Writing Contest: Runner-Up

Open Options

Elizabeth DeLyser, Baldwin High School, Pittsburgh, PA (Teacher: Ms. Natalie Grattan)

After graduation, a multitude of options await me, all with different costs and benefits. When the world is so open to me, I must use marginal analysis to decide what I want to do.

Ideally, I want to be an author. I’ve always loved writing, and sitting around and creating stories all day would be my dream job. However, there are way more people out there who want to be authors than the market calls for, so I know that it’d be very, very hard to make it as an author right off the bat.

I plan on going to college. I’m not quite sure how much that will cost, actually, but I’ll have to take out student loans and do without things like new books every month and disposable contacts for a while. Marginal analysis reveals that these little “extras” simply won’t be worth the opportunity cost, so I’ll have to live on a tight budget for a while, but at least the low-interest student loans will help me establish a solid credit history.

After college, I plan on teaching English abroad, preferably in Japan. I can speak Japanese and I’d have an education certificate at that point, so I’d be worth more to them than someone off the streets of America. Also, most English teaching positions in Japan come with a cheap apartment, so I wouldn’t have to worry much about rent; it’d be within budget.

If I can afford it at the time, I’d like to get my master’s degree while I’m still in college. A master’s in English or education would allow me to teach in the United States for a higher salary at a public school, and I wouldn’t have to move to Japan. It’d always be a possibility if I could get a job, however, and a stable alternative if needed. A master’s would also open up the possibility of me working in publishing as an editorial assistant. Reading and editing manuscript is close to an ideal job for me, but jobs in publishing are hard to get.

If I fail at all of that, however, there are other possibilities open to me. I could become a professional hypnotist for entertainment; I learned how to hypnotize people from my great uncle, so there would be no further cost for learning how. With the nation’s ever-diminishing attention span, there is a constant need for new forms of entertainment. Because I would be in high demand, I would be able to charge high prices and take advantage of working in a monopolistically-competitive market. Also, if anyone ever annoyed me, I could always threaten them with my hypnotic powers to get what I want.

I could also go overseas and marry an OPEC overlord. I learned Arabic last summer at the local community college, so I’d at least be able to find my way around. My OPEC overlord husband would be a member of an oligopoly and would therefore have the potential to get very, very rich, if he were not so already. I would be able to use my economic expertise and feminine wiles to make sure all the members of the oligopoly were not tempted to cheat on their cartel by utilizing game theory and such. The warm weather in the Middle East would be a positive externality as well; so would never having to work a normal job.

Many options exist for me, with many possible paths for my life to take. I’m glad that I won’t graduate for a few more months yet and have the time necessary to make that choice.