It has been a nice, long autumn here in Pittsburgh with ever so much to share with you. Jelly Bean and I are so happy to be blogging about our experiences. Just a few days ago my credentials arrived in the mail from the University of London International Programmes. For me, it signaled time to think carefully about what happens after completing a degree, and what my next steps will be. I suppose it depends on your goals, which might include professional objectives or personal fulfillment. For me it is both. Getting the paperwork acknowledging your success is quite satisfying, but it also underlines the question about how to proceed after finishing the degree. Should I concentrate on postgraduate credentials or concentrate on professional or personal opportunities? For me, it is a combination of all those things. To paraphrase Rodgers and Hammerstein, the beginning is a very good place to start.
Here is my process for figuring it all out:
This is my decade of doing things I always wanted to do. Earning a degree in English and Comparative Literature is one of those things. Having the degree has opened all sorts of opportunities for me, from submitting a novel length manuscript to a writing competition, to professional prospects I never imagined. It is very, very exciting and since I have a tendency to be a type A overachiever, albeit in the nicest sort of way, my post graduation choices feel a bit like destiny.
My choices post English degree were always going to involve pursuing further academic credentials. Since learning that I earned my English degree I have agonized a bit over which direction to take. For a while this summer, I could picture Jelly Bean and me living in Papeete teaching English and chasing butterflies. You just might find us there in ten or fifteen years. Bringing my mind firmly back to Pittsburgh, I listed the academic and creative things I always wanted to do and the things I enjoy doing most. My goal was finding a way to engage with them, do it well, and order them in a way that will let me enjoy the greatest number of my interests in the shortest time.
I really, really enjoy researching, writing long papers, reasoning, arguing and being creative. It might be hard to believe, but I find that being analytical really helps my creative process and expression. I also always wanted to attend law school, earn an MBA, use my experience in development for maxim impact, and earn a doctorate degree. At the end of the day, despite a doctorate opportunity and other available programs, I decided to pursue admission to the LLM and MBA programs at University of London.
Although I really, seriously like to study, trying to complete a joint MBA and law degree, like some USA-based schools offer, might be too much. I could petition the university for permission to pursue them jointly, but a very appealing thing about the University of London International Programmes is the opportunity to earn credentials incrementally. To me, there seems to be a lot of professional and personal benefit from taking this approach. I am looking forward to earning post-graduate certificates in both disciplines, then completing both advanced degrees over the next 5 to 6 years.
As I considered my options and goals this summer, the great satisfaction that comes with studying at the University of London became apparent. This experience is amazing; it gives me the best and most flexible set of options, is quite affordable, is rigorous, and satisfying. Another incredibly appealing point is the diversity and talent of the student body and faculty, and working with colleagues in the United Kingdom. The student support team is superb. The chance to study cultural issues like language, law, and business through the lens of this remarkable organization is a phenomenal opportunity. At the end of the day, despite my determination to be objective, it feels like my choice is more emotional that it started out to be. Working towards these new credentials will be exciting. My next task is managing the pins and needles while waiting to see if I am accepted, and choosing which credential to pursue first.
Caowrites has just completed the BA English by distance learning with the University of London International Programmes. She lives in Pittsburgh in the United States.