 2014
    Heh, at this point my student loan is already sitting around $22,000 with another $1,000 or so due to be added between summer school and the papers in Semester 1. On top of that, if I do the extra year of study, it will add probably another $2,000 to my loan, bringing it up to around the $25,000 dollar mark.  THANKFULLY NZ student loans are interest free as long as we remain in New Zealand or are out of the country for less than 12 months - if we travel overseas for longer than that, we get charged interest and are expected to make regular payments towards paying it off.  NZ actually has it pretty good compared to the USA system.

    REALLY hard to say how long it would take me to pay it off until I actually secure full time work back in the workforce.  If I was to pay it off at $50 a week assuming all interest was written off, it would take me around 8 and a half years to pay it off.  That being said, if I got a decent job and was able to afford $100 a week in payments, it would be paid off in half the time.
    Never put passion before principle.  Even if you win, you lose.

    If olive oil comes from olives, where does baby oil come from?

    If vegetarians eat vegetables, what do humanitarians eat?
  • XeriaXeria Member Posts: 633 Gifted
    Alright. I just think that if It were me. Option one sounds like something I would want to avoid at all costs. look at it this way, you've spent this much money to gain a qualification and you're going to go back to driving a bus?

    That's something I would do in the short term, to perhaps pay the loan while I look for a job which matches my qualifications.

    No one can make that call for you but I bet you already know that! 
     
    three, I don't think looking for a job before graduation would be difficult. Does your university have a placement office or something like that? You can use that to aid you (and so on).
    is dead like the dodo
  • KagatoKagato Auckland, New ZealandMember Posts: 1,288 Mythical
    Main reason bus driving is an option is because it is a very solid fallback option - the pay rate is an impressive $20 per hour, nothing to sneeze at in this economy :)

    That being said, I'm going to speak to one of the counsellors at the uni and make my decision from there.  They will probably look at my academic record and either say "Yes, I think you can handle the coursework" or "No, it would be a better idea to try something different"
    Never put passion before principle.  Even if you win, you lose.

    If olive oil comes from olives, where does baby oil come from?

    If vegetarians eat vegetables, what do humanitarians eat?
  • DaraiusDaraius Shevat The juror's taco spotMember Posts: 4,747 Transcendent
    If your loans are really interest free as long as you stay in NZ, why not take out another? The worst part about having debt is paying interest, which is like throwing money away, so with that out of the equation it's just a matter of chipping away at the loan.
    I used to make cakes.

    Estarra the Eternal says, "Give Shevat the floor please."
  • IsuneIsune Gods Posts: 460 Divine
    I'm an American in the US so my position is directly influenced by my country's job market and view of teaching creative writing in academia. Currently I am in a masters in Creative Writing in the US with the intent to use it for teaching, so I'll give you the advice that I was given when I considered pursuing this degree.

    The main question to ask yourself with #3 is, 'Do I want to teach?' Writing and teaching aren't the same thing. Teaching is a job that will demand your time out of the classroom--which means finding time to write will be harder for you. Helping other people with their writing gives you less time to work on your own writing. This isn't necessarily a reason to say no, but it's something to consider. Do you want to be a teacher because you love the idea of teaching writing, or do you want to be a teacher simply because it involves writing? If the answer is a resounding, "Yes, Isune, I really really want to teach," then this is probably something you should look into!

    Further, how much do you anticipate being paid/what is the job market for people with this degree in New Zealand? In the US, I would almost never advise getting a masters that isn't funded by the university. This is because paying off those loans will be hard. Here, having a masters that qualifies you to teach creative writing is equivalent to being qualified for adjunct teaching work, which pays poorly and rarely includes benefits. Universities in the US simply prefer PhDs. The exception is if you have publications under your belt. A novel or series of short story collections looks fantastic and bolsters your chances of better employment (In general, I would argue creative writing jobs are more publication and experience based than degree based). So when you talk to your advisor, ask about what your future prospects would be and plan accordingly.

    Another thing to keep in mind: what kind of creative writing would you be teaching? Academia has a history of a strong literary bent that tends to downplay genre writing (fantasy, sci-fi, etc). Would you be teaching at a university, then, or another venue? And would that venue value the same sort of writing that you do? It's a small but very significant thing to consider!

    Jobs like the ones mentioned in #2 are worth doing. Those are highly competitive but if you can get one it looks fantastic on a resume and gives you insight into the Behind The Scenes world of publication. If you want to work abroad, have you considered teaching English as a second language? I know many people who speak highly about the experience and I suspect you will find more jobs in this area than simply in creative writing. It also broadens your experiences as a writer, which is always a plus!

    That said, option #1 is not the worst option in the world. Some of the most valuable advice I have been given is this: writers write. Many successful writers have become successful because they survived on a day job and gone home to write their novels. Many great writers don't have graduate degrees. A writer's most valuable resource is time, followed by initiative.

