Sunday, January 30, 2011

"What WILL you do?"

I found this blog post and thought it was brilliant. This post tells you how to answer the question, "What do you do?" As a graduating college senior, people often ask me, "What WILL you do?" Of course, my mother implied that it may not be very nice to answer with, "How the hell do I know?" so I've been inspired to modify it a little bit. You see, I am graduating with a liberal arts degree (International Studies with a minor in Economics) in a bad economy. I mentioned in a previous post that I may be living off of volunteer stipends for awhile. However, I'm only 21 and realize that people are just curious and don't necessarily expect me to have everything planned till retirement. Here's what the long version looks like.

One: I really want to go back to Africa. I know it may be awhile before I see Kenya again but the classes I took over there and the things I experienced made me curious about the rest of the continent. Africa is much more diverse than our American education gives it credit for. The cultures, the people, the imperialist influences, the music, it's all different. I wouldn't mind doing work in West Africa (of course, this may result in me asking for French lessons for my birthday). Options I have on the table: Tostan, Peace Corps and any Africa organization that I can find. Of course, this would not happen till 2012, due to application processes and, if applicable, the need to raise funds (as well as to perfect any French skills I gain).

Two: I want to do something with youth. I am applying for City Year, a program with Americorps. This would allow me to tutor children and young people as well as to work with youth groups and plan projects. This would be for the coming August up until next June. Of course, I need to hear back from them before I can make any Africa/abroad plans because my departure date depends on my acceptance or rejection from this program. If I do get in, yay. If not, I will look for other opportunities to work with young people during the year I remain in the U.S. Tutoring, volunteering with an organization that works with trafficked girls, and some others come to mind.

Three: I would like to find a way to include music in all of this. I used to do music quite a bit in high school and in college, it stayed dormant. That was, until I realized I could take voice and guitar lessons as part of my credit hours. Then, upon bringing my guitar to Kenya, I realized how much of a role music plays in culture, in livelihoods (for some people), in giving others a voice and how much it brings people together. It factored into many of my encounters with people, my research, and my dealing with culture shock. I don't know how, but I'd like to find a way to keep up. Currently, I still play, I am taking voice lessons again as well as piano, and I sing in my church choir. We'll see. I don't expect to become a pop star (Lord, have mercy) but I do know that music does fit somewhere in the grand scheme of things.

I do know these three things. I also know that I would like to go to Italy at some point for an extended period, provided I come up with funds to do so. I do not mind taking this time to experiment and find out who I am. What I don't want to do is to get locked into a job/career and not end up taking that time. I also don't want to commit to grad school (and more debt) when I'm still not sure what I'd go for (right now, I am thinking either a Master's in Development Management or an M.Div but that's all subject to change). I do not know what the future holds but I'm up for exploration.

How's that for an answer? :D

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