Starting to think beyond Oberlin
Most of my fellow seniors seem to be completely preoccupied with finding a post-Oberlin job right now. Luckily, I have a bit more time. Nevertheless, today seemed as good a day as any to start focussing a little bit more on what I might do after I graduate, so I visited Career Services to get some quick advice on my résumé and on finding the right graduate program.
The idea that I might continue on to grad school is sort of new to me. It’s been a while since I really considered continuing with composition after graduating, so a M.M. in composition hasn’t been on my list, and for some time my dominant idea was to teach something or other to high schoolers (Spanish, maybe?), in which case a Master’s degree would have been an eventual, not immediate, objective. But at some point during the past year, it occurred to me that I might really enjoy working as a librarian, which means I would have to earn a Master’s in Library and Information Science (MLIS), i.e., go to grad school.
Luckily, it seems there are ample resources to help me in my search. I had already discovered the American Library Association’s list of accredited programs, which is my starting point for the search. Over in the Career Services office, my counselor Sara suggested various ways I might narrow down my options, from contacting recent alumni who pursued MLIS programs to perusing the various electronic reference materials that the office provides.
Frankly, it feels like I’m a junior in high school all over again. That staple of undergraduate college searches, U.S. News and World Report, also ranks graduate schools. During my appointment today I found myself writing down questions to ask myself as I continue in this process; they were strikingly similar to the criteria I used to narrow down my college search five years ago: In what geographic locations could I see myself? What is the faculty like? What opportunities are available for internships and practicums? Can I afford the tuition?
I’m still a year away from any grad school applications that I may end up filling out, so I have the luxury of taking this search at my own pace for now. That means I also have time to change my mind, to decide that I actually want to head down a different road once I leave Oberlin.
In the meantime, I need to remember not to get distracted by all of this. Let’s not forget that, for the next sixteen months, I am still a student—composing, studying, taking classes—of Oberlin College.