And Then?

When I talk to people about college, I’m usually asked two questions. The first leads to the second:

Now that you’re doing a Masters in Multimedia, are you giving up on being a teacher?


Do you think you’ll ever go back to teaching?

The second variant is perhaps the most problematic to answer, because it implies I ever really started teaching properly. The options open to newly qualified teachers in Ireland are:

  1. Emigrate to find a job. Usually in England. (Spoiler alert for future graduates with teaching qualifications: most of my classmates who found teaching work found it in England!)
  2. Apply for every teaching job in the country and hope that you’ll even be called for an interview. Every year, more and more students graduate with the intent to teach. Unfortunately, we don’t have an equal number of positions opening.
  3. Apply for substitute work. The problem: availability. If you aren’t fully flexible with your life, it doesn’t suit. And if you’re not in a position to make your time fully flexible just in case you receive a last-minute phone call for a day’s work somewhere in the city, you really can’t put yourself on the sub list.

That’s the problem I faced leaving college. I’m not fully flexible with my time. I’m not in a position to emigrate. And there aren’t that many teaching jobs. Plus, I had one more thing in mind – I knew I was going to do a Masters, and I didn’t fancy the thought of either (a) trying to balance a full-time job with a full-time Masters, or (b) giving up a full-time teaching position to do a Masters.


Just look at those awesome home-made graphics…

But to answer the question… teaching is still on the table, but I’m not seeing it as my best option. It’s not even necessarily the career that most excites me, now. Keep in mind, I was seventeen when I filled out the CAO form. It’s been six years. My priorities have changed. The whole world of publishing has changed – harking back to my first passion, writing. Heck, I’ll go for the whole spiel – I’ve changed.

There, I said it. Cliché 100% complete. Achievement Unlocked.

Token nonsense aside, the second question arises:

So, what do you want to do when you finish the Masters?

And isn’t that the million euro question? See, I don’t know fully. When I started, it was obvious. I wanted to work in publishing. And I wanted to use what I learned from the Masters to help promote my own books.

It’s just not that simple any more. I’m not sure what my career will look like when I graduate. Again. And it’s not that I don’t have an interest – it’s that I’ve found everything interesting so far, and I’m still figuring out where things might go. I still have to do a lot of work in college. I don’t know what I might love the most, having not actually attempted everything.

So, for now I’m focusing on one thing, a conceptual activity, rather than a specific industry area: storytelling.

It’s been my friend all this time, and I figure I should stick with it while I work out how best to actually tell the stories I’ve got inside. Photography may end up as a hobby, rather than a career. Sound design may be part of what I do in an attempt to work independently on projects, when I could be working as a web designer, or a videographer.

So, I’ll write. I’ll write, and I’ll plan, and I’ll talk to a camera, because at least YouTube is a platform I understand that seems to appreciate my little bubble of social awkwardness that I bring to the Internet.


About Paul Carroll

Paul Carroll is a writer, born, raised and still living in Dublin. By day he's a student and bookseller, by night he writes fiction and uses social media.
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