When I haven't been at work, volunteering, in class, or snowed in under homework (so, the approximately ten minutes of free time I have before I fall asleep and when I wake up each day), I've been doing a lot of thinking about what my next move is going to be.
I graduate in May 2013. I will be twenty-eight years old (ye gods). I'm not sure whether or not I am going to stay in Asheville long-term.
I will have to stay in the state of North Carolina for a year or two in order to obtain professional licensure. Once you get an MSW, you have to complete a certain number of supervised hours before you can take the licensure exam, which you must pass in order to be fully accredited. It's generally considered a bad idea to get a degree in one state and then try to get initial licensure in another. While most states recognize reciprocity if you're already licensed, educational requirements that vary from state to state can make getting initial licensure in a state other than the one in which you got your degree very tricky, if not impossible outright. One of my friends has been in licensing limbo since he finished his master's in 2004 because of that. Not being licensed can really screw you over; without it, you're not eligible for student loan forgiveness and you get paid way less.
After that's dealt with, I can move somewhere else, if I wish. I know that's a long way off, but it's something I need to start considering now since it's going to affect a lot of the decisions I make post-graduation. For example, it's not worth the money for me to buy a house here if I wind up moving away after two years. I also have to consider how much of myself to invest in this city, and how long I'm going to avoid potential romantic entanglements (assuming I ever date again. Becoming a nun is looking pretty good right now). I don't want to get attached to the idea of being here forever if it's not going to work out.
One day, when I have some free time, I'll make a list of the pros and cons of staying where I am-- and moving to a bigger city. I'm 90% sure I'm not willing to move back to Tennessee, but there are plenty of other places I think I'd like to live.