12 Easy Steps to Becoming an U.S. Teaching Assistant

  1. Graduate college with a sizable amount of debt.Preferably, you’ll have graduated with a degree that the Econ majors snicker at because, like, “What are you going to do with a degree in 18th Century English Literature?” Don’t worry, at least your grandfather believes in you – if you listen to his advice from the time he was a college student, you can work full-time at a pool in the summer, easily pay off your debt after a few months, and buy ice cream from Thrifty’s for fifteen cents!


  1. Move back home. There’s nothing more exciting for your parents than their child moving back with them after four years of college – bonus points if it took longer! They missed you so much after all those years you were busy guzzling beer bongs and hooking up with half the guys in Beta that they want you to sleep on a futon in the living room so that they can see your beautiful face every morning. In fact, they’re so energized by your return that your father shouts at your mother every night in their bedroom about how he’s never going to retire! Pat yourself on the back because you’re their Energizer Bunny!


  1. Go out drinking with your friends. Isn’t it just great that all your friends also moved back home after they graduated? Rejoice because you no longer need a fake ID from Illinois to get into your town’s bars. To celebrate, buy everybody shots of tequila – put it on the credit card; it’s basically free money!


  1. Run out of money. It’s just like college!


  1. Ask your parents for more money. It’s just like college, except they say no! You decide that you might have to look for a job – yuck. At least that Central African History degree will make you a perfect candidate for every job you apply for! After sending twenty applications in a week, you await responses from the companies. It takes several months for the first of them to send you a one-sentence e-mail rejecting you, but you know that all the other companies are taking their time because of how giddy they are. They’re completely blown away by the unbelievable applicant that fell into their lap! I mean, think about how qualified you are from all the things you learned in college—


  1. Remember that you took German for a couple of years in college. Come to think of it, you did that, didn’t you? Sure, you still pronounce oderlike “odor,” but you can still list it under “Skills” as having a B2 level of understanding on your résumé! Besides, German’s a really difficult language; isn’t it a Romance language? Those are hard! That has to impress these companies even more when you send your next batch of job applications.


  1. Google how to live and work in Europe. You’re still waiting for those acceptances and job offers to come flying into your mailbox. Maybe it’s kind of like what happened with the Hogwarts letters in the first Harry Potter book. Either way, you change your mind and decide that you want to live in Europe now because that’s where all the fun is – remember how great your year abroad was? Living in Europe is going to be just like that!


  1. Find this great program about becoming a teaching assistant in Austria.This is exactly what you were looking for! You tell your mother about it, and she posts a Facebook status about Austria and kangaroos. On an unrelated note, your younger sister, who is a high school senior and working part-time at a tutoring center, is making more money than you.


  1. Start filling out the application. For the essay portion, write about how passionate you are about education, especially after those couple of times you tutored your neighbor’s son Billy for a month in 2ndgrade math. It won’t hurt to also talk about your culturally rich background and that one summer you spent in the Netherlands just totally immersed in Dutch culture. The more you think about it, the more you realize that you’re just such an international person and that you’re a great fit for this program!


  1. Send a message to your German professor.Despite all the times you showed up to her class hungover and how you rated her class a three out of five because she wasn’t “that chill,” you know that she would love to write you a letter of recommendation for your application. Besides, that’s the least she can do after you paid $45,000 a year for tuition at your liberal arts college.
  2. Brush up on your German. Now that you’ve submitted everything and you’re waiting on the results, take some time to review German. You try really hard to remember accusatives, datives, articles, and vocabulary, but German’s a difficult language – after all it’s only spoken in, what, two countries? Go ahead and buy some workbooks off of Amazon using your Student Prime account to get them in two days. Sure, you’ll give up after the first couple of exercises, but at least the books look impressive when family friends visit and ask what you’ve been up to!


  1. Get accepted!Through mostly the merits of your application and a very minor detail about how your German department is on a first-name basis with the head of the Austrian Fulbright Commission, you’ve been chosen to become a U.S. teaching assistant at a mountain village in western Austria! Better book your flight and change your Facebook cover photo to an aerial view of Vienna to show off to your friends your next stop in life – congratulations!

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