BA Pizza

‘What’s the difference between a BA and a pizza?’
‘A pizza can feed a family of 4.’

There are several jokes like this. And I’m bringing them up because I had a pretty crap Monday and most of it centres around my future.

To start off I basically had to face an inquisition when I approached the Financial Aid / Bursaries office to draw 2 scholarships out of student account and put the money in my bank account. I have to ask permission of the office to do this. Now the big issue is that I received these 2 new scholarships halfway through this year, presumably as a result of my first semester marks. I already had 2 scholarships before this.

Now Mr Bursar loads up my details on his PC and hums and ha’s, ‘I’m concerned that we’re giving you so much money’ and ‘Are your marks really that good?’ It sickens me that I have to justify why I should receive the money (which will go towards paying off a hefty chunk of my car to my parents) when I have worked my ass off to deserve it. Scholarships are based entirely on merit. And for the record, with my father unemployed now for years, I do qualify technically as coming from a single income household.

The main scholarships guy wasn’t in when I was told to go see him. I sent him an email instead and apparently he has responded, saying there shouldn’t be any problems. But is just makes me so angry that I have to go through this major process and Spanish Inquisition every time I try to get my hands on MY money. Why should I be made to feel guilty about having a bit of money in my pocket after paying for the year’s fees? God knows I’ll need a cushion for the ‘rewarding job’ hunt in the near future.

Anyway, after this painful process I was sitting talking to other post-grad English students in the Reading Room. Emily, who has just completed her Masters, is looking for a job. I spoke of my plans to fiddle around with part-time work and getting my CV out there before rushing into another ungratifying position. She frowned and wished me good luck. Turns out that was her plan and she’s been tweaking with her Masters for the past 6 months because she has nothing else to do.

Granted, I am in something of a different situation to her. I at least do have the benefit of a year’s work experience. I have practical computer skills. I have a specialised BA degree in English and Media (the practical side of English) completed summa cum laude. I have a year’s Digital Graphic Design diploma before that. Most importantly, I have no illusions about Art for Art’s sake. I’m a hack selling a product- my words- for money.

Still, though, it leaves me feeling down. You always think that when you choose a career path, however hard it is supposed to be, that it’ll be different for you. All the hard work you invested in coming out tops, as well as natural ability will make you stand out.

Then you scout around for jobs and the few you do find are for unliveable salaries like R3000-R5000. If you are living at home, if you are with a partner or room-mate, fine. But there is no way anyone on his or her own can live on that; can ever afford a home; or set themself up for a worry-free retirement. You just expect people to recognise the effort and sacrifices you’ve made (I worked at university; not socialised), and be impressed. Instead you’re automatically devalued and dismissed. I had maybe 5 comments about my work the whole of last year. That’s how much people care about words, your use of them and your chosen vocation.

Later on, in the evening I was chatting to Gareth on YIM and his comment was along the lines of ‘Well, you chose the hard path. Learn to deal with it’. The thing is I chose it because it’s something I’m naturally talented at. Why must I reject something as a career that I enjoy, and am a helluva lot better at than most people? (Excuse the arrogance). Why must I go into the more ‘important’ fields of science or business?

It pisses me off royally that I am expected to struggle away while frikkin illiterate BCom students (my favourite target for disdain) drive their company cars, and earn enough (on their own) for a bond on that 2 story townhouse. And it doesn’t really help when your bachelor IT friends at your age are pulling in healthy amounts of money each month to save or spend on luxuries like ISDN connections.

Meanwhile, I seem to be in the situation where whenever opportunities come along for me prove myself, there is some innate flaw. It’s like I’m holding a plate of ice in the summer sun. Things just disintegrate. I’m far luckier when I just SMS in for some arbitrary competition. At the moment, I have something interesting lined up which would be good for my writing career, but I’m not being paid. I don’t know how seriously I can take it, and myself, until that situation changes.

I go through these stages of depression, and clearly I was in one hell of a funk yesterday. I’m a bit more balanced today, and writing this has helped. But overall, this type of brooding makes me frustrated and angry to the point where my throat tightens and I feel like I’m about to cry. I know it’s useless getting like this. The brooding is simply paralysing when it comes to doing anything constructive about shaping your future in a more positive way. It’s just so difficult not to be sunk by it.

And I don’t like walking around with this chip on my shoulder. It’s toxic and it’s poisoning me.


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Gareth said…
"The thing is I chose it because it’s something I’m naturally talented at."

*heavy sarcasm*
No shit! Really? Well, that makes all the difference then! I completely reverse my opinion!
*heavy sarcasm*

Do you think the world owes you a living? Simply because you enjoy and are good at something, and have the piece of paper to prove it, you should be handed, on a platter, a successful and rewarding career in it? You shouldn't have to stuggle like everyone else? You're just better than that?

Never said you should change careers Nelly. don't put words in my mouth >:( , only that you've chosen one thats tough to get into, that has a reputation for being tough to get into, and now you're surprised that its tough!?! Gee!

Get over it. >:/

Science and business aren't more important, there is just far more demand for them. That's what's called REALITY. Art is a luxury in society, and careers in it are far rarer. Either grit your teeth and accept that you might struggle for a while to make it, or change careers.

Or simply sit there, whining and resentful, whatever >:/ You'll find that a sense of entitlement just pisses most people off. And achieves nothing.

You blow off all the "R5000 jobs" as below you. Nice fuggin' slap in the face for everyone struggling to work their way up. And it is working your way up.I've got a nice job now, but only after two (much) shitier jobs, both in that salary range. You expect to set yourself up for retirement on your initial salary/ies!?!? What planet do you come from?

You've got this golden opportunity from Walt, the editor of PCF, a chance to get your work exposed to successful industry veterans (in gaming for frigs sake!) and you say "I don't know if I can take it seriously"! WTF?

Nelly, time to catch a fuggin' wake up. You're an English student. Do you know any expressions about gift horses and their mouthes?
Unknown said…
Seems like we're all having a shitty week.

Noelle, I hate to say it, but I agree with Gareth. You can't expect this to be easy. Getting your career and future set isn't ever easy and in my experiences it doesn't get any easier, only more difficult and far more complicated.

Walt has given you a great opportunity to see your name in print and to help put together a portfolio of sorts, or at the very least, add to it... this should be a no-brainer. Jump in with both feet!

Keep at it girl. I've still got a bottle of wine and a spare bed if you feel like you're about to murder someone. You're welcome to come over anytime.
Gareth said…
You hate to say you agree with Gareth eh Ash?


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