Things I wish I knew before I did my Masters of Creative Writing AKA you should have spent your money on shoes

Hey Past Paris, how’s it going? So adorable that you just turned 21 and that you’re finishing up your Bachelor of Arts degree. It’s a miracle you passed every subject (hey…a 51 is still a pass OKAY) and that they’re ACTUALLY going to let you graduate when you were supposed to. All those last minute assignments you handed in (some that you began the DAY they were due and were mostly just made up sentences that you hoped made sense because lets be hungover…you drank 7/7 days of the week) were totally worth it, and now, because that 3 years went by in a flash, you’re thinking you’ll do a Masters Degree because you aren’t quite ready to join the real world? That’s sweet, and a great idea considering Australia has this Higher Education thing where you don’t have to start paying back your student loans until you make over a certain amount of money (don’t worry – you’ll flee the country before that happens/at this rate – you’ll never make more than that minimum amount anyhow!).

Except a Masters today does not hold the currency it used to, dear old past me. They’re handing those out like free condoms at the walk-in clinic, and by the time you’re twenty two, you’ll have yours, and everyone will assume you’re a genius in North America (because they make them do like four year degrees or some shit) but we all know you’re just a chicken who applied for the program the day it was closing, and who nearly didn’t make it because you forgot your passport, so you had to use your feminie wiles (and your tears) to convince the dickhead at student services to process your application.

And that Masters in Creative Writing (dear god why didn’t you do something like marketing or business-y so you could actually find a real job?!) is going to be a great talking point… but here are some home truths:

More Valuable than your Masters, is the Interning you do:
The Master’s contact hours I had were a joke. 7pm-9pm Monday-Thursday. Sure there was a lot of writing involved – but I did that ANYWAY because I love writing. SO to fill my time (and feed myself) I got a job doing shitty admin (this is what  has led to more jobs in the future, so thank you universe!) and got stuck into interning for free at a Television Production Company 3 days a week.

This is where I discovered my true passion and the career path I had vaguely known I wanted all along. Turns out  I am a WHIZ at juggling people on set, in a production office, PR people, people I need to get things from (like permission to film for free on a set) 20 year old reality “stars”, major networks and crew. Turns out I thrived on the drama, and learn’t more in 8 months interning (and then being hired and paid!) than I did from sitting in a classroom analyzing the screenplay for Scar face.

Get used to Temping/Retail while you look for that foot in the door:

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Truth be told, had I stayed in Australia, I would have worked on a bunch more shows by now. The production company I interned at loved me (the feeling was mutual!) and they would have found me another position (in research or production). But I knew I’d get stuck in the Australian industry. And hot off the press from a breakup and the completion of four years in one place (I get claustrophobic when I stay still too long) I decided it was now or never to try somewhere new. And so I found myself in a new market, starting from the bottom all over again, networking and having to re-make contacts. SO retail and Temping is what pays the bills and allows me to keep trying to be as fabulous as I can be. It isn’t glamorous but I am damn thankful for it, and it is pretty crazy who you may meet when you’re in a new office/talking to customers. If you are genuine and people are interested in you – they will do what they can – you’ll be surprised to discover who wants to help you/the connections they have if they know what you are trying to do.

You need to learn how to use multiple coffee machines/how to effectively stack a dishwasher:

A run-on from the Temping thing. Mostly what I’m asked to do in a day could occupy two hours out of eight. Answering phones, creating a few fedex orders and crafting a couple emails. Mainly you’ll be unstacking/stacking the dishwasher and making yourself fancier and fancier coffees (mainly due to boredom and or your secret mad scientist sensibilities and not due to your love of coffee).
Maybe you should have gone to Barista school and not got a Masters. Just saying. You’d probably be making more money by now.

