An applied mathematics major explores her post-graduation options


I am roughly a year away from graduation and I’m already starting to feel the pressure of the “What are you going to do after college?” question. For the past few months, I have been giving a different answer to everybody.  It’s not that I don’t know what to do.  Answering that question is hard for me because I like to do too many things – so much that it tends to get confusing.

More recently, being the planner that I am, I’ve narrowed it down to a few choices:

1. Go to law school

2. Go to grad school …and get one step closer to attaining my Ph.D. in math

3. Go to grad school …for a completely different subject

4. Finish the book that I am writing …and be a writer (a.k.a starving artist)

If it were up to me, I would choose all of the above, add in a couple more, and be very content. But life calls for choices and a choice is what I will eventually make.

A few weeks ago, I went to the Career Fair at school, which pressed me to start really thinking about what I wanted to do after graduation.  Finding a job is out of the question …because as far-fetched as this might seem, I don’t feel ready to go out there in the working world.  I feel like I need a little bit more experience and maybe a little bit more knowledge.

Graduate school was one of the most natural options. Going to school is what I have been doing almost all my life and it is only natural that this is the first thing that comes to my mind.  Now the question was what to further my education into?  By now, I established I was interested in three things: literature, math and law.

The dilemma that I am going through is that I have no idea whether I have the courage to sit through four more years of the “terror” that is law school.  It will be a long and tedious road, but worth it in the end. However, through everything I’ve been reading lately, finding jobs as a lawyer might be a little difficult, but hey, where there is a will, there is a way.

My second option is to further my learning in applied mathematics.   I already know that if I am to make this choice, I will stay at Florida Tech for grad school.  Our applied mathematics program is geared up with excellent courses and fantastic professors. If I choose to pursue this road, I will more likely be inclined to dive into research and teach mathematics at a college level.

My third option is to get a master’s degree in something other than applied mathematics. This option has advantages as well as disadvantages.  While I will most certainly have a lot of fun learning literature, for example, I have absolutely no idea what career path this might lead me to. While I am sure that I will definitely find teaching jobs associated with literature, this is not necessarily what I want to do. This option is more a personal project than something that will contribute to what I want to do as a career.

My fourth option is probably my dream option. Every time people ask me what I want to do, the FIRST (and possibly only thing that comes to my mind) is to become a writer. But heck, how can an applied mathematics major even consider the possibility of being a writer? I cannot count how many odd looks have been sent my way when I say that I eventually want to write novels.  It’s probably what I am the most passionate about. I am currently working on finishing a book, and will eventually see where that leads me.

I suppose that I have a lot on my plate and definitely a lot more research to do about the fields I want to go into. I will definitely check out Career Management Services, because I know they provide a lot of help and resources for students who are getting ready to enter the job market.

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