I went to an advising conference last week. The idea was that I would find out whether or not I wanted a career in advising, but results were inconclusive. I like the part where you help people figure out their goals and pick their classes. I don't like the part where you urge people to do certain time management things. But that part is not part of all the jobs. I also don't like the part where you have to deal with aggressive parents trying to be overly involved in their kids' lives.
The part about the time management was mostly from a session about a program for students who get kicked out for low grades, then get re-admitted, and as a condition of re-admission, they have to attend a 10 week program on how to be a good student. If I wanted to change people not accustomed to showing up on time, I could have been a social worker.
The problem with figuring out what to do with my life is that there's a fundamental paradox. I think working with people is the most meaningful and rewarding thing to do, but it's also tiring and unpleasant.
One school of thought is that instead of having a rewarding job, I could just have a job that is not annoying, and find fulfillment in what I do outside work. Right now my job is too annoying to follow that plan. It seems to me that working in a library would be the kind of job that was not annoying and would allow me to find fulfillment outside of work. If I work in advising, I would be more likely to find fulfillment in my job than if I worked in a library, but working in advising would have more potential unpleasant aspects as well.
At the conference, I went to a talk by a 22 year old. She was very capable and professional. Far beyond me. I'm used to thinking the reason I can't do stuff is because I'm young and inexperienced, but I guess I can't really use that excuse any more. Now I'm almost as old as the .
Today, after dosing up on caffeine, I went rollerblading. At the conference I felt like I didn't belong in my skin. Rollerblading, I felt like I did belong in my skin. Does this tell me anything about what I'm meant to do with my life? Maybe not. Maybe feeling out of place at the advising conference was just because I was new and not exactly working in the profession. The people at the conference did seem to be people I liked and felt similar to.
If I do want to go into advising or something else in higher education, then I would like to get a Master's degree in Higher Education. If I do want to work in higher education, then it would be best to go to school now. Now I have a job that I already want to leave. If my next step was to get a new job, then maybe I wouldn't want to leave that job, so then it would be harder to get the Master's degree. On the other hand, I'm not positive that higher education is the right field for me. It would be silly to spend a lot of money getting a degree in something that I don't even want to do, and then ending up unemployed afterwards. Or even if I decide I do want to stay in higher education, I could still end up unemployed afterwards. Many schools have hiring freezes on now, and things may not be any better by the time I finish a degree.
I would like to get a Master's and then get a good job in a good place, and be able to stay. I like to put down roots. I don't like the unsettled feeling I have now that I don't want to be in my job forever. If I go to school, I'd like to go full-time so that I can more quickly move on to a permanent situation, rather than spending years in limbo as a part-time student.