What’s Happening This Year
So I don’t think I ever fully sat down and explained what’s happening this year in my life, and I was sitting here trying to adjust to being a working person instead of a student and I figured I should take the time to write this out.
Let me explain what I just said first about adjusting to being a working person. I am 23, and this is the first time in my life that being a student, going to classes, and cramming knowledge in my head is not the primary purpose of my existence. Although I am still in China to finish my degree, I’m currently teaching English full-time. Which means the primary focus of my life is spending at least six hours a day, six days a week, inside the confines of a small after-school type of school on the fourth floor of a mall. This miniature school is called Sesame Street English, and uses all of the Sesame Street characters many English speakers grew up with to help kids from the ages of 3 to 12 learn English.
I am working for this company:
In the fourth floor of this place:
Although I will be moved to another school in a few weeks.
Fun fact: Sesame Street drastically adjusts its focus to localize in different countries and introduces different muppets in different countries to help children learn things. My roommate tells me the version from Spain has a giant purple hedgehog as a main character.
Back to the point. I am now a working person and not primarily a student. As a student, there is always something else to do. There’s always another project or paper on the horizon, and so spending time doing what you want gets much sweeter because whenever you’re enjoying yourself you’re essentially procrastinating. But now I have a job. I leave that job, and I don’t need to worry about it. Which means that firstly, I’m not really procrastinating on anything. There’s still my dissertation, but I’ll explain that in a bit. And secondly, I’m spending so much time at work, that I’m basically stressing myself out to maximize my enjoyment of my own time because I’ll be right back at work soon enough. So I’m slightly unnerved by the ability to just relax when I’m off work instead of feeling constantly guilty for not doing something productive, and disoriented because I suddenly have a lot less free time to do whatever I want. I am simultaneously more and less stressed. Which is why I am adjusting.
Here is what’s happening with my life. My master’s program is two years. The first year is classes, which I just completed. The second year involves an internship in the first semester, and finishing the dissertation in the second semester. The internship is supposed to be in our home countries teaching Chinese. I talked with the department, and told them that living in the US isn’t financially feasible for me. I would love to be home for a few more months, but I wouldn’t be able to get an internship that would pay enough for me to live and eat. So I convinced them to let me teach English in China. Here, as an English teacher, I can make significantly more than what I need to survive. The second semester, we simply have to be in Xiamen. We’re supposed to be finishing our 10,000 character dissertations that we had approved in the spring, but I honestly don’t see that taking so much of my time that I can’t also keep working. I’ve already set up a schedule month to month of what tasks I should be completing to finish it, so as long as I stay on track I’ll be fine.
So I have one more year here of completing my degree requirements and earning a bit of money before I come back home. But before I do that, I need to figure out what the next step is, because I’m coming to realize graduating from college basically means you’re never really sure where your life is taking you one year to the next.