From the first year I graduated from school, my father's mantra was: "what are your plans for grad school?" He hounded me constantly, asking the same question. And the answer? No idea.
I did not know what I wanted to do with my life. I knew I hated public relations and what I was doing at the time (just wait for number 13--oh so exciting). But there have always been a million career paths I could see taking: journalism, novel-writing, clinical psychologist, detective, teacher, social worker, lawyer. I considered them all. I applied to three schools, two for journalism and one for teaching. I got into all three. After a long discussion and a pro/con list that looked like a novel, I came up with a plan. Journalism would be my first graduate degree and if I changed my mind later, the path was open.
So it was off to journalism school with me. I loved graduate school. Thanks to parental funding, I was able to go full time and really dig myself into the work. I met so many great people and really enjoyed myself. As a journalist I get to combine my two great loves: digging for information and writing. And as the queen of inappropriate lines of questioning, I fit. Now I even have an excuse. "I can't help it, I am a reporter" gets me out of a lot of awkward situations.
All too soon I was thrust back into the cruel real world. Truth be told, if I were independently wealthy and could do whatever I wanted, I would become a career student, collecting degrees. But alas, that is not my fate. So graduate I did in the spring of 2003 when I was 25.
Of late I have been grateful for my choice because, while journalism is difficult in many respects--low pay, long hours--it is spectacular in terms of the variety of stories I get to cover. I am never bored. But most of all, it is highly conducive to freelancing in a way most careers are not. So somehow I made the right choice. But my 30's may still bring law school. I am not closing any doors yet.