searchsoleil: (P&P = Know thyself!)
search soleil ([personal profile] searchsoleil) wrote2009-04-24 05:46 am
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I have no idea what to do with my life.

I mean, I do not know what to do in the next 10 minutes. I do not know what I want to do for my job over the summer. For my classes next semester. For my study abroad possibilities the semester after that. For my thesis. For my career.

I declared my major, and I've been having non-stop anxiety attacks about it ever since. I love English, but it is the helpless, impotent love of someone who doesn't believe it will ever amount to anything. My mother majored in English and got absolutely no where with it--never found a job she loved, or even liked, I think--even though she is a capable and quick-witted employee. I am neither of those things. I couldn't even hold down a summer job mixing smoothies, for fuck's sake. I'm practically unemployable as it is, why am I adding to the disaster that is my future resume?

And sometimes I hate my major, very specifically, because despite the fact that Barnard and Columbia are supposedly all buddy-buddy now, my major's department flouts all hints of bureaucratic progress in favor of being hugely backwards bitches and insisting I have to take 6 of my required 10 major-fulfilling courses on the Barnard side of the street, even though 90% of the 1800s-related courses are taught at Columbia. I'm going to try to kill two birds with one resentful stone on this issue and take enough courses to fill my entire Junior Colloquium requirement in one semester (this involves taking extra substitute courses, thus increasing my Barnard course count), leaving me with a semester to study abroad, worry-free (in an academic sense, at least).

I want to go to the UK so badly it has become a palpable ache in my chest. I have to study abroad there or else I will never, ever forgive myself. The question is where. There are about 30 options for me to choose from in England and Scotland, and none of them jump out at me in any particular way. I like the idea of Edinburgh, but it seems sort of weird to go there for the spring semester when it will be dark and freezing until probably a week before I leave.

I find it sort of ironic that my deepest fantasies right now involve fleeing NYC, the setting of all my previous deepest fantasies. I still love the idea of New York, and really, I love Barnard and Columbia most of the time. It's just that somewhere in the merger of the two is this trap of having no desire to crawl out of bed after a week of classes and taking flak from all sides for not taking advantage of the city more.

That is not to say that I have much of a desire to crawl out of bed during the week either. Burnout isn't great, guys. I really need to go to sleep, but all of this keeps swirling around in my head until I end up running to my delicious network to find something to quiet my thoughts for a few minutes at a time.

Looking over this post, I think it might be mostly incoherent. Time to pass out from exhaustion. I'm probably going to regret posting this later, but it's probably better to have it all out and set down somewhere than just mulling around in my head. Good night/morning to all.

[identity profile] 2009-04-24 01:24 pm (UTC)(link)
You have my sympathy 100% because this sounds exactly what my day yesterday was like. It suddenly hit me that I have no idea what I want to do for my thesis, what I want to do for internships, what I want to for grad school what I want to do with my life. And I too suffer from that ache of wanting to be in England. Unfortunately I totally sold my chance for doing study abroad by taking last semester off to be at home. I keep telling myself I'll do a gap year between undergrad and grad school, but that seems less and less likely these days.

*hugs and internet cookies*

[identity profile] 2009-04-24 02:40 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh goodness, I'm sorry. But you know, just 'cause your mum didn't get far with English, doesn't mean that you won't. Remeber that.

Sounds like you're making the same university choices as me - I'm thinking about English too. Edinburgh is a beautiful city, but the best place for English in England is Durham, it's got a reputation for it. Also, it's a B-E-A-utiful city and if you end up on University College campus, you get to live in an 11th century castle.
ext_64921: Deatail from JWWaterhouse's Ophelia [blue dress] (1905). (Default)

[identity profile] 2009-04-25 10:24 am (UTC)(link)
I checked out Durham, but they only offer full year programs (which terrify me), and their deadline passed already, even if I were to suddenly screw up the courage. :(

Thanks for the tip though, keep them coming!

[identity profile] 2009-04-24 06:07 pm (UTC)(link)

Being at an english uni, and having friends at others, if you wanted to ask about a town or uni please, please feel free to! Studying abroad (I went to France) was one of the best things I ever did, I highly recommend it. I will recommend the hell out of Leeds, because it is my university, but I can be unbiased too!

Good luck with it all!
ext_64921: Deatail from JWWaterhouse's Ophelia [blue dress] (1905). (Default)

[identity profile] 2009-04-25 11:08 am (UTC)(link)
Great! I will definitely keep you in mind as I try to puzzle this out. :DDD

[identity profile] 2009-04-24 10:30 pm (UTC)(link)
Fun fact: very few people get jobs that have anything to do with their majors. The important part is that you have a degree; not what it's in (hell, I majored in computer science and now I do scheduling and writing for an anime company). So find whatever major is the most enjoyable and don't even worry about job prospects until a couple months before you graduate.

