This is a bit of an unconventional post for me here on this blog, but I wanted to address the terror that I feel nearly every minute of my life right now. I am wounded and winded every time I think about this:
I am a college educated, graduate school bound person, who after I come out of this expensive nearly two decade long education, will have a mountain of loans that I will do anything and struggle to pay off, but will likely be unemployed, stricken with debt, and without a home or permanent residence.
I could go and say, “Worst off, I majored in art, and am going to an expensive private art school for graduate studies. I’m never going to make a living.” While that in itself is also true, I know I’m not alone, and it really doesn’t matter what my degree is in. We’re all screwed.
I have friends who studied hard sciences, math, and engineering and they’re “gainlessly” unemployed. I’ve been waitressing, etc. for several years, and I don’t mind doing that for many more, but that is starting to not cut the mustard, so to speak. In fact, I could work 80 hour weeks for the next 20 years, very possibly never finding a job in what I studied in, and still not be paid off in student loans.
I know this sounds pessimistic, but I’m just being realistic. I am part of the generation that is plagued with unemployment, but my parents are the ones who are part of the generation of never ending domestic care for their children. I’ve racked my brains with months of near sleepless nights, stress mongering, and tearing down personal relationships with my anguish for my own personal ticket out of this mess, but I’ve come up with nothing that will gain positive results.
I’ve dichotomized my two options:
Option 1- Go to grad school. In this option, I travel 1400 miles away from everyone I know, gain a ton of exposure to new people, places, experiences, art practices, etc and work hard for two months of this summer, before coming back to Missouri to finish out the non-residency part of my low-residency MFA program. From there, I’ll still continue to work hard, but will basically be freaking out about how I will afford to pay back my $30000 a year tuition. As an artist, I may gain exposure from being in New England, but as a professional, this degree may not serve me well at all. I might not get any type of job.
Option 2- Don’t go to grad school. If I don’t go to grad school, I’ll just be working off the debt that I’ve accrued from undergrad. I can continue making art, without a professional degree, possibly living with less stress in the long run. I could apply to a local school in the future, if I want to get an MFA later. While paying for loans right now is daunting (without a job), I know I could find one. It’s just a matter of time. It probably won’t be in my area of interest, and it more than likely will be just an hourly wage job for a while, but I could at least get by. But I would be missing out on a wonderful opportunity to go to a great school with new exciting experiences.
So basically, I’m at a standstill in what I can do. I have until the 12th to decide my POA that will affect me for the rest of my life. If anyone reads this before the 12th, please give me some words of advice.