Dance Or Career:
Which To Choose?
I've been accepted to two graduate schools in my field, and I need to choose which one to attend. I'm hoping you can help me with my decision!
One is a very prestigious
university in my field. If I attend it, I'll be able to get a great
job directly out of college, and it will equip me with state-of-the-art
knowledge of my field. Chances are it will put me on the
The other school is less prestigious and less leading-edge, but still respected. It will still equip me for jobs in my field, but it won't carry the prestige of the first one. The reason I'm attracted to it is that it's in a city with a vibrant Middle Eastern dance scene. There are many local teachers, and regular dance events. I'm sure I'd be able to attract students and continue teaching dance, plus there'd be a large community of fellow dancers. Also, this school has a program in Middle Eastern Studies. I could really grow as a dancer if I went there.
So which do I choose?
You need to pick the school that will better help you reach your long-term goals. If you're committed to pursuing a career in this field you've chosen, then pick the school that will give you the best possible education for long-term success in that field.
I know your love for the dance makes it tempting to pick the second school. But since you're already teaching dance, there's nothing to stop you from setting up shop to teach it in your new home, too. It could be very satisfying to be the teacher who builds an Oriental dance community in a place that previously didn't have much.
Subscribe to 3 or 4 dance magazines. Build a dance-oriented web site. Continue your dance education through weekend workshops or festivals in neighboring cities, and travel to attend week-long seminar opportunities. Work with people who teach ballet, flamenco, modern dance, and other forms to produce dance events featuring a range of different styles. See if you can squeeze an elective or two on arts management, grant writing, and other useful topics into your course schedule. Although the Middle Eastern course of studies in the other school sounds very interesting, you can acquire a lot of good cultural knowledge on your own through reading great books like "Dreams Of Trespass" or "A Trade Like Any Other".
Remember, after you graduate you'll be free to move anywhere you like, and with the degree from the prestigious place, you'll be able to choose from several well-paying jobs that will fund your dance activities. Maybe one of those job opportunities will be in a community with an exciting dance scene!