Grad School Confidential is a new series featuring students who have made the transition from undergraduate to graduate school. Morgan Aprill, who studied literature as an undergrad, is now a graduate student in the Intensive English Institute here at Ball State University.
When I first graduated in May of this year, I didn’t think I’d be coming back to school right away. I applied to jobs that seemed related to communications or editing or teaching. I had some interviews and even got close to a job offer. But over the summer I thought I’d ask the Ball State faculty about good programs to look into in the future for linguistics and teaching English to speakers of other languages. Little did I know I’d be running off later the same day I chatted with Dr. Seig to figure out how to take the GRE.
Fast forward and here I am back at Ball State pursuing a double masters in those very two programs I was interested in. Some might say I’m putting off the real world. I say I’m pursuing what I actually want to do with my life. Though writing tweets for businesses or government offices pays the bills, I couldn’t see myself wanting to do that for the rest of my life. I knew I wanted to try this teaching idea I’ve had for a while now.
It’s only been a few weeks but so far I feel like I made the right decision. I am working as a graduate assistant at the Intensive English Institute here on campus. This department is a special one. Through it come international students working to improve their English skills in order to take classes in their chosen field here at Ball State. It’s a perfect place for someone who is thinking about teaching English to speakers of other languages to get practice. Last week I started my first class observation of a writing class in the institute. It made me even more excited to start teaching my own classes. Language is my passion, and I want to help others learn to use it and understand how powerful and interesting of a tool it is that we have as humans. I’m not teaching classes yet, but I might next semester. I’m so glad that I get to take this opportunity and that I will maybe, someday, be teaching English abroad.
If you’re an undergrad, I would say that you should take every opportunity you have to pursue real work in your field. Talk to professors about your future research interests and take part in things you think you might feel like doing in the future. This is how I decided to apply for a job at the Writing Center. Tutoring there made me realize more how much I loved to help others find their written voice. I fell more in love with language, and more opportunities to explore that came to me with time. Don’t worry if you don’t know what you’re doing with your major. If you are doing what you are interested in, pursue all your avenues to explore. You could end up being a graduate assistant in a dual masters program someday.