I just graduated (December '10) from the University of Oregon with a 3.69 GPA, majoring in political science, minor econ. I was considering going to grad school this year or next for an MUP, focusing on bicycle transportation and/or urban design. After reading about how horrible the market for urban planners is currently and be informed by our states DOT that they will not hire anyone with a bad driving record I am seriously questioning entering this field. I believe I would like it a lot and would really like to make a difference improving our country. The poor salary prospects I can handle, but not being able to get a job or advance, given my past history, is very troubling.
Two years ago I was charged with DUII, reckless driving, and evading police. I honestly can't remember any of it. I am not the type to run from the police but that is what I did. I have been sober everyday since. The evasion charge was a felony. I was convicted on all charges but all were misdemeanors. I made a deal based on good behavior for one year and was thus given misdemeanor treatment. However the cheap background checks report felony, even though I can prove otherwise with court docs.
Given such history and that driving convictions in Oregon cannot be expunged only pardoned by the governor, should I even begin the time and costs of grad school? I would love to enter the planning field, but is that even possible? Could I get a job? And if I want to work on bicycle planning could I find work outside of DOTs? Will I have to just focus on non-profits and the private sector? Will they even hire me? I intend to stay sober and never let anything like this happen again. Can public or private sector employers look past this?
Thanks for any and all advice. Just give it to me straight.