    Tl;dr: If you want to teach, go for option #3, but get a proper idea of what your financial situation will look like and what sort of employment you can expect. Jobs like the ones in option #2 are great but if you wind up driving a bus for awhile in order to survive while writing, don't see that as a failure either. It sounds to me like your goal is to write, and luckily, you can write no matter which of these options you choose. :)
  • KagatoKagato Auckland, New ZealandMember Posts: 1,288 Mythical
    edited November 2014
    Daraius said:
    If your loans are really interest free as long as you stay in NZ, why not take out another? The worst part about having debt is paying interest, which is like throwing money away, so with that out of the equation it's just a matter of chipping away at the loan.
    The biggest restriction is the fact that NZ citizens can draw a maximum of 7 EFTS (Equivalent Full Time Student)  One paper is typically 0.125EFTS (8 papers per year), which is typically enough for graduate or postgraduate  level study, but if you want to do masters or doctorate, a portion of it will very likely end up coming out of your own pocket.  I need to choose very carefully, because once it's gone, it's gone.  If I withdraw from a paper for any reason, I don't get that EFTS credit back.

    That being said, I'm not adverse to teaching, originally one of my plans was to travel to Japan and teach english, this was back when I was doing Japanese as my major, but I found that Creative Writing had been far more appealing to me and I was getting FAR higher marks, so it made sense to make that my major instead and switch my minor to Japanese.  (This was a good 2 years ago now, keep in mind)

    Side note:  One paper I'm MEANT to be doing next semester (though whether it will still go ahead at this point in time) is a paper called "co-operative education", the description of the paper states "An employment-related project enables students to draw together the capabilities learned in core papers with the specialised knowledge from their major studies, and to extend and apply their learning beyond the educational institution. Students will reflect on their own vocational goals and development as well as the processes and outcomes of their particular project."  So pretty much to do that paper I would need to find a business in line with my Creative Writing major that would be willing to take me on for the semester (kind of also a way of getting a foot in the door)

    Definitely appreciate all the feedback, will take it all into consideration, it is not something I'm rushing to decide on in any case, I still have a full semester left, though if I want to do the course I will have to apply for it by May 2015 at the latest,
    Never put passion before principle.  Even if you win, you lose.

    If olive oil comes from olives, where does baby oil come from?

    If vegetarians eat vegetables, what do humanitarians eat?
  • RialormRialorm Member Posts: 1,055 Transcendent
    How does the pay of being a teacher compare to your current job options? If it means better pay you could see it as an investment for a bigger return in future. Honestly one extra year adding 2k doesn't seem that bad so if the job prospects are interesting go for it. Especially since you seem to be far more interested in that job. Job satisfaction goes a long way! And you always have bus driving as a solid backup plan.

    Also since the loan is without interest, unless you want to move, you should look into first maximizing your tax benefits before putting money towards it. Pension and long term savings are usually the way to go here, but you'd need to see what your government offers. Depending on what your income tax is like this is nothing to sneeze at. Sure you lock the money away for the future but if it is anything like here then you might max out at about 1k a year for pension savings and something alike for long term savings / life insurance / all that good stuff.

    If you wanted to really go all the way you could totally dig into personal finance advice and cut your bills where possible in order to maximize your savings. It's amazing how much you can save even if you think you're already doing well. And that is before going nuclear and doing things like cutting cable or never entering a Starbucks again.

    In short, if there is a will there is a way. And what you are wanting does not sound like an absurd plan at all. I'd say go for 3. People make worse money mistakes casually. Not to say throw all your money out of the window, but you've got only one life so if it is within your means you should do what makes you feel the happiest. Personally my guess would be for you a teaching career with working on your own writings in your own time.
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  • KagatoKagato Auckland, New ZealandMember Posts: 1,288 Mythical
    edited November 2014
    At the moment the plan looks like it will most like be:

    Step 1: Graduate from my BA course
    Step 2: Do Graduate Diploma in Teaching  (This alone will give me qualification to teach at tertiary level, though not at an actual university since as @Isune said, most uni's prefer a masters or PhD qualification)
    Step 3: Find work teaching creative writing and/or continue working on current projects
    Step 4: Do Masters or PhD in Teaching
    Step 5: Assuming I graduate, find a job teaching at a university
    Step 6: Profit >_>

    Alternate plan:
    Swap Masters or PhD in Teaching for Masters in Screenwriting
    Never put passion before principle.  Even if you win, you lose.

    If olive oil comes from olives, where does baby oil come from?

    If vegetarians eat vegetables, what do humanitarians eat?
  • LavinyaLavinya Queen of Snark AustraliaMember Posts: 3,478 Transcendent
    Curious, did you major in anything, or is it a straight arts degree?



  • KagatoKagato Auckland, New ZealandMember Posts: 1,288 Mythical
    Majored in Creative Writing, Minor in Japanese History and Culture.
    Never put passion before principle.  Even if you win, you lose.

    If olive oil comes from olives, where does baby oil come from?

