Last night a representative from MIIS (my hopefully future grad school) was in town so I was invited to come out and meet him (I’m on a mailing list for potential students now I guess). Most of my questions had been answered during my visit, but I figured why not go. It ended up being me, the representative, a MIIS alumnus who graduated in 2009, and a lady whose title I never caught but I believe she was affiliated with the MIIS administration somehow. It gave me a lot to think about, mostly because I was able to ask a more in-depth question of what I could expect my starting salary to be post-grad. I mentioned earlier that I was surprised to learn it could be $35k, which seems low to me, and surely that had to be a mistake. Well… unfortunately, not so much. It could indeed be as low as that, but–as both the representative and the alumnus hastened to reassure me–I could expect to see my salary rise dramatically very quickly, even if things did start out that low. But they were honest that the few years post-grad could be a little rough, even though things would probably improve considerably after that point. Certainly they seemed tough for the alumnus, who was not yet working in his field exactly, even though he seemed on the verge of breaking in, but then he also didn’t do TI, he did international business with a concentration in German. So it’s hard to say what a Japanese translation graduate’s prospects would be, and if I could really expect $35k even with that. I guess I should ask the school to put me in touch with Japanese-language TI alumni. I still really want to attend MIIS but I also want to make the extra loans I’ll have to take out to go to grad school worth it–even though of course I’ll try for absolutely as many scholarships as I possibly can–by giving my career a more lucrative boost. I mean, in any case, I know I can’t stick with my current career forever and be happy. I have to do something, and I really want to work with Japanese and this seems like the best way to get into that field. But I also want this to be a smart decision, not just a passionate one, that will pay off concretely. Ahh. In any case, I’m glad I went. MIIS also picked up the tab of my cocktail!
I also mentioned before that I think getting a non-constructive graduate degree just because you don’t have anything better to do, with no plans for how it will benefit you career-wise, is silly, and I hate that so many of my peers are doing it. Well, what the alumnus and the representative said gave me some things to think about on that topic: namely, that while a graduate degree might not pay off in the short-term, in the years right after graduation, it will pay off in the long run. At some point, with only a bachelor’s, you’ll hit a wall in your career where you can’t advance any further, whereas with a master’s more doors and options will be open to you. So you have to view it like a long-term investment in your future. That’s what they believe, anyway, and I certainly wish that were true. Hmm.
I also spent the evening reading about the intensive Japanese program I want to do… and that was more reassuring. I learned a lot that made me more optimistic about my goals and plans. I also learned that it’s very likely that while I was told I needed to be able to pass N2 before entering the program, the average for most students in the past has been about N3. Which is really what I thought when I read some other things a couple months back. Which means I don’t need to be busting my ass to study as hard as I have been, since it looks like I’m already right where I need to be–but I’m still going to anyway, because I want to give myself an advantage any way I can, and I’m still worried about my aptitude regardless (have I mentioned how slow I am at reading and how hard grammar is for me? Yeah). So until the end of the month I still have 0 free time. March will be really big for me… and at least if everything falls apart and I’m having to deal with nothing but disappointments by the end of it, the new chapter of Sekaiichi Hatsukoi will console me (ahhh, so excited).