A couple months ago, I was telling people that part of the reason I was having trouble finding a job was that I didn't really know what I was looking for. I didn't know quite what I wanted, I just had a general idea. But recently I've come to the realization that it's not true anymore, and probably never was. Over the past couple months, I've formed a solid and tangible idea of the job I want. I can describe it in concrete words.
I want to do qualitative, social research related to tuberculosis, preferably in India.
Hm, surprising how that's exactly how I described my ideal summer project more than a year ago. So if I've wanted to do that for over a year, why did I tell countless people that I didn't know what I wanted? Probably for the same reason that I waited until the end of my third year to declare "microbiology" as my undergraduate major, despite having picked it out of a list of majors during orientation, months before I attended my first undergraduate class. There was never any other major that I considered declaring, yet I hesitated to commit myself to microbiology. Why? Because of a ridiculous, inexplicable lack of confidence in myself or in my choices.
A friend asked me the other day why I wasn't looking for a PhD. This question usually makes me shudder and cringe with the thought of a hundred reasons not to do a PhD, but not this time. This time, I stopped and asked myself, "Yeah, why haven't I considered that?" Suddenly, I couldn't come up with a good reason. I should look into a PhD. Yeah, there may be funding issues, but I won't know until I look into it. I should finish my application to the Peace Corps, too. I should continue emailing researchers doing the work I want to do. When they don't respond, I should call them and nag them. I need to be the squeaky wheel and get myself some gosh-darned grease!