Growing Pains

Posted by Alex | | Posted On Saturday, 30 April 2011 at 12:29

I always feel guilty when I don't blog. It's not that I have an avid fanbase who awaits the next installment. It's just that I feel I am neglecting those who actually do enjoy reading about my mundane life. Since, as my last post put it, I have very little doing -- I would like to thank the ever-prudent Student Loan Company for this; damned QUANGOs -- I guess there's not much of an "I did this, I did that" post coming up. In fact, I'm going to hypothesise instead.

Ever since my first day in Spain, which was spent in a hotel in Barcelona, I've been asked by friends "So, what are you actually going to do when you finish your degree?" It's a fair question. A lot of my friends who went off to study at the same time as I did will be finishing their degrees this year; in fact, most of them will have graduated before I get home no doubt. They probably have career options lined up, internships, Masters degree applications on the go. Me? Well, I have another year left in Cardiff, so I've not really put any concrete thought into what I'm going to do with the rest of my days. However, I have narrowed things down.

  • Journalism: I know, I know, the world is full of two-bit hacks. I originally wanted to apply to university to do a degree in journalism and Spanish, but JOMEC (Cardiff's journalism department) said that such a degree combo was impossible. I have a lot of friends doing media-based courses, or who have really geared themselves towards a career in journalism through writing non-stop for student publications. I guess, I've only really written for myself. If it came to trying to get onto a Master programme, or even just another undergrad, the most I would have to prop me up are my sparse tumblrs. It's an option, but it's one of those ones where I'd really have to put in the effort.
  • Teaching: The bane of my life would be teaching just Spanish forever. I've slowly fallen in love with Gallo-Romances, that's to say Italian and Catalan. I can't exactly teach Catalan anywhere, because most Catalan tutors are brought into the UK via the Institut Ramon Llull (and the lovely Nuria Corominas). The same goes for Italian; there isn't that much of a demand for a single-serving Italian teacher. All of the teachers I've know who speak Italian (all one of her) actually taught French, and I never heard her speak a word of Italian, and just had to base it on what other teachers told me. I suppose I could teach Spanish, but it would end up with a feeling of self-loathing, that I had somehow lost control over two far more beautiful languages.
  • Lecturing: It's a step up from teaching, I'll grant it that, and so the workload to get there is much higher. In order to get even a chance at a Master or PhD, I need to be maintaining an average of 68+ from now on; heck I need to be maintaining a 70+ just to stand out from the crowd. I'd be looking at dropping out of Spanish, and concentrating solely on Italian. From there, it's just work, work, work; eat, sleep and breathe Italian, which is something I'd be very happy to do. But, being very happy to do something, and being good enough to get a doctorate and a teaching fellowship out of it are two different planes of existence. On the one plane is George Bush Jr, happily chuckling that politics is like playing soldiers in the garden; and on the other plane is Barack Obama, trying his hardest to make a Utopia out of a country where the very word only seems to transliterate to Commie Bastards.
  • Writer: Colin Meloy once wrote "I am a writer, a writer of fictions; I am the heart that you call home." For me, that is exactly where my heart lies; in writing. Of course, when you lack the inspiration and self-confidence to see something through to the end it can be a torturous process where you think that you are the worst of the worst. Obviously, this is just a pipe-dream, but, hey we can all chalk up dreams on the board and say "When I grow up I want to be [x]", right? So, mine is "When I grow up, I want to be a writer" -- I guess, aside from teaching, all of the potential futures I have in mind involve some kind of extended writing; albeit journalism and academic articles are far more factual than the subjective poetry and prose that a writer presents. I realise that saying this is like saying "I want to be a rockstar," because the chances of success are slim-to-none, unless you have a sob story...
And thus we reach the conclusion that my life outlook doesn't involve anything that doesn't involve writing or informing people of things to a certain degree. If there was a Venn diagram for this, one side would say "Careers that inform people of things" and the other would say "Careers that involve writing things" and I'm sure you could fit all four of the above into the overlap in the centre. Such a great scope of the 'World of Work' eh?

On that note, I'll leave you get back to your day, which may or may not involve working!


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