Post-graduate plans are something that I’ve been thinking about rather frequently since the beginning of the new year. To really see where I’m coming from, I guess I should tell you how I got to where I am now…

When I came to MSU, I thought that the music industry was where I belonged. I knew performance was definitely not the path for me, so I took the production route. MSU offers two courses in audio production, both of which I passed with flying colors, but neither of which left me with a strong sense of confidence or inspiration to jump into the business. This was not the fault of the professor. It just turns out that I’d rather just listen to music and appreciate it, than create it on my own and push it into a market that I won’t waste time critiquing at this time.

Last spring, after finishing both audio classes, I spent a lot of time worrying that I was headed down the wrong road. As I finished up my last audio class, I watched my boyfriend, Adam, code away and make websites. I liked his freedom and I liked that he was making something that people could use. With music, people can absorb it – listen to it, dance to it, appreciate it. With the internet, you can interact – with people and with applications. It only became clear to me recently, but interaction has always intrigued me. I guess this comes from my fascination with determinism – I enjoy observing interactions and the effects of those interactions. Human interaction is particularly interesting. In my interactions with people, I’ve always liked to play a mutual role – lots of different groups of friends, never taking sides in a fight. I’ve also always enjoyed entertaining people – throwing parties is one of my specialties, you know. I like a lot of different types of people, I don’t like fighting, and I like to make people happy. Plus, I enjoy interaction. So, how do I make a career of this? Well, I had a whole summer to figure things out. So, I headed to Europe and forgot about the future. I also signed up for a few web-related classes before I left.

As you may have heard, Europe was incredible and completely life-altering. I came back to Michigan eager to do something enjoyable with my life (as well as, return promptly back to Italy). So, I gave into Adam’s praise of Ruby on Rails and spent the rest of my summer working through RoR tutorials and reading Agile Web Development with Rails. When school started back up, I had a Computer-Mediated Communications class as well as an Interactive Media class. From there, I built for my Interactive Media class, and learned a lot about online interaction in the CMC class. It was a good semester.

My Scripting Web 2.0 class this semester is great. My “Is God Dead?” class has allowed me to explore determinism among other things more. And the other classes are, well, okay.

So, I’m enjoying the internet. I really enjoyed making Expressive Connections. I want to learn more, and I want to be really good at it all one day. I’ve only been doing this web thing for eight months, though. So, I feel like I have a ways to go. I also feel like I missed out on a lot during the first three years of college….I could have been taking programming courses and database classes. (It especially irks me that when I was in high school making websites for rock bands (the faces of greenwheel) and templates for Diary-x journals, or Freshman year of college when I made an online portfolio, that I didn’t recognize my interest in the web then. I guess I can excuse myself in high school since the characteristics of today’s “Web 2.0” (like interaction, participation, customization, and collaboration), weren’t quite there yet. I didn’t see the full potential of the web, then. And, I guess I can excuse myself for Freshman year because I built my portfolio site using Adobe GoLive and it was a frustrating experience, to say the least. However, looking at the old source code today gives me a good laugh.)

So now I’m going to graduate and need to figure out what I’m going to do with myself after that. I think I’ve almost come to some sort of clear rational decision, but I’m not there yet. Here are some things I’ve been thinking about:

  1. Grad School – Human-Computer Interaction at U of M
  2. Freelancing…
  3. A real job somewhere…

I like freelancing because I can be my own boss and work on my own hours. I’m hesitant about getting a “real job” mostly because I have only been doing this 8 months. I barely have a relevant resume. And, I feel like there’s a lot more that I should know before going for a “real job.” Finally, there’s grad school. Honestly, this program at U of M sounds perfect. And applying is 90% positively in my near future, however, before I apply – I need to get Michigan residency. No more of these Out-of-State fees, thank you. When I am able to get residency, though, will determine which semester I am able to apply for. If I wait to get a place in Ann Arbor after graduation and then get residency, the soonest I could apply for is Winter admission. So, then I’d need to find something to do on a full-time basis between May and January. Whether that would be freelancing or a job or an internship – I have NO IDEA.

Sigh. But that is where I am now. Trying to make decisions. Excited about the future, unsure of how I’m getting there. I’m good at planning, though. So, hopefully it will all come together soon.

If you read this far, please leave a comment so I can bake you a cake.