    If vegetarians eat vegetables, what do humanitarians eat?
  • XarconXarcon Member Posts: 63 Capable
    Kagato said:

    That being said, I'm not adverse to teaching, originally one of my plans was to travel to Japan and teach english, this was back when I was doing Japanese as my major, but I found that Creative Writing had been far more appealing to me and I was getting FAR higher marks, so it made sense to make that my major instead and switch my minor to Japanese.  (This was a good 2 years ago now, keep in mind)


    I will give you a similar advice I gave another Lusternia player. Do the JET program.

    In the scenario you've described I think that is a good option and here are my reasons:

    1) You get to teach... specifically EFL (English as a Foreign Language) to JHS/elementary or high school depending on you placement. Personally, I would put in my application that since your major deals with creative writing that you would be highly qualified to teach and develop your own curriculum for high school students in Japan. Also, include that you have interest in the culture (ie minor in the language) and that you are looking to broaden your horizon by spending time in a foreign country. Even if you get stuck with JHS/elementary and be put in the infamous 'tape recorder' role, that leads me to point 2...

    2) You get a lot of free time. A work day is typically (8?) 9-4 with some breaks in between for lesson planning/discussing the class with the JTE (Japanese Teacher of English). Finish your classes, get home, fire up some tea, and get writing. If you can discipline yourself, you could probably write 4-5 hours a day (with no Lusternia of course).

    3) A pretty decent pay... I did 3 years of the JET program. In the first year and a half I was able to pay off a 12,000 USD loan with no problems.I would setup a GoLloyds account or something similar after opening up a Japanese bank account. Calculate how much I spend in the first month and then start sending lump sums back home. If you get lucky, you can get hooked up with some private classes from the outgoing teacher that can help supplement your income.

    Since you're probably not going to live the rest of your life in Japan (unless of course you get stuck here), two years in a relatively 'safe' and 'interesting' culture will do wonders... I would shoot for two years simply because it will take one year to get accustomed to the culture/environment and the second year you can enjoy yourself (visiting different cities, going to temples, chillin in hot springs, etc).

    Regardless, I think you can go back to school any point in your life. There really is no age limit.
    Being a bus driver can have its perks if you're social with people and if you like to drive.
    And, finding a job in the career you want to do is also good.

    So, whatever you decide, it's a win situation...
  • KagatoKagato Auckland, New ZealandMember Posts: 1,288 Mythical
    The only thing I'm a little concerned about regarding the JET program is whether I would qualify for it as I am currently 32 years old, I was always under the impression that you had to be under a certain age to be able to do that.
    Never put passion before principle.  Even if you win, you lose.

    If olive oil comes from olives, where does baby oil come from?

    If vegetarians eat vegetables, what do humanitarians eat?
  • XarconXarcon Member Posts: 63 Capable
    edited November 2014
    Kagato said:
    The only thing I'm a little concerned about regarding the JET program is whether I would qualify for it as I am currently 32 years old, I was always under the impression that you had to be under a certain age to be able to do that.
    I think at one point they did. However, looking at the eligibility requirements on their site there is no age restrictions. They might have taken it down.

    EDIT: Yeah... just double checked again. No age requirement.
  • IsuneIsune Gods Posts: 460 Divine
    edited November 2014
    Re: your alternate plan of screenwriting, I recommend the following books:

    The Screenwriter's Bible by Dave Trottier - Valuable and in-depth resource for formatting your screenplay. Aptly named.

    Writing Screenplays That Sell by Michael Hauge - Discusses the formulas and mindset behind the screenplay genre and what producers look for in an accessible and conversational manner.

    The Foundations of Screenwriting by Syd Field - Similar to Hauge in that it's an accessible guide to screenwriting techniques and allows insight into the business.

    You might also want to look up Trelby for writing your screenplay. It's free, unlike Final Draft, and very intuitive. Also you will be shocked and amazed at how many screenplays are available free online!
  • KagatoKagato Auckland, New ZealandMember Posts: 1,288 Mythical
    edited November 2014
    Isune said:
    Re: your alternate plan of screenwriting, I recommend the following books:

    The Screenwriter's Bible by Dave Trottier - Valuable and in-depth resource for formatting your screenplay. Aptly named.

    Writing Screenplays That Sell by Michael Hauge - Discusses the formulas and mindset behind the screenplay genre and what producers look for in an accessible and conversational manner.

    The Foundations of Screenwriting by Syd Field - Similar to Hauge in that it's an accessible guide to screenwriting techniques and allows insight into the business.

    You might also want to look up Trelby for writing your screenplay. It's free, unlike Final Draft, and very intuitive. Also you will be shocked and amazed at how many screenplays are available free online!
    Thanks for the suggestion @Isune, but I was able to get Final Cut through my university at a VERY good rate - far too good to pass up since it is used professionally and it is a one-off purchase, so I figured why not take advantage of it ^_^   I'll still check out Trelby though and see how it compares.
    Never put passion before principle.  Even if you win, you lose.

    If olive oil comes from olives, where does baby oil come from?

    If vegetarians eat vegetables, what do humanitarians eat?
  • DaganevDaganev Member Posts: 755 Master
    My friend writes some screenplays, and has a few one act plays that are free as long as you give him credit.

    http://eitanthewriter.com/
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