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Confessions of a grad student, pt. 3: fear of the future

Well, I’m finishing up my first semester of grad school at Mills College, and I don’t know what or how to feel.

A part of me wants to do somersaults and smile because I got through my first semester, even with my insecurities and bouts with Impostor Syndrome. Another part of me still worries about my future at Mills College, even with my classes and activities next semester, leading to fear for the future entirely.

My mind always wanders to my possibilities three semesters from now, when I’ve hopefully received my M.A. in English and American Literature. One of my interests is to pursue a doctoral degree in English and gain a career as a professor ten years from now, even with advice and articles on Google telling me not to pursue a Ph.D. because of the lack of jobs and security in the humanities department. I’d have to fight for a stable position at a university, then for tenure at said university instead of having an adjunct position. Or…I may not even get a job if I were to pursue that path.

I am also considering enrolling in a teacher preparation program to begin steps for teaching credentials to work with middle and high school students in English. Not to criticize the typical curriculum in my state or own my high school experience, but if I were to follow with that goal, I would like to prepare students with a better education than I received during those four years and give them more opportunities to present a power in words. At the same time, pursuing that goal probably will not pay much to contribute to my finances, such as my living arrangements and debt from student loans. *cues theme song from “Daria”*

At the same time, being at The Campanil has me desiring to go back to the dreams that I had in high school: writing and journalism. I used to write features, op eds and reviews for my high school newspaper, hoping that it could get me somewhere in Essence or Ebony in fifteen years, then start my own magazine for YOUNG women of color. I KNOW that my academic choices have steered me far away from that ideal, but I’m still willing to try my luck in freelance journalism. I’m even applying for internships in journalism and just learning from my experiences at The Campanil each day.

All of the paths I’ve described here present not only the potential opportunities I may or may not receive (which I’m scared of), but also the fear of not having stability in my life. In short, I’m scared of what the future has to offer me. I want a secure job that can help pay for my loans, living and so on. I want to say that my college education was worth the debt and stress, that it can contribute to a greater future for me.

For now, I’m taking steps to start a foundation in academia and journalism with my support system behind me and a love for learning and knowledge. I’m always going to grapple with what may or may not happen, but I just need to take things one step at a time in order to attain and achieve one of those steps.