Calling courageous post-collegiates! Our interview series has been so popular, it’s going to be a regular blog feature! Want to nominate a courageous post-collegiate to be featured (including yourself)? Email postcollegiateblog [at] gmail [dotcom]
Sometimes, in life, you find yourself in a job that was once rewarding and exciting but has, sadly, turned into your personal version of purgatory. This happened to me, as devoted readers know, but luckily for me, I had someone to share my pain. I met Kate Golcheski when we worked together and although she has chosen to go back to graduate school and pursue a career in education, I’m still eternally grateful for the temporary relief she brought to an otherwise painful work environment. Kate was kind enough to share her thoughts on graduate school, thankless jobs, and teaching with us.
Tell the blogosphere a little about yourself.
I grew up in Lynchburg, VA. I went to Washington, DC for college where I earned a degree in English and a hearty pat on the back from the Classics department.
When you initially graduated from your prestigious private college, what was the plan?
I had planned for a while to move back to Lynchburg to save some money and decide what I wanted to do with my life. My last day in DC, I woke up, took an exam, packed up my apartment, drove back to Lynchburg, and had a 4:30 job interview. At that point, I figured that I’d be in Lynchburg for at least one calendar year–working, building my resume, deciding what I would want to go to graduate school for and where. That job interview landed me a position at a non-profit museum where I stayed for one and half years, so I’d say I was pretty on the mark with my planning.
It’s pretty fortunate to have a plan and be able to stick to it. Can you share anything that you’ve done in the last three years that wasn’t part of the plan?
I didn’t think I’d be making excel worksheets every day or writing budgets. But I did. Is this the most exciting response you’ve had to this question yet? [Ed. note: Probably the most honest.]
What are a few things that you’ve wanted to do but haven’t had a chance to yet?
I hate this question. I’d like to do a lot of things before I freaking die. I’d like to have a job that I like and get excited about. I’d like to travel more. I’d like more lobster dinners. I don’t know.
Dude, I’m right there with you. You took a break before graduate school? What made you decide to wait? Any challenges to being back in school after working?
When I finished college, I was pretty much sick of academia. I had thought throughout school that I’d want to go back and get my Masters and PhD in English, but by the time I finished my thesis I had pretty much decided that academia was vapid, inconsequential, and trite. I couldn’t imagine spending another decade in school studying things like the use of perfume as a gender performer in Renaissance literature. I had thought about getting an MFA but I didn’t have a portfolio (still don’t), so that put the kibosh on that. I had thought about teaching as a possibility, but I had never really considered it seriously. Pretty much, I decided I needed some time to work and learn a little bit more about myself before going even more in debt.
Going back to school has been very easy for me. I find that my colleagues who worked for a year or two before coming back to school are far more equipped to handle the workload and stress of graduate school. Also, because we’re in a professional program, I think that working helped me better understand the workplace expectations that my younger colleagues have never experienced. So far the hardest part of returning to school is not having a regular pay check.
Most of the other profilees point to random happenstance as a major factor in their post-collegiate path. Does that hold true for you?
I don’t know about random happenstance. I know that through working at the museum I got the chance to sit in on several meetings with teachers and administrators and I thought they were the most fun people I was encountering. All of the teachers I met through my time at the museum were creative, passionate, and funny. That’s what I’d like to be like, so why not join them?
Agreed! I’m a big fan of teachers, especially after my time at the museum. Plus I live with a soon-to-be-one, so yay teachers! Finally, if you could go back to Kate on graduation day, what advice would you give her?
Don’t be afraid to be proactive and advocate for yourself. Spend some money on yourself. Getting a dog is always a good choice. Go out on work nights, you’re still under the automatic hangover threshold. Take your days off in weeks, not in spare days every once and a while. Teaching is a good option, look into that.
Many thanks to Kate for sharing her experiences with us! You can find Kate in all the usual interweb locations – follow her on Twitter and check out her blog, especially if you’re a fan of Friday Night Lights. As always, feel free to leave additional questions in the comments section!