Mostly what you’ll write is your blog:
Without those deadlines and people breathing down your neck, it’s going to take a lot of will power to finish projects. Sure you’ll go through writing frenzies, but to actually complete something… yeah not so much. But adorable that you thought you’d be a novelist by now. Uhhhh-dorable. *sobs*

People who did boring degree’s will have way more money than you and/or actual grownup lives:

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That girl in the year below you at college who was studying chemical engineering that you stalk on Twitter and Facebook? Yeah. She just bought an apartment, is engaged, has a pet bulldog and makes 5x more than you did last year (yeah but her tax rebate was probably nothing so HA!). If you wanted to be rich you should have listened to your parents and done a degree with the name of a job in it (hey… Writer is a job…).

The good news is, you’re chasing your dreams and will probably not hate your job (when you get one) and will not just be living for the weekend.
The bad news is, while you’re chasing those dreams you’re going to be eating baked beans on toast at least 3 nights a week.
Yay for Creatives. *Hugs self tightly and rocks*

People are impressed you did a Masters of Creative Writing, because they always figured themselves a Writer… but it’s not going to get you hired…yet:
The number of times interviewers have been impressed that my Masters is in Creative Writing… well it’s a lot. The number of times they’ve been so impressed by the fact that I hold that degree and thought “we need to hire this ridiculously awesome girl!!” is not many. Scratch that. Maybe it’s none. (Pretty sure the interning thing is what has gotten me hired in the past)

There is a difference between people being impressed/jealous of the degree you got, and the way they figure that that degree equals revenue in their business/justifies your salary.

I’m sorry, I thought this advertisement was for an amazingly hilarious Australian girl who grew up in Hong Kong, can stack ALL of the dishes in one tray. is really good at Facebook and can make you an exquisite blend of hazelnut latte and hot chocolate. No? hmmm. That is strange. Anyway while i’m here i’ll just drop off my Resume…

You will probably think a lot about doing a more relevant degree/PHD:

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There is no way in hell I can afford international student fee’s here in Canada, so if i plan on getting further education – it’s back to Australia I go. And while that wouldn’t be so bad, I’m not sure I could handle being a full time student again. I may not be rich now, but i’m hella richer than I was as a student AND my parents were still helping me out at the time.
But I have thought about it. Two guys I’ve dated in the past got their MBA’s and people are doing the PhD thing now. I feel like, if I hadn’t done my Masters right after my BA, I would have appreciated it more (although moving off campus made my results sky-rocket and put me at the top of the class!)
But knowing me, i’d probably just want to study something fun and creative again, like, get a Masters in Stand up Comedy, or a PhD in Blogging.

 

I don’t live my life with regrets, and not for a second would I change my Masters degree, because I loved it, met some awesomely inspiring people – and got to do what I love.
I think i’d just make sure I had less lofty aspirations. Cos… like… I’ll be 25 in a month and I haven’t won an Academy award yet…

But there’s still 30 days!

OK GO.

24 things they don’t warn you about before you turn 24

24. You can’t handle your alcohol like you used to:
When I lived at College for 3 years, my liver was a hardened criminal, used to taking no shit from no bitches, and handling, on average, 7-8 drinks a night 6-7 times a week (sometimes we didn’t drink on Sundays…sometimes). Now my liver is a Pussy, and it has made the rest of my body soft and weak. Stupid age.

23. Some things that were cute when you were 18, are not cute now you are a hop skip and a jump away from being thirty:
Like losing all your stuff on a night out (oh darn, you lost your phone again? WOOPSIES! You fucking moron) or getting caught in the rain with no umbrella (YOU CHECKED THE WEATHER ON YOUR COMPUTER BEFORE YOU LEFT!) We’re too smart now to do dumb things like this. Or, we’re just too dumb and evolution needs to sort that out.

22. People are going to start settling down, and shit:
Check my blog from Monday where I detailed the stuff I don’t know about weddings. But weddings aside, people are getting engaged, their moving in with each other, they’re not going out as much any more because they’re saving for things. WTF mate.

21. Your health is more important:
But I WANNA eat that cheesecake at lunch and still get frozen yogurt after my dinner of pizza and mozzarella sticks. WHAT THE HELL IS A CLOGGED ARTERY AND WHY SHOULD I CARE ABOUT IT?! You’re also going to get fat as fuck with your metabolism peaking out on you.

