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Working Winter Break

by Tamara Keith, Public Affairs
posted December 02, 1998

TamaraHave you ever been so busy working on your future that you didn't have a chance to figure out what it would be? Well, that's where I am now. I have two demanding internships, a part-time job at the university, and the myriad responsibilities of a full-time student. On that kind of schedule, an extra 30 minutes of sleep is such a priceless luxury that worrying about issues more than a few weeks into the future is impossible.

Although this is only my third year at Cal, it is also my senior year (I started here with 30 units of junior college credit). All semester long I have put off dealing with my post-graduation future, telling myself I would work it out during winter break. Whenever anyone asked me what my plans were, I would roll my eyes and say I was keeping my options open. This state of limitless opportunities is starting to worry me.

With final exams less than two weeks away, I have mixed emotions: fear of the three monster tests that I haven't started studying for yet, and excitement because those exams mean winter break is only days away. Most of my friends are looking forward to a month of daytime television and home cooking, but my plans are a bit different. For me, winter break will hardly be a vacation. But when it's done, I plan to have a lot of weight lifted off my shoulders. Like my classmates, I won't mind eating a few mom-made meals, but in between I plan to figure out what I'm doing after graduation.

What do I plan to do when I grow up? Well, I have pie-in-the-sky career dreams, grounded professional goals, and conservative backup plans that I'd only be willing to live with if everything else failed. All these visions are related to journalism and writing. Even my absolute bottom-of-the-barrel safety net plan has me teaching junior high school English and advising the school yearbook or newspaper. So, it looks like I know generally what I want, but not where to start or how many avenues I should try.

When my last final ends Dec. 6, I plan to get to work on my future. I have a nice sized to-do list already compiled and I'm sure it will only grow as I go. I need to re-take the GRE (because my scores on my first attempt were less than stellar), apply to graduate school (because two more years of academia seems like the easiest concrete decision I can make), update my resume, send letters to everyone who might know of a good job for me, put together an audition tape and send it out to every micro-market TV station I can find, send a clip packet to small newspapers around the state and make sure I have taken enough English classes to teach in California.

Who ever said vacations were designed for relaxing?


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