By

Dena Tackett is the editor of The Progress. She is a senior journalism major from Virgie and plans to graduate in December.I am writing this with the assumption that most of you are familiar with advice columns such as “Dear Abby” or “Ann Landers.” Usually, a newspaper’s readers will write in with questions for the advice person and he or she will try to guide the reader toward the right decision. Well, let’s do something different. This time, I, the newspaper editor, am writing to ask your, the reader’s, advice.

You see, this is my last semester here at Eastern. I will walk across that stage in December, and for the first time in my life I am not really sure where I will be the day after. Don’t get me wrong, because I know what I want to do. I’ve always known what I wanted to do. It’s just that this time I’m not sure in what order I want to do what I want to do.

OK, if you’re not confused enough already I’ll clue you in a little more. I’ve known all my life that I wanted to be a journalist. That’s the easy part. I’ve also known for quite some time that I would like to cover politics. So that is not the part that is bugging me so much.

The question lurking over me like some of the monsters in the scary movies I grew up watching is whether to continue my education now or later. That’s it. That’s where you come in. I am writing to ask your advice.

I guess I never really thought about graduate school until I got to Eastern. Some of my teachers have made a huge impact on my life. I came in full of questions, and right now I am practically the answer person in The Progress office. I credit that to both my teachers and my experiences on this staff for the past four years.

I had also never thought of teaching. To be honest that was probably the furthest thing from my mind. But when I saw how some of the teachers in this department work with students to shape their futures, I kind of just hit me that, “Hey, I can do that.”

I’m not talking about any time soon, though. I think experience is just as if not more important than what can be learned from any textbook, no matter how thick or how difficult the vocabulary. I’m just saying that maybe 10, 15 or 20 years from now I would like to have the option open to be at the front of the classroom. I think I too could shape someone’s future.

So here’s where we stand. I am getting ready to graduate. I am excited about getting out into the working press. But, I also know that I could get a master’s degree. School has never been hard for me. In fact, I’ve enjoyed it all the way. I’m just afraid that if I don’t give myself the option right now, that a decade from now I won’t want to sit in a classroom at night while my family is at home popping TV dinners into the oven. I am afraid my priorities will change.

But then again, I can’t wait to get out there and write the kind of stories that may someday win a Pulitzer (OK, so I’ve always had high ambitions, but that’s great). I want to put to work all the knowledge I’ve gained with the help of the teachers in this department.

So, I need your help. I’m sure there’s someone out there who has an opinion one way or the other. I’m also sure there are those of you out there who think I’m an idiot for leaving my future in the hands of strangers. To those, I just say that is not really what I am doing. I am just seeking advice.

What I am asking from the other half of you who may care is that you write me, call me or send me an e-mail with your opinions. Of course, I am not going to base my future solely on what someone tells me, but I do think it will help in my decision to have as many pros and cons as possible.

In the meantime, I’ll be filling out graduate school applications and looking for a job. The way I look at it, I still have a whopping four months to decide (gulp). So please, if you do have some incite, please get back to me soon. I’ll be waiting.