With the last couple of weeks being part of the Proto board flying by, it is time to figure out what to do with the years of my life. As a CreaTe graduate there should be endless possibilities, right?
A question that proved to be harder than it should be when considering what to do with my life. It is terrifying to consider that you are standing at a crossroad in which one insignificant decision could end up determining my entire future.
The University of Twente is claiming that a CreaTe graduate is most likely do a followup study . So maybe it should be obvious to accept my fate and become a prisoner of Human Media Interaction. Luckily enough, following a Master’s degree is not the only option life has to offer. It is also possible to become the student feared ‘burger’, an entrepreneur or gain experience by enslaving myself to a company in the name of an internship. All of these are valid options to consider, but each with their own pitfalls.
Let’s start looking into getting a job first. While not many consider to be done with studying after CreaTe, there are students that go on that one hard expedition in search for one trustful fool to hire them. Why is it so hard to get a job as a CreaTer? It is actually quite simple. While CreaTe gives a basis to build upon, most companies will need to invest a considerable amount of time to fit a CreaTer in their company. It does not help that CreaTe is a relatively new study, so companies don’t know what to expect, so it is not that strange companies and CreaTers alike are searching for a way to co-exist with each other.
Even students of the study aren’t sure about what other skills their fellow peers consists of. That is not so strange when you consider the great range in level and ambition the students have. CreaTe handles a system in which the good can excel, while the weak are saved by the many lifelines that are cast by the study superiors. The curriculum contains forced ways to make sure people will invest in themselves by forcing EC into professional development but the requirements for this are so low, that they could be considered as free points. This all concludes in a feeling that the degree I get with this is not worth as much as it could, or maybe should be.
Nevertheless, the gamble to hire a CreaTer is high. It is not impossible for CreaTe Alumni to end up at bigger companies like Saab and ABN AMRO, but not all of them did it without the help of a second degree. One way to higher your changes is to have a good portfolio next to a nicely formulated CV to show what you as a CreaTer actually can accomplish. I have to confess that I am one of those people that does not have every nice thing created during my time at the study in one place. I do have enough projects to fill a nice little bookwork for potential money-grubbing executives. So maybe I should bind my darlings in to make sure I follow my own advice when trying to follow this possible lane through life.
I can hear you think that if it is too hard to earn a paycheck with the help of a corporation, why not start your own?
The study does try to stimulate this behaviour and has some moderate success stories with Athom, PRINTR and AERVIDEO, so why not? Two of the three companies are currently a thing, by having more than a stellar Kickstarter. The Kickstarter literally kickstarted the CreaTe originated companies Athom and AERVIDEO. Those companies did need to offer products and they found out that it was not as easy as these companies initially thought. Athom needed eight months after their initial projection to launch their Homey product into the store, whereas AER also encountered a similar problem by having to postpone shipping to their backers multiple times. PRINTR on the other hand did not reach their Kickstarter goal at all. They failed to find enough backers for their product, but even so continued development.
A large amount of time later PRINTR, Athom and in a certain sense AERVIDEO finally seems to have found a way to be feasible. After considering different options to launch their Kickstarter product Element, PRINTR decided to ditch their initial idea completely and walk a different path. PRINTR changed their vision from a physical product to software instead and gained the trust of a lot of partners this way. Homey is doing well considering the position they are in, and AER should start rolling out to their backers in the next couple of weeks.
How these companies will perform in the future is still uncertain. Just like your life, if you want to walk the path of an entrepreneur after CreaTe. Personally, I am going to walk this thin line of failure and success in the coming year, but it will not be feasible to spend all my time into it, without having a steady income or future prospects.
Of course, there is always the option to go for that awesome Master of Science degree. The will and motivation it takes, not to mention the extra years you spend on a university is something that I have to take into consideration. With new regulations surrounding the financing, which made the Studiefinanciering nothing more than a loan, a new study can be a tough sell. Even more so, if you consider the fact that only Human Media Interaction and Philosophy of Science are eligible without any additional requirements in Enschede. Heck, even the currently called Creative Technology Master, which should launch in the coming years under a different name, is not possible to follow without following a premaster in Computer Science or Electrical Engineering.
If we dare to look over the border, we see that it is also possible to do CreaTe 2.0 in Eindhoven or Delft. Also a lot of other studies can be done with after CreaTe but most of them need prove that you gained additional knowledge next to the study. While my situation offers for a larger variety of Master programs, inside and out of the University of Twente, I currently am still searching for a study which I hope can hold my concentration and motivation for more than a half year.
So the obvious conclusion to my ramblings is that I still do not know what I want to do with my life, so maybe I should just take another half a year off. Not a period where I won’t do anything or take a trip around the world, but half a year where I am going to work with the sole purpose to gain experience and maybe earn some money in the process. Something that sounds a lot like an internship: a way to work at a company without having a long term relationship.
Next to gaining working experience, I get a nice name to put on my CV and perhaps learn what a company expects of a Creative Technology student. Through the study, it is possible to get hooked up with some nice companies which makes it not too farfetched for me to end up in California at a Research and Development department. That being said, I am not blissful to the negative sides of doing an internship. The high work pressure, building a new social life when going too far from my current living place and the label of intern, which is hard to deal with in a company, can make for an unpleasant half a year. Even more so, if the company is not what was expected beforehand.
Throwing the horror stories of interns that are getting worked to the bone, and sometimes even more into the wind, I still get the feeling I am ending up running away with from my future by postponing the life changing question; What do I want to do with my life? One thing is certain, I am going pull a startup out of the ground. That alone is however not enough to bring proper money into my wallet to sustain my lifestyle, nor does it give enough occupation to keep me busy for a year.
Getting into a company with my qualifications will also be a tough nut to crack, so I still do not know how my life will be in the coming years. In the worst case, I could always end up as a prisoner of the system, so maybe I should just give in to the University of Twente and strengthen their claim by starting Human Media Interaction next year. The safest choice of them all.