20. People are going to ask you what you do…all the time:
When I was 18, people assumed I was at University. I didn’t know people that weren’t. I might have asked them what they were studying if I was trying to be polite or trying to make out with them, but I didn’t really care (it was just the pre-hitting on them move). Now people ask me all the time what I do. What shall I tell them? “I WAS working in retail (which I hated) and then I found out my visa had an error on it so now I’m just interning and mindlessly cruising the internet. Is this the part where I ask you and you can tell me even though I don’t really care?”

19. At first paying your own bills and doing your own laundry was exciting and fun. Now it isn’t.

18. There are people younger than you, more successful and more famous than you. And you should feel bad.

17. You won’t live forever:
This shocked me. I went to my first funeral this year and where I used to think 50 was sooooooo old, now I can’t help thinking my friends mum died SOOOOOO YOUNG. I’ll be fifty in 26 years. That’s not enough time to do all the things I need to do! Maybe i’m not invincible…

16. Every year – things seem to speed up and go a little faster:
I can’t believe I just had another birthday. Didn’t I just have one last month? See number 17.

15. All that talent you displayed in High School – when people told you how unique and creative you were…
Well there’s lots more competition now.

14. Your parents protected you from a lot of the crazy out there.
It’s going to rattle tins at you on the corners, it’s going to knock on your door and try to tell you about jesus. Someway, some how, each year the crazy is going to try and seep into your life and you are going to become more and more aware of a) how scary it is and b) how not difficult it would be to join those ranks.

13. Cliques and Bitchyness didn’t end in High School:
Best to have a “Fuck it” attitude and just be you. Cos Heyoooh, if you don’t like you, no one else is going to buy into your crap.

12. You should have done a degree with the title of a job in it:
Like Accounting or Law. Your wishy washy arts/liberal/science degree ain’t gonna get you no where easily. Having read all of Jane Austen’s novels is not something you can put on your resume.

11. You’re getting too old to accept some of these new music types:
Skrillex.

10. There are lots of lame things you need to do to survive:
Like taxes, keeping your eye on your bank account and getting health check ups.

9. People are going to judge you on what wine’s you drink:
“I drink to get drunk” is no longer an acceptable or funny answer.

8. Some of the best paying jobs sound boring as shiiiiiit:
Account manager for a paper company. Sales and Marketing Division leader at Do You Hate Your Life Yet LTD.

7. Your tastebuds are changing and things you used to hate you might start to like and things you used to love might make you go “Meh.”

6. You can’t believe everything you see on TV:
BUT BUT! Everything always has a happy ending!

5. You are going to lose touch with some of your best friends:
As everyone’s lives adapt at a different pace and people move all over the world. But don’t worry because there are always amazing new people to meet, and you never know what they are going to bring to your life.

4. You are going to make mistakes, and you are going to be okay:
I used to think I had to have all the answers all the time, but now in my period of waiting and watching and applying and sighing, I realize that I’m allowed to fall down and make mistakes and take this moment of question-mark-ness. Now I realize that if I fall, I just have to get back up, and if I fall again, I’m just going to have to get back up again. That’s the journey.

3. You only have to answer to you – when it comes to life decisions:
I used to think I had to keep up with the crowd, do cool things, impress my parents, reach a certain status. Now I’m starting to learn that I couldn’t be something I’m not, that that is where my life path is. See #17. When I die, I’, hoping that in the split second before I expire, when my life is all laid out in front of me like a patch work quilt, I tried my best as a person to be good and love those around me, but also that I tried my best to listen to my heart and do what was in it.

2. If you want something, you have to ask for it.
No body is just going to hand you your dreams and ambitions. It’s a hard, slippery, scary path, but you have to walk it because nobody else is going to walk it for you. Remember in school when if you wanted to join a sports team or do the play, your parents had to sign something, or they could call the teachers and complain if you didn’t get in? Now it’s you that has to make the fuss, ask for things, fight for yourself.

1. You are going to have SO much fun!

And those are my 24 things. Some are rude, harsh, cynical. Some are sappy and some were just me scrabbling. But there they are laid out for you.

Enjoy.