I never had an answer to this question as a child, and I still don’t have a definite answer now.
It’s come to that point in my life where, for the first time ever, I don’t know what I’ll be doing next year. Year by year, my life has followed a pattern, one that I’ve grown accustomed to. So far, it’s been a natural progression; school to sixth-form to university. I always knew I’d be going to university. There was never any alternative.
Now that I’m in my final year as an undergraduate, I need to figure out what exactly it is I’d like to do next year, and quite frankly, it’s difficult. I’ve been looking into various master’s programmes across the country, and with deadline dates looming, I need to start applying. Film Studies is the path I’d like to follow. Some consider it a ‘Mickey Mouse’ subject, but I find it fascinating, and at master’s level it’s academic too, I promise (people underestimate the academic value of film, but more on that another day). I’d be quite happy studying forever, but I know one day I’ll have to face the reality of becoming a proper adult with a full time job, responsibilities and start complaining about paying tax. When you start university you think this is ages away, but all of a sudden you’re 22 and can’t handle Thursday hangovers quite as well as you once could.
To get an idea of what I want to do next year I have to ask myself many questions, the main being ‘Where do I want to live?’ Do I want to stay in Leicester? Do I want to go back home? Do I want to become a poor, young professional in London? Truth is, I don’t actually know. As I said, I knew I’d always be going to university, and the choice to study French was natural, so I only had to make a decision on where I’d be going. Leicester was the first university I visited and I fell in love with it. Job done. Of course I visited other universities afterwards, but that only solidified my initial feelings.
Another question I have to ask is ‘What do I like doing?’. Well, I like writing. And studying film. Ideally I’d be a film critic working for the Guardian, or a film magazine. That’s the dream; to be paid to do what I love. While this dream may be unlikely, I don’t doubt my ability to get there, it’s just knowing where to start, how to get my foot in the door. Having spent my entire life in the education system, the only profession I know anything about is teaching, so I know nothing about getting onto other career paths. I’m looking forward to attending a talk on Monday by Kieron Corless, Deputy Editor of Sight & Sound, on getting into film journalism. Hopefully this will give me more information about the field and its competitive nature. It’s a start to what will be the long process of planning my future.
Fellow final years, what are you guys doing to prepare for next year? Are you, like me, inclined to stay in education, or do you have other plans? I’d love to hear from you!