Posted by: alphafemme | July 28, 2009

I really dislike planning for the future, it stresses me out

I’m applying for graduate school!

I finally decided to just. do. it. My problem has been that I couldn’t decide what I wanted to get a degree in. So many options! So much to consider! How on earth do I know what will make me happy! How the fuck do people make up their minds about something as huge as their entire career! OMG!!!!! Law? Philosophy Ph.D.? Gender studies? Education? Business? Student affairs in higher ed? Public administration?!?!*(#&%*#= And I was like, I need professional experience! I need more jobs! I need twenty years to even decide what I want my next twenty years to BE!

And then I realized it doesn’t really matter. Just as I’m sure there are a dozen things I could’ve studied in college that would’ve made me happy and that I would’ve been deeply interested in enough to write a 100-page honors thesis, and it just so happened that philosophy (mostly coincidentally) was the one I chose, JUST LIKE THAT, I’m sure that there are a dozen different professional/graduate degrees I could get that would each give me several dozen more options for career paths. And even then, they say people these days change careers an average of, what, seven times? Yeah. So no matter what I do, I’m not stuck.

Where I do feel a bit stuck right now is my current job, and I just sort of realized that the best way out of that is to take a step towards my actual future career(s). So I’ve decided to apply to several different graduate programs, with the intention of starting in the fall of 2010. The degree of choice is Public Policy, where Cal has an excellent program that I’m not sure I’ll be able to get into. Not sure where else I’ll apply, because honestly I really want to stay in the Bay Area, and Stanford doesn’t have anything like it. Beyond that, USF, SF State, San Jose State, and Cal State Hayward all have MPA programs, which aren’t quite the same. USC in Los Angeles has an excellent MPP program as well, but… that’s in Los Angeles.

What to do! Well, I think I’m going to apply to just Berkeley and USC, and then SF State as a kind of last resort. Applications will be due at the end of the year, so suddenly I’m all OMG, the GRE! Financial aid! Saving money! Lots to do.

Mi’lady was nonplussed when I told her about my decision. She’s worried I’ll leave the area, and both of us have been in unsuccessful long-distance relationships and aren’t really eager to be in another one. I think her worry is a little hasty, considering there’s over a year until I’d be starting school, and the two of us haven’t even been together for a full year yet. We’ve been together 8 months! So lots can change in the meantime. Not like I’m planning on breaking up, or anything, obviously, but it could be that in a year, she’ll be wanting to leave SF anyway. Or that in a year we’ll feel totally fine about doing distance. Or that in a year her band will be touring anyway so it won’t really matter where I am. Or or or.

But I can’t let her qualms about long-distance prevent me from going to grad school. Maybe I should apply to other programs outside of California too? NYU has a good program. And Harvard. And Brown. And lots of East Coast schools. Which all have the benefit of being closer to my family and closer to the majority of my friends. But… I’m not sure I want to leave California. I just don’t know. I don’t know!!!!


  1. Mills College has an excellent Master’s Program for Public Policy. I highly recommend it.

    You’d stay in the Bay Area, and be in Oakland more (which benefits the girlfriend situation). Win win.

    • oh, thanks! I didn’t even know that. and I’m an alum of an east coast women’s college as well, so I’m a huge fan of supporting them. I’ll definitely apply there.

  2. You should apply everywhere! Then you have options. You don’t have to go somewhere just because you apply.

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