(Unless any kind of jobs you're thinking about involve languages, like Japanese or Spanish or Gaelic or whatever. That you'd need to actually get started on and learn.)
ext_64921: Deatail from JWWaterhouse's Ophelia [blue dress] (1905). (Default)

[identity profile] 2009-04-25 11:04 am (UTC)(link)
Haaa, yeah, I try to remember that, but sometimes it's just like, if that's so then what am I even doing here? I know there are good answers to this question, but sometimes I forget what they are! I will try to keep your experiences in mind. :)

[identity profile] 2009-04-25 02:09 am (UTC)(link)
I totally understand you on a lot of what you said. I know what I want to do for a career (publishing), but it's just scary and terrifying and English is great except for the part where you get stuck in stupid university bureaucracy only to have a useless degree anyway. And holy crap, I feel guilty every single day for not doing more in the city and then my parents call me and tell me I'm wasting the opportunity and gah. We should form a support group. Hapless English Majors in NYC.

I sort of now have this crazy idea that we should meet up somewhere and attempt to perhaps discover bits of New York. ....Or just sit unadventurously in a cafe. I may on the opposite end of the city, but it's not that much of a distance. I mean, if you're not utterly freaked out by the idea, which would be understandable since we've only met in line once very briefly. I AM JUST GOING TO SHUT UP NOW; I FEEL I AM MAKING THIS WHOLE INFINITELY DEEP.

ext_64921: Deatail from JWWaterhouse's Ophelia [blue dress] (1905). (Default)

[identity profile] 2009-04-25 10:58 am (UTC)(link)
I AM SO UP FOR THIS SUPPORT GROUP, I FEEL LIKE I NEED ONE. Also, I am totally not freaked out by meeting up, it sounds lovely. I was in the NYU area yesterday anyway, the distance is negligible! Maybe we could try an adventure sometime before finals swallow us whole?

[identity profile] 2009-04-25 05:12 pm (UTC)(link)
Wow... I filled that last post with a million typos. I am sort of embarrassed now. I mean, more than I usually am.

LET'S DO IT! When are your finals? Wanna do next weekend?

[identity profile] 2009-04-26 09:05 am (UTC)(link)
A degree in English prepares you for every single job (that is not directly related to science and/or math.) Just because it doesn't come with a built in list of job possibilities doesn't mean it's not useful. My mother has organized blackjack tournaments, written small farm loans, and now she's branch manager for two branches of a local bank - she was employee of the year this year, and what did she study in college? She double-majored in English and Fine Arts. She swears that her English degree - the training she received in reading and writing properly, in being able to understand and communicate effectively - has been useful in every single job she's had. There is no career for which the ability to use words well isn't helpful. For most jobs, it's a basic qualification (and you'd be surprised by how many people really, really can't and how far ahead of the competition it puts you if you can.) Besides, employers don't care what you majored in, for the most part, I don't think (assuming you're looking at employers in the Real World and not in Academics.)

Really, the problem is that there's too much you could do and you're not sure what. But I thought you had an idea - you were talking about getting your library degree just the other day, right? Even if you're not passionate about it, I think that's a great goal to keep in mind, something to think about or even tell people for the future (and I think it'd be a great fit for you anyway, especially if you did something like Simmons' dual degree in library science and children's lit.) You don't have to decide a career path now, no matter what anyone tells you! (I am a freak for having picked a topic at age 9 which I am planning right now to study fo~re~ve~r. Very few people are like this, but I hope you're lucky enough to find something that makes you as happy as my thing makes me, and I think I see a little of that in you when you're geeking out over poetry or blah blah 19th century literature or whatever, haha.)

Department's are generally bitches - but just think of Barnard's weird policies on this as being because Barnard's English department is better than Columbia's. It's true! We all know their English department is bleh while ours is super-shiny!

I think [ profile] laliandra's comment is a great idea - using LJ to research potential study abroad spots! XD Why stress out when you can make friends / test for compatibility at a place before you even go?

Anyway, stop staying up until 9am writing LJ posts. IT IS NOT HEALTHY. You need to sleep at relatively normal hours, for one so that we can see you during the day! What are we going to do with you next year, I wonder...

[identity profile] 2009-04-26 09:10 am (UTC)(link)
Wow, I wrote a lot! Sorry to leave busybody LJ comments while everyone else leaves nice supportive ones as usual! My original draft of this was just "OMG GO TO FURMAN FOR GOD'S SAKE" <-- I still stand by this. They're great to talk to even if it's not a serious mental issue, even if you're just stressed out. Book a session, rant at them, then rant at LJ, then sleep better.

[identity profile] 2009-04-26 09:26 am (UTC)(link)
Also, it's silly to feel seriously bad or guilty about not taking advantage of the city. It's not hurting anyone else if you don't visit museums or whatever, and if you really thought it was hurting yourself, then you'd want to take advantage of the city and you'd be out there doing it. Unless you are doing things that you don't want to do (and don't have to do) instead of the things you do want to do in the city, there's no problem.

Basically, if you want to do something, do it and if you don't want to do something, don't. (But remember to look at the big picture, i.e. if you want to pass, do your homework, haha.)

also taking advantage of the city is easier if you wake up before 5pm, fyi. XD