It’s official. I have no life. The month of August has it.
For me, August is normally a time of holidays – a time between projects, dedicated to all those pressing little errands that an otherwise busy schedule simply will not let me accomplish, such as watching DVDs of old Simpsons episodes; reading school reports from the 1990s; and writing sarcastic Amazon reviews for comedic effect. Indeed, I usually slump into a self-induced vegetative state around the second week of August, leaving the house generally only to re-unite with school friends and remind myself what the sun looks like. And, along with 60 million others, I’m certainly grateful that the weather is so bad in the UK, because it means that I have even more time to carry out these important duties, and am not obliged to partake in more traditional seasonal activities such as “sunbathing” and “barbeque”.
Nonetheless, as useful and intellectually-stimulating as this rainy-day August routine is, it does lead my mind to wander to other things; specifically, the future. What does the future hold? Where can I go? What can I do? This mind-wandering is not a new phenomenon – I’ve always considered the future. In the past, however, the topic seldom occupied as much thinking time as it has done this summer. After all, before now, the future always seemed fairly well mapped-out by A levels, followed, of course, by university. But then, came this August. OH DEAR LORD. The August of freedom. I don’t know if I like this freedom. University has ended, and with it, life as we know it. Indeed, it appears to be that point where planning for the future and making ‘sensible decisions’ have become paramount. Bollocks.
The befuddled graduate is somewhat of a cliché, and as such, not a role I relish adopting for myself. But the internet, and its myriad of possibilities, has made me so. Why? Because it has turned a once astute and fairly together graduate of modern languages, into one who is somewhat dazed and bewildered. As some of you know, I have always been fairly attracted to the field of interpreting, (in spite of the ‘mare that was the Stage 7 Spanish oral, of course) and as such, had planned accordingly. The plan was rough, but consistent and attractive. It comprised a couple of years hanging out in various Francophone/Hispanophone countries ‘finding myself’, teaching English and improving my own language skills, in what promised to provide many a ‘social, cultural and political exchange’. (And to think, just a moment ago I was lambasting clichés!) After such worldly experiences, a Master’s in Conference Interpreting was to follow – with the assumption that after a couple of years I would be ready to take on the real world. Alas, the naivety!
I liked that plan. And I still do. It’s a good plan. But August happened. And a lesson has been learnt. Never give a recent graduate with a severe lack of focus and a desire to do everything in the world (i.e. me) an effective, unlimited tool of research (i.e. Google) and a long period of unoccupied time (i.e. August 2012). Because ladies and gentlemen, IT WILL SEND HIM INSANE. Yes, because this excess of free time and a shortage of funds in the Gannon kitty has resulted in much of the past month spent researching the following career-related life possibilities:
1) Getting a job working as an English language teacher in China, Japan or South Korea. All these places have been thoroughly researched, of course, along with numerous specific schools and institutions, as well as agencies and programs that facilitate the process.
2) Completing a CELTA course (English language teaching). I have researched various locations around the world along with prices, in which I may consider undertaking this prestigious TEFL course. Why? Just because, that’s why.
3) Embassy work experience in Latin America. I have investigated thoroughly the possibility of work experience in a Mexican/Colombian embassy/consulate.
4) Civil Service Grad Scheme. After rightly branding this grad scheme with a success rate of approximately 0.7% as ridiculous several months ago, I have since wasted further time considering an application for it.
5) MAs in Interpreting/Translation. Many an hour has been dedicated researching various Master’s courses in the UK, USA, France, Germany, Spain…
6) MAs in other fields. Yep, after swearing I would never do a Master’s unless it was career dependent, I’ve begun to consider a return to studying, dare I say it, ‘for pleasure’.
7) A return to Mexico. If Skyscanner has crashed this past month, you know why. I could probably tell you the exact cost of any Heathrow-Mexico City flight from now until next summer. For anyone interested, June is the cheapest month – controversial!
Anyway, as ought to have become apparent by now, I am a massive loser who is in severe need of a life. Essentially, the void of intellectual stimulation, left by the month of August, has lead to a somewhat sorry state of affairs. As such, whilst gripped by panic due to my impending departure to France (see blog 001), it is also somewhat of a relief to know that waiting across those murky channel waters is a land of possibilities to keep me focused on something other than the above list. Cos Christ, I’ll have to like, speak French and shit, which is more than enough intellectual stimulation for me!