It’s been real, y’all.
I finished my Master’s degree.
It is very surreal.
Allow me a few sentences to reflect. I am 24 years old, the youngest in my graduating class. Like everyone, I’ve been through some rough times, and my work on trauma reflects those hard times. But here I am, not even a quarter of a century old, with two Bachelor’s degrees and, finally, my Master’s in Fine Arts.
Graduate school was the best thing that has ever happened to me. It was so difficult: I cried, I got really angry at times, and I wanted to quit a lot. But at the end of these two years, my degree in the mail somewhere, I feel really great about my decision to go to grad school for Photography.
I wanted a community of people who were as geeked about photography as I was. I longed for heated, passionate discussions about the medium I devoted to my life to, and I craved mentorship from some of the best people in my field. I was not disappointed.
But, what’s next? I have all of these degrees, so what am I going to be up to?
Well, first thing is first: I’m running away to Southeast Asia for the summer! I’ll be visiting the Philippines, Thailand, and Cambodia for the remainder of May, all of June, and half of July. I figured after all of this hard work I deserved to go to the other side of the planet and make tacky tourist photos.
When I get back, I’ll be working at a summer arts camp for youths ages 6-14, and when that gig is done, I’ll be continuing to teach photography at Lillstreet Art Center in Chicago’s north side. It’s only part-time for now, so I need to find another job to supplement my income. I’m thinking of getting a remote writing job, since writing is one of my passions (and part of the reason I loved being the Graduate Ambassador for my program!)
I’m only 24, and there are many things I still want to do. Right now, I know I want to be a Photography professor. However, I know I am young and I still have to “pay my dues” so to speak, so now that I am (finally) done with school, it’s time to get that experience under my belt. I’ll probably continue to teach at art centers and camps, but in the next couple years, I may teach abroad or maybe get a teaching certification to teach high school students. Who knows–my future is filled with possibilities and I am more excited than I am afraid.
Which is a great place to be.