Taking the leap

17 Jan

It’s funny how a blog, started by a group of Master’s candidates entering into their final semester of grad school, seems to drift off a bit according to the ebb and flow academic calendar, and the inevitable realities that follow its conclusion. Midterms and finals, final papers and campus events, and finally the holidays have left The League somewhat desolate. However, this blog was partially created in an effort for eventual readership by our fellow graduate students so they could get an idea of some of the ups and downs of completing such an intensive program. Here is my two cents thus far.

When your whole life is dominated by school, the sudden dearth of that constant activity is often difficult to replace, especially in a less-than-favorable job market. I feel like the job market for those entering the education field has a lot to offer if you’re open to what it actually HAS to offer. And, like a graduate program, you get out of the job market what you put into it, and that doesn’t just mean filling out applications and writing cover letters. It’s networking – it’s a TON of networking. And you can’t slack off, or you’ll lose the network. Networks in graduate school are very hard work to build, and like many things in life, can be lost in a matter of days. You have to continually prove yourself along the way. You have to make an impact. This process provides far more motivation than undergraduate pursuits I feel, in the sense that you feel personally obligated to make the absolute most of what little time you have to really solidify a network of people to help you, to help in return, and ultimately, to learn from.

That and grad school is expensive as all bloody hell.

So you emerge, reborn into the professional world, born crying in triumph of the start of a new career, or born mourning the loss of comfort in the academic womb. Some of us have already grown up, landed jobs, got our foot in the right door. Some of us are enjoying our neophyte emergence into the post-graduate world, taking it easy (in California we would say “chillin”), harkening back to a time when we had a few free hours to squeeze in a little fiction (I started the revived privilege off with one of my mom’s favorites – and yes it took seeing the film adaptation for me to read it – Life of Pi. Incredible!). Regardless, all of us remain in touch, which shows that we all networked at least within our cohort. Does that count?

We have one thing in common: we are all feasting our eyes on a world drenched in new perspective and dripping with insight we never considered possible. Critically analyzing the world around us day in and day out left our brains craving more out of life, more out of what is right in front of us, more out of what lies ahead. We relish the abundance of information and resources still swimming all around us in this extraordinary and mind-bending city. Some of us are trying to settle in, some of us are trying to fly as far away as possible, but for now we are all here.

Hopefully this blog will be able to successfully track some of our transitions, from these nascent stages of post-academia to whatever comes next. For now, I am continuing my work in New York in finance and grants management with the Development Research Institute, Africa House, and the Center for Technology and Economic Development (based in Abu Dhabi). Managing the expenses of these three research institutes keeps me locked in a comfortable university setting, and allows me to engage in and support the work of William Easterly, one of my initial inspirations for applying to this school in the first place. The work certainly has its rewards, but my wanderlust and personal drive to maximize my potential will soon send me packing, off to take yet another leap into the unknown.

Hopefully I can leap to warmer weather. More to come.

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4 Responses to “Taking the leap”

  1. phillegitimate January 17, 2013 at 9:45 pm #

    I miss the academic womb. It’s my goal to get back there as soon as possible. And to stay there. To be paid to stay there. The professional world is not for me, but best of luck out there. You’re a total pro. You’ll be great.

  2. Devin January 18, 2013 at 11:46 am #

    It’s a great place to be, and I don’t plan to be out of it for too long. Time to get in the field, build the network, hone the focus, and then, perhaps the most difficult task: find a city that I don’t mind living in for the 3-7 years it takes to complete the next step. Yikes.

  3. georgina January 18, 2013 at 4:30 pm #

    You’ll get there Dev, it’s a matter of time! And Felipe, you are are great in academia, I’m sure you won’t have any problem getting into the program of your choice. Let me know where to ship the mezcal next..

    • Devin January 19, 2013 at 12:49 pm #

      I’m not worried 🙂 We have all the time